Land in Porcupine Hills west of Claresholm to be conserved

By Rob Vogt
Three properties in the Porcupine Hills west of Claresholm will be conserved.
On Nov. 14, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced the conservation of three properties in this region of southwestern Alberta.
Spanning more than 2,500 hectares, equivalent to double the size of Nose Hill Park in Calgary or over 4,000 Canadian Football League football fields, these projects build upon NCC’s longstanding efforts to create a network of conserved lands in the Porcupine Hills. This work, which started in the 1990s, has resulted in the conservation of more than 37,000 hectares in the region, helping to preserve its ecological and economic significance.
Each of these three properties has been conserved through a conservation agreement between NCC and a respective anonymous landowner. These agreements will ensure each property will continue to operate as a working landscape for cattle grazing while maintaining natural values for generations. In each case, the landowner donated a portion of the conservation agreement value to NCC.
Private landowners are central to how NCC conserves important habitats across Canada. The dedication to sustainable land management by these landowners has maintained large and high-quality tracts of natural land cover in the Porcupine Hills, which today are a priority for conservation.
Representing a transitional zone between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, the Porcupine Hills features a unique combination of rolling grasslands, meandering creeks, and forests supporting many different plants and animals. Grasslands in the region play a vital role in filtering water, sequestering carbon, protecting soil and providing habitat for wildlife.
Despite their ecological significance, natural lands in the region are threatened by changing land use and development. These changes risk the region’s biodiversity and contribute to landscape fragmentation. NCC’s efforts in the Porcupine Hills play a key role in mitigating these threats and maintaining the area’s ecological integrity.
These newly conserved lands also serve as important movement corridors for wildlife, including grizzly bear and elk. By conserving these corridors, NCC is helping to maintain healthy ecosystems and diverse wildlife populations.