Riparian habitat hard to come by

It’s not that easy to spend $157,800 conserving wetlands in the Red Deer River watershed, says an Alberta Conservation Association spokesman. The difficulty in spending the money — a share of the fine money following an oil spill on the Red Deer River — is twofold, said Ken Kranrod, vice-president of the Alberta Conservation Association. Riparian habitat in Alberta is relatively scarce and because of the province’s economy, land is expensive.

It’s not that easy to spend $157,800 conserving wetlands in the Red Deer River watershed, says an Alberta Conservation Association spokesman.

The difficulty in spending the money — a share of the fine money following an oil spill on the Red Deer River — is twofold, said Ken Kranrod, vice-president of the Alberta Conservation Association.

Riparian habitat in Alberta is relatively scarce and because of the province’s economy, land is expensive.

But Kranrod is confident the money from the fine will be spent protecting that habitat, and the conservation association’s mandate is to do that within the next three years.

It must be spent on habitat protection in the Red Deer River watershed.

“We don’t have anything on the radar screen right now,” he said, but they are constantly looking at lands, as well as receiving offers from people interested in selling land into protection. More than 700 conservation sites in Alberta fall under the association’s umbrella.

Plains Midstream Canada was fined a total of $1.3 million four months ago after pleading guilty to two major oil spills — one into the Red Deer River and wetlands, and the other into marshlands near Little Buffalo in Northern Alberta.

The Red Deer River spill, which occurred near Sundre in June 2012, amounted to about 450,000 litres of crude oil, and occurred when a 48-year-old pipeline under the river failed. Gleniffer Lake, a reservoir downstream, was closed for three weeks.

Alberta is a relatively dry province, said Kranrod, especially in Southern and Central Alberta.

“Compare us to B.C. or Ontario or Manitoba … the amount of water resources we have in Alberta is not a lot,” Kranrod said.

“We’re always looking at preserving or restoring or enhancing riparian habitat whenever we can, but riparian habitat is hard to come by.”

“We are actively looking for projects.”

Riparian habitat — areas that include places such as wetlands, marshes, ponds, and land alongside rivers — is quite important to wildlife.

Some species only exists in marshes, for example, and larger species such as moose, that live in uplands habit (forest) need the water and vegetation in riparian areas, Kranrod points out.

“A lot of riparian habitat has been converted over the years, whether it’s been by agriculture or forestry or oil and gas, or just simply the growth of cities. Human progress has diminished the amount of naturally occurring riparian habitat there is (in Alberta),” said Kranrod.

“We look at and buy a lot of land every year … we function as a land trust.”

“Will we find a nice huge piece of beautiful riparian habitat that we can purchase for $157,800? No. That would be very hard to do. But what we will most likely do is we will find something that comes up that will be really nice but it will be more money. So these dollars here will help us leverage other monies,” whether it’s other ACA money, a partner’s money or a grant.

The non-profit conservation association wants to secure fish and or wildlife habitat but their lands are also for humans to maintain a connection with nature, Kranrod said.

For more information about the Alberta Conservation Association, go to www.ab-conservation.com.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People board and leave at the Century Park light-rail transit station in Edmonton on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Racism is a real problem:’ Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

‘Racism is a real problem:’ Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

Alberta Health Services declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Revera Aspen Ridge on Feb. 1. (Photo by Advocate staff)
Two COVID deaths linked to Revera seniors residence in Red Deer

35 active COVID cases at seniors residence

Red Deer musician Lorry Boschman has written a song about love in the time of COVID-19. Proceeds from his single, Romance during a Pandemic, will be donated to the local United Way. (Contributed photo).
Local musician records a song about love in the time of COVID-19 — for charity

Lorry Boschman will donate some proceeds to the United Way

Preliminary data shows Alberta’s suicide rate declined in 2020 — but some mental health critics say it’s too early to draw any conclusions since more dire pandemic impacts are only now being felt. (metrocreative stock)
Alberta’s suicide rate seems to have declined in 2020

But some experts say it’s too early to credit the pandemic

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre can accommodate up to 20 patients requiring a ventilator, says Alberta Health Services.  File photo by Advocate staff
Opinion: UCP government reneging on Red Deer hospital funding

Another year, another Alberta budget and another blow to central Albertans. Budget… Continue reading

Seattle Storm guards Sue Bird, right, and Jordin Canada pose for photos Wednesday, March 3, 2021, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle after they raised a flag with the team's new logo on it. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Lille players celebrate after Jonathan David scored his side's second goal during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Marseille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky, right, passes the ball in front of Argentina forward Sole Jaimes (9) during the second half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Alphonso Davies and Shelina Zadorsky have been named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack
Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Manchester United's Fred, left, and Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park stadium in London, England, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP)
Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) dunks as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The undermanned Toronto Raptors, down five players and six members of their coaching staff due to health and safety protocols, are scheduled to host the Detroit Pistons in their first action since last Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Carlos Osorio
Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Canada's Ghislaine Landry, left, runs past France players during the Women's Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco, Friday, July 20, 2018. The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, grounded last year by the pandemic, will return for the women in May. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Chiu
World Rugby unveils condensed 2021 sevens schedule with Vancouver a question-mark

World Rugby unveils condensed 2021 sevens schedule with Vancouver a question-mark

Most Read