sheriff creek

25 years of shared stewardship of Sheriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary

In May 2022, BHP celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Sheriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary located at Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada. 

Since the closure of the Elliot Lake uranium mines, BHP has worked closely with the Penokean Hills Field Naturalists (PHFN) and the City of Elliot Lake under a ‘shared stewardship’ agreement to transform sections of the 407-hectares of heavily mined land into green space and provide recreational and educational opportunities onsite for residents and visitors. The Sheriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary was developed on the former Milliken mine tailings management area and is now one of the largest (by acreage) recreation areas in Elliot Lake. The Sanctuary features water, wetland, forest, field, meadow and escarpment areas that provide habitat for birds, frogs, insects and diverse plant species. The Sanctuary also includes a variety of accessible hiking trails.   

The water quality at the Sanctuary’s outlet consistently meets drinking water and aquatic life protection standards. The wetland supports a variety of frogs, turtles, migratory ducks and geese, and mammals that attract naturalists and photographers to the Sanctuary.  

BHP, as part of the shared stewardship, conducts ongoing stakeholder engagement with the community to ensure their expectation and vision are considered in our operations, projects and social investment in the Elliot Lake area. The community includes a broad range of stakeholders including ecologists, conservationists, academics, government representatives, developers and First Nations peoples in the vicinity. Guided by the local community, BHP jointly funded the major physical improvements, such as entrance causeway, carpark, bridges, viewing stands and signage, as well as financial support to develop three major hiking trails throughout the site. BHP also provides annual and ongoing maintenance of the site along with volunteers from the PHFN. 

BHP continues to engage with community members and groups as part of efforts that strive to deliver positive results for both BHP and the local community.  

The Sheriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is an example of how what was once a mining waste management site can become, through innovative remediation and valued community partnerships, a viable and attractive habitat accessible to locals and visitors alike.