From gravel pits, to wetlands

Mined-out gravel pits could become wetlands and wildlife habitats under an idea being pitched by Lacombe County.

Mined-out gravel pits could become wetlands and wildlife habitats under an idea being pitched by Lacombe County.

When county-owned gravel pits are depleted, they must be reclaimed to the satisfaction of Alberta Environment. But what is left is often difficult to turn back into farmland.

“What we end up with is a big water pond,” county manager of operations Phil Lodermeier told county council on Thursday.

Creating wetlands out of gravel pits also provides a way to spend the compensation the county is required to pay Ducks Unlimited in lieu of wetland habitat lost to projects such as road construction. For instance, in 2011 the county paid Ducks Unlimited $31,000 in compensation for wetlands lost on one construction project and $9,300 is due this year on another road project.

Lodermeier said one of the disadvantages with that system is that Ducks Unlimited is not required to spend the money in the county. It is only restricted to Alberta, and the organization picks where and when the money goes toward a wetland project.

Lodermeier said there are two gravel pits, owned by the county and Alberta Transportation, nearing the end of their lives just north of the county offices, which are on Hwy 12, about three km west of Hwy 2.

“Overall, it seems a great place to start to replace some of the damage we’ve done in road construction and other projects,” said Lodermeier.

Another pair of pits that could be converted to wetlands are located south of Blackfalds near Hwy 2A and Secondary Hwy 597.

In both locations, there are privately owned pits that could be used to boost the size of the wetlands even further.

Coun. Dana Kreil expressed enthusiasm for the idea, and wondered if picnic sites could also be created.

“I think it’s a great use and it helps us to become environmental stewards,” she said.

County Reeve Ken Wigmore also expressed his support. “I think it’s a great plan.”

Council unanimously supported staff continuing discussions with Alberta Environment and Water and Alberta Transportation to identify potential wetlands sites and work out reclamation details.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Grassroots movement to clean up Red Deer is gaining momentum

Homeless people need more attention than shopping carts, says former councillor Cindy Jefferies

Lacombe cracks down on messy properties

Crackdown to target longstanding offenders

Red Deer citizens restrain suspect motorist who caused several collisions and fled

Police thank the public, but caution about getting into ‘harm’s way’

Ponoka armed robbery suspects arrested

Suspects wanted in connection with Ponoka liquor store robbery in August

Red Deer RCMP crack-down on car thefts

Red Deer RCMP arrested five people on 73 charges during a four-day… Continue reading

Updated: Grey Cup in Red Deer to raise funds for military families

Money raised will go to the Military Family Resource Centre and be used locally

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

SURREY, B.C. — Three First Nations in British Columbia gathered today to… Continue reading

Liberal leader doubles down on notion that $75 weekly grocery bill is possible

MONTREAL — One day after being ridiculed for saying it was possible… Continue reading

Jury resumes deliberating man’s guilt in Calgary mother of four’s death

CALGARY — Jurors are continuing to deliberate the guilt of a man… Continue reading

Ontario finance minister projects $15B deficit for province

TORONTO — Ontario’s finance minister said the province will have to make… Continue reading

Trump drops civil tone, slams Kavanaugh accuser credibility

WASHINGTON — Abandoning his previous restraint, President Donald Trump challenged the credibility… Continue reading

New evacuations ordered because of Florence flooding

WILMINGTON, N.C. — A new round of evacuations was ordered in South… Continue reading

Ancient treasures on show in Germany reveal turbulent past

BERLIN — An arrowhead firmly lodged in the skull of an ancient… Continue reading

Eerily empty condo-style retail mall in Calgary postpones grand opening

CALGARY — The developer of a nearly empty new mall just north… Continue reading

Most Read