Rolling peaks and valleys framed by endless blue sky make this 464-acre property an iconic representation of southern Alberta’s beauty. Lying southeast of Medicine Hat along Ross Creek, the Chinook Conservation wowed all involved with its seemingly endless potential. Even though at the onset of purchase there was a to-do list miles long, everyone couldn’t wait to begin.
First and arguably the most important step—as it guides the remainder of the property plan—was the MULTISAR (Multiple Species At Risk) team completing a full assessment. They observed 60 different wildlife species, 13 of which are considered Species at Risk at either the provincial and/or federal level. This insight determined the enhancements to best benefit the wildlife in the area.
The project team then installed signage, cleaned up the yard site (no light work—this included removing a house, barn, outbuildings, corrals and utility lines!), and wrapped trees along Ross Creek to prevent beaver damage. Fencing alone was another major task. Teams removed about 2.2 km of interior page/barbed wire fence and then installed wildlife-friendly fences along portions of the property boundary.
Next up? A five-year plan will enhance hay land along the creek. Planting shelterbelts and seeding a mixture a grasses and forbs will provide cover and food for upland game birds, helping enhance populations.
No matter the length of the to-do list, the potential of these impactful projects rests on the pledges of generous partners. "As land prices continue to rise we rely collaborative partnerships," says ACA Land Management Program Manager, Darren Dorge. Integral partnerships for Chinook included the Government of Canada through the Federal Department of Environment and Climate Change, Pheasants Forever Chapters – Chinook and Calgary, the Wild Elk Federation, and the Alberta Fish & Game Association (AFGA).
For more information on land conservation, please contact:
Land Management Program