Ducks Unlimited selling off land

Ducks Unlimited is shedding Alberta and Saskatchewan properties that it has found do not fit well within its programs.

Ducks Unlimited is shedding Alberta and Saskatchewan properties that it has found do not fit well within its programs.

The waterfowl conservation group has set up an online auction to sell off 16 parcels totalling 2,376 acres of land, mainly in Saskatchewan, that it believes cannot be efficiently managed as waterfowl habitat.

Included in the package are two parcels in the Central Alberta region: the 78-acre Smith parcel northwest of Stettler and the 161-acre Lauterborn quarter, located southeast of Rocky Mountain House, said Dale Stoetaert, head of asset management for Ducks Unlimited in Alberta.

Stettler is one of a handful of parcels to which the group has attached conservation easements on the title to preserve its value as wildlife habitat, even though it may not be suitable as a Ducks Unlimited project, Stoetaert said.

Two easements have been attached to the Stettler property, which is largely in grass with an area of wetlands. The easements mean that whoever buys the land will not be able to break the soil or drain the sloughs.

However, there is nothing precluding the purchaser from building a home and a shed, he said.

He expects the parcel, which Ducks Unlimited purchased in 1990, will sell below market value because of the conservation easements.

The Rocky parcel has no easements attached because it is not considered suitable for waterfowl.

It was donated in 2006 by a person who needed the tax receipt, said Stoetaert. The donor was told at the time that the land, predominately swamp with a heavy cover of black spruce and willows, has no good waterfowl habitat and could be sold in the future, he said.

Close to Rocky, but inaccessible by public roads, the parcel will likely be most attractive as a recreational property, said Stoetaert.

Proceeds from the auction will be used to fund Ducks Unlimited operations within Alberta and Saskatchewan, he said.

Reserve bids have been placed on all of the properties.

All properties are now available for viewing on the Ducks Unlimited web page, with online bidding to start at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

Bidding on the Rocky parcel closes at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Bidding on the Stettler piece closes at the same time on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Ducks Unlimited manages about 80,000 acres of waterfowl habitat in Alberta, said Stoetaert.

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