July 16th, 2024

NCC fills gap in conservation near Waterton Park


By Ry Clarke - for the Lethbridge Herald on April 1, 2022.

Photo courtesy Nature Conservancy of Canada The Nature Conservancy of Canada will partner with the Shoderee Ranch helping fill a gap in protected land near Waterton Lakes National Park.

Nature Conservancy of Canada is partnering with a local ranching family to help fill a 700-hectare gap in protected land near Waterton Lakes National Park.
NCC will partner with the Shoderee Ranch creating a new agreement that will protect riverbanks, wetlands, parkland forests, and native grasslands. These areas are home to animals listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, such as western grebe and red-sided garter snakes. The conserved land will help species at risk, with unencumbered roaming while preserving the ecosystem they thrive in, also aiding the migration of hoofed animals such as elk, moose, and deer.
The partnership will keep the land in the native grasslands undeveloped, ensuring it will remain a working ranch with benefits to the wildlife biodiversity.
“We are very fortunate to work with NCC in conserving this beautiful and rich natural landscape, while ensuring my family can continue sustainably ranching for generations to come,” said Kathy Flundra, owner of the Shoderee Ranch, in a release to the media.
The partnership helps the NCC create stewardship with ranchers that accelerate the conservation process in Canada.
When facing rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, conservation projects like this help nature thrive. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said climate change and biodiversity loss go together hand-in-hand.
“By working with partners such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we are helping to protect the natural environment in Alberta and across the country. Programs like the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program are helping us progress toward conserving a quarter of lands and oceans in Canada by 2025.”
The NCC has conserved nearly 75 per cent of Waterton Lakes National Park stretching 45 kilometres northeast with other land trust organizations conserving an additional 1,000 hectares. The eastern slopes of the Rockies are essential for prairie cities, supporting over two-thirds of Canada’s irrigation.
Protecting the biodiversity in the region is important to neighbouring communities. The wetlands in the riparian zones, located on the Shoderee Ranch, help absorb water in the landscape to help water flow downstream, while giving moisture back during drought season. The terrain of the area helps maintain a delicate balance with the ecosystem that filters downstream to Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
Tom Lynch-Staunton, regional vice-president for NCC said in a release that “NCC, ranchers, Parks Canada, the local community, NGOs and other groups have worked together to conserve this precious landscape, while providing for sustainable ranching and the well-being of all of us. This is truly a remarkable conservation partnership.”
Since 1962 the NCC has worked with Canadians to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares of land. To learn more about the NCC you can visit their website at natureconservancy.ca

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