Land Acquisition and Leasing
With very little land available for public access to hunt upland birds in southern Alberta, PF Calgary partners with the ACA, the Alberta Fish and Game Association, the Chinook PF chapter, Ducks Unlimited Canada and private individuals to acquire parcels of land suitable for habitat enhancement work and public access.
PF Calgary has participated in the following conservation sites:
The Peigan Creek Conservation Site
The Peigan Creek Conservation Site, 25 miles southwest of Medicine Hat is comprised of 630 acres of the dry mixedgrass region of southern Alberta. There is also a significant amount of riparian habitat associated with the property. Peigan Creek and a tributary branch flow through the property. The purchase was a joint venture between the Alberta Fish and Game Wildlife Trust Fund, a number of southern Alberta chapters of the AFGA, the Chinook Chapter of PF, the Calgary Chapter of PF, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the ACA.
The East Hays Conservation Site
The East Hays Conservation Site management plan for 2012 included the continued maintenance of 11,000 shrubs on 13 acres that were planted in 2010 and the 13 acres of wetlands constructed in 2009 and 2010. Site preparation for planting an additional 6500 trees and shrubs on 10 acres (including a two-acre food plot) will commence in 2013 with the plantings completed in 2014. Anecdotal reports of pheasant sightings on the property this past fall indicate that this site is responding as hoped.
The Legacy Conservation Site
The Legacy Conservation Site was purchased late in 2010 in collaboration with the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), PF Calgary and the David and Leslie Bissett Foundation. The site is located near the Bow River east of Vauxhall and northwest of Hays. The goal of this purchase is to enhance habitat for upland game birds and to provide improved access to a large parcel of crown lease land that lies along the Bow River. The majority of the 100 acre site was previously a hay crop that was flood irrigated by the 62 acres of water rights attached to the site. The remaining 38 acres are comprised of a mixture of native and tame grasses and coulee draws that historically received the flood irrigation runoff. A five-cell wetland complex totaling approximately 12 acres was surveyed and constructed in 2011. That same year, 35 cultivated acres were re-seeded to a grass/forb mixture for upland bird nesting and brood cover; site maintenance continued in 2012.
The Silver Sage Conservation Site
The Silver Sage Conservation Site was secured through a combination of two land purchases. In 2010, 312 acres were purchased (Silver Sage 1) and an additional 1,271 acres were purchased in 2011 (Silver Sage 2) by a collaboration of ACA, Alberta Fish and Game Association (Wildlife Trust Fund and Medicine Hat Fish and Game), Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, PF Calgary, PF Chinook Chapter and a private donor. The site is located in the heart of Greater Sage Grouse range south of the village of Manyberries. The 1,583 acre site is also part of the County of Forty Mile within an hour’s drive of Medicine Hat. The parcel represents an opportunity for native prairie restoration and enhancement activities as it is dominated by cultivated croplands, but surrounded by a larger patch of contiguous native prairie. The majority of the 1,583 acre site was previously seeded to annual crops. The remaining 623 acres are made up of a mix of native and tame grasses and ephemeral wetlands. The intent of this purchase is to restore habitat for grassland birds, particularly Greater Sage Grouse and Sprague’s Pipit and to provide benefits to other grassland species such as Ferruginous Hawk, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Swift Fox, and Pronghorn. This project will also enable sustainable recreation opportunities.
The Ross Creek Conservation Site
The Ross Creek Conservation Site is a 937 acre site that was purchased in 2012 by funding from ACA, Alberta Fish and Game Association (Wildlife Trust Fund and Medicine Hat Fish and Game), Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, La Terra Ventures, PF Calgary and PF Chinook Chapter (Medicine Hat). The site is located approximately 15 km east of Medicine Hat along the Trans-Canada Highway. This parcel represents an opportunity for native prairie conservation as well as enhancement activities for upland birds, ungulates, and species at risk.
The Bull Trail Conservation Site
The Bull Trail Conservation Site is a 529 acre site that was purchased in 2013 with funding from ACA, Alberta Fish and Game Association, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, PF Calgary, PF Chinook (Medicine Hat) and the Wild Elk Federation. The site includes native grassland, wetland areas and a spring fed tributary to Ross Creek and is located 1.5 miles north of Cypress Hills Provincial Park. Wildlife on the site include sharp-tailed grouse, deer, elk, waterfowl, and potentially several species at risk. Management on the site will include activities to maintain or improve natural habitats and restore wetlands.