Species Habitat Assessments and Ranching Partnerships (SHARP)

Species Habitat Assessments and Ranching Partnership (SHARP) is a voluntary, collaborative project designed to work with producers to maintain the unique grazing and ecosystem values on their property in central and northwestern Alberta. We develop habitat strategies after first completing range and riparian health assessments as well as wildlife inventories. We evaluate these results with the needs of target species and the long-term objectives of the landholder. This results in mutually agreed-on solutions that benefit both wildlife and the producer’s operations. As cost-shared enhancements are made, we develop a monitoring plan to assess their progress and effectiveness.

We continued to work on three ranches (total 16,575 acres) and enrolled three new ranches (total 1,760 acres). We identified 144 different wildlife species on these three new properties, including 30 species that are considered provincially Sensitive or higher under Alberta’s General Status evaluation process. On these three properties, we also completed 19 range health assessments, 82 range visual plot assessments, 15 riparian health assessments, and two riparian visual plot assessments.

We partnered with four producers to implement eight habitat enhancements. In collaboration with one producer, we planted additional wildflowers along an eco-buffer shelterbelt to attract a greater diversity and abundance of pollinators. We also replaced barbed wire on the top and bottom wires with double-stranded smooth wire to help facilitate ungulate movement and reduce the chance of entanglement. In partnership with a second producer, we replaced existing fences with wildlife friendly fencing and installed fence reflectors on fences adjacent to wetlands to prevent waterfowl and other birds from colliding with the fence. We partnered with a third producer to implement two watering systems, and install wildlife friendly fencing around riparian areas, designed to help with cattle distribution on the property to avoid overgrazing, improve water quality, and encourage grazing away from sensitive riparian areas. We also partnered with a fourth producer to install a livestock crossing at two locations to reduce cattle pressure on sensitive riparian areas, and planted saskatoon seedlings along the perimeter of a dugout to contribute to riparian function. Long-term relationships built on mutual respect and trust between conservation groups and landowners are the key to effective on-the-ground conservation efforts being undertaken through initiatives like the SHARP Project.


Alberta Community Bat Program, Alberta Fish & Game Association – Minister’s Special Licence Program, ALUS Canada, Canadian Cattle Association, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, Environment and Climate Change Canada – Habitat Stewardship Program, Government of Alberta, Landholders

Title Year Category
Species Habitat Assessments and Ranching Partnerships (SHARP) 2018-2019 2
Species Habitat Assessments and Ranching Partnerships (SHARP) 2019-2020 2
Species Habitat Assessments and Ranching Partnership 2020-2021 2
Species Habitat Assessments and Ranching Partnership (SHARP) 2021-2022 2
Species Habitat Assessments and Ranching Partnership (SHARP) 2022-2023 2