The Holden Conservation Site is nestled in an area known as the prairie pothole region due to the numerous wetlands that dot the landscape, resembling the potholes you might find while travelling the 12 km of road northwest of the village of Holden to get there.
With the help of Alberta Fish & Game Association (AFGA), Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) purchased this site in Beaver County from Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). DUC had purchased this site as part of their Revolving Land Conservation Program in which DUC purchases the land, restores the wetlands, and then sells the land with a conservation easement on title that restricts drainage, excavation through, or infill of the wetlands. Though most of these lands are sold back to private individuals, ACA and AFGA proudly secured the Holden property for its conservation and recreational potentials. Numerous wetlands and small bluffs of trees provide a great experience in nature just an hour outside of Edmonton.
Wetlands are an important feature on the prairie landscape. Along with providing essential habitat for a variety of species, they help maintain soil moisture, mitigate flooding and drought events, filter nutrients and other pollutants, and are a great source of carbon storage. It is estimated that we have lost over 60 percent of Alberta’s wetlands, particularly within the most settled areas of the province.
The next time you are in the area, explore what this site has to offer. It may be a bumpy ride getting there, but it will definitely be worth the trip.