Conservation contract reached for iconic Eastern Slopes ranch
Published Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:51PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:35PM MDT
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has inked an historic agreement that will conserve the Waldron Ranch on Alberta's Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
The Waldron Ranch is located along the historic Cowboy Trail and is a significant wildlife corridor.
Once the agreement is finalized, the NCC will be able to buy a conservation easement from the Waldron Grazing Cooperative Ltd., which represents 72 cattle ranchers in the area.
The total cost of the conservation easement is $37.5M.
"Success in conserving the Waldron means there is hope for keeping the Eastern Slopes agriculturally productive, ecologically functional and inspiring for present and future generations, " said Larry Simpson, Associate Regional Vice President, Alberta Region, Nature Conservancy of Canada. "This is a unique opportunity for Albertans and Canadians to contribute to a natural legacy that will last for future generations."
The cooperative will still own and ranch the land but the NCC will now work with them to ensure the property’s natural area is conserved for future generations.
"The Waldron Grazing Co-op is partnering with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to provide NCC an opportunity to ensure that future generations can continue the tradition of stewardship and care for the land as the Waldron has done exceptionally well for the past 51 years," said Tim Nelson, Board Chair, Waldron Grazing Co-operative Ltd.
The 30,535-acre ranch’s critical lands and waters will remain intact and will be protected against development, subdivision, cultivation or drainage.
The Waldron project will help to protect the headwaters of critical streams and rivers, including the Old Man River.
The NCC is also working to preserve the last remaining intact landscapes along the Eastern Slopes which is currently a "working" ranch landscape.
The area is also an important habitat for native Alberta grasslands, grizzly and black bear, elk, moose, cougar, deer, eagle, hawks and a variety of grassland birds.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has launched a fundraising campaign to help it raise enough money to purchase the easement lands and says it must raise an additional $3 million from public donations to protect the Waldron Ranch.
The project will be the largest conservation easement in Canadian history when it is completed.
For more information and to help conserve the Waldron and the Eastern Slopes visit the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s website.