New conservation site along Red Deer River announced
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is announcing a new conservation site located on the west bank of the Red Deer River.
Known as the Bower Wildlife Sanctuary, this 477-acre property belonged to the Bower family for nearly a century.
James Bower originally bought two quarter-sections of land from CP Rail in the 1920s, and his son Charles Bower later added an adjoining 127 acres along the river. It has been in the family for three generations.
Sisters Ruth and Dorothy Bower inherited the property from their father Charles and made the decision to donate the property to the NCC.
“Over the decades, their care and dedication has ensured that the wildlife that live in and travel freely through the region have safe passage across their land, which is why it is now named the Bower Wildlife Sanctuary,” the NCC said in a release.
The Bower Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the NCC’s Red Deer River natural area, which it describes as a unique region of central Alberta focused on the Red Deer and Battle rivers and their tributaries.
“The native habitat in this area features a transition zone between the grasslands and parklands. Across the Prairies, most of this habitat has undergone modification or cultivation with only one-third of the native habitat remaining intact.”
The Red Deer River valley provides habitat for birds, amphibians, wide-ranging mammals and eleven species of fish. One of the parcels of the Bower Wildlife Sanctuary has been designated as an Environmentally Significant Area by Alberta Parks.
Species listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act found in the region that benefit from this conservation project include American badger taxus subspecies (special concern), western tiger salamander (special concern), Sprague’s pipit (threatened) and piping plover (endangered).
This site is also located within a provincially identified sensitive raptor range for bald eagles, which are designated to minimize impacts to nest sites, foraging habitat and to prevent mortality of young and nest abandonment.