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Changing water levels are impacting those who live around the Peace-Athabasca delta. (David Thurton / CBC) The Wood Buffalo National Park could be demoted on the world stage if Canada doesn’t do more to protect the water and land from development.

The United Nations World Heritage Committee voted Wednesday to call on Canada to implement an action plan involving 17 directives created by a monitoring mission to the park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — last year.

They include improving monitoring of the Peace-Athabasca-Delta, assessing the environmental impacts of the Site C dam on the river system and creating a buffer zone between the park and the oil sands.

If the park doesn’t follow through with the recommendations and report back to the committee by the end of 2018, it could be put on a list of sites classified as UN World Heritage in Danger.

If designated as such, it would be the first heritage site in Canada to be added to the list and the second in North America, after the Everglades National Park in the United States. Water quality concerns

"There used to be lots of water — the water loss is a huge concern for us," said Melody Lepine with the Mikisew Cree in Fort Chipewyan. MIkisew Cree First Nation member Melody Lepine speaks to the UN’s World Heritage Committee Wednesday in Krakow, Poland. (Melody Lepine) "I think it would be a huge embarrassment to Canada — showing the committee and the world they can’t manage a site, they can’t take care of a site," Lepine said.

Lepine grew up in the community, which sent a petition to the UN committee in 2014 asking for help conserving the park.

"The delta always provided and took care of us, and now we hate to see that we’re losing it," […]

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