Over 6,000 Acres of Alberta Grassland Protected

On Sept 4, 2013 Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), along with Shell Canada, celebrated the launch of the Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch. This is DUC’s largest and most ecologically important acquisition to date, which builds on a strong 75-year legacy of delivering important habitat projects in areas that provide the greatest benefit to North American waterfowl.

Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch © Ducks Unlimited

Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch © Ducks Unlimited

Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch includes 4,130 acres of pristine, native grasslands, as well as an additional 1,769 acres of tame hay lands. In total, this area represents nearly 6,000 acres for breeding, migration and wintering of 159 bird species that use both native prairie and the boreal forest of Alberta.

Recognizing the positive impact of this acquisition, Shell Canada has generously agreed to contribute $3 million towards the purchase with the balance coming from DUC and the NAWCA partnership. With this generous donation, Shell is demonstrating tremendous leadership by helping to conserve this block of wetland rich, mixed-grass prairie.

“The Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch is an outstanding and rare example of intact habitat only one hour southeast of Calgary,” says DUC President, Mac Dunfield. “This makes it not only an exemplar of wetland conservation, but easily accessible for the public to enjoy. It will serve as an excellent property to demonstrate how DUC’s work to conserve critical waterfowl habitat also provides many other societal benefits including carbon storage, improved water quality, as well as mitigating impacts of floods and drought.”

“This is one of the last remaining tracts of native prairie grassland located within an area of intensive grain production. Had this land not been secured by DUC, there would be significant risk of losing the native habitat to grain and oilseed production in the future.Though there has been some minor wetland drainage on these lands, we are focused on retaining the existing native prairie and small wetland habitat, which includes approximately 800 basins.”

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