On January 1, 2010 the Special Areas Board implemented the Environmental Review Program
The Environmental Review will consist of a site specific assessment and related information searches to compile a comprehensive overview of the environmental conditions at proposed development locations. The assessment will evaluate land use, landscape, soil, vegetation, fish and wildlife, species at risk, wetlands and waterbodies, and cultural and historical resources. A project description and conservation and reclamation plan will also be required in the Environmental Review.
The Environmental Review is valuable to both the operator and the Special Areas Board. The operator can better plan their development and prepare for appropriate reclamation. The Special Areas Board will be able to further manage and protect significant resources that require protection or mitigation prior to development. In turn, the residents of Special Areas can feel confident that the landscape is being well managed now and for future generations.
The Special Areas Board has always emphasized preservation of native range while maintaining industrial and commercial development. This grassland is an important resource with intrinsic value, used for agriculture, industrial, commercial and recreational purposes. This land also provides habitat to many wildlife and plant species some of which are classified as species at risk.