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bow valley private land

  1. 1. Private Land Conservation Opportunities in Alberta’s Bow Valley Technical Report #9 By: Karsten Heuer and Tracy Lee July 2010
  2. 2. Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation InitiativeTechnical Report #9July 2010Private Land Conservation Opportunities in Alberta’s Bow ValleyAuthors:Karsten Heuer, M. Sc. EcologyTracy Lee, M. Sc., Miistakis Institute for the Rockies1240 Railway Avenue, Unit 200Canmore, Alberta T1W 1P4Cover photograph by Jay Honeyman(Printed on recycled materials)PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY
  3. 3. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative1240 Railway Avenue, Unit 200Canmore, Alberta T1W 1P4 CanadaTelephone: (403) 609-2666Fax: (403) 609-2667Available for download from http://www.y2y.net (follow the links to “Library” and “Reports)SUGGESTED CITATION:Heuer, Karsten and Tracy Lee. 2010. Private Land Conservation Opportunities in Alberta’sBow Valley. Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Canmore, Alberta, TechnicalReport #9, July 2010.COPYRIGHT:The contents of this paper are solely the property of the Yellowstone to Yukon ConservationInitiative and Bow Valley Land Conservancy, and cannot be reproduced without permissionfrom both parties.DISCLAIMER:This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Yellowstone to Yukon ConservationInitiative in the interest of information exchange. Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiativeassumes no responsibility for its contents or use thereof.The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts andaccuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official policies ofYellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY i
  4. 4. AcknowledgementThis analysis was possible due to the generous sharing of wildlife data and land ownership information bythe Province of Alberta, the Town of Canmore, and the Municipality of Bighorn. We would also like to thankrepresentatives from the Town of Canmore, the MD of Bighorn, the Parks and Protected Areas Division of theAlberta Government, Canmore’s Biosphere Institute, the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, the BowValley Naturalists, Heather MacFadyen of BowCORD, Lafarge, Baymag, biologists Anne Forshner and JesseWhittington, and local naturalist Bob Smith for comments on our approach. Finally, thanks to the followingorganizations for funding this project: the Bow Valley Land Conservancy, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, andthe Nature Conservancy of Canada (Alberta Region).PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY ii
  5. 5. Table of ContentsIntroduction.....................................................................................................................................................................1Background.....................................................................................................................................................................2Goals................................................................................................................................................................................3Study Area.......................................................................................................................................................................3Methods and Results.......................................................................................................................................................4Conclusion and Recommendations...............................................................................................................................29References.....................................................................................................................................................................30Appendix A...................................................................................................................................................................31PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY iii
  6. 6. FiguresFigure 1: Conservation priorities for the Bow Natural Area..........................................................................................2Figure 2. Study Area.......................................................................................................................................................5Figure 3. Existing wildlife corridors and habitat patches...............................................................................................6Figure 4. Five study subunits: Canmore West; Canmore; Canmore East; Exshaw; and Bow Valley Park....................7Figure 5. GPS points collected from 3 radio-collared grizzly bears between 1988-2004..............................................8Figure 6. GPS points collected from 5 radio-collared cougars between 2000-2003......................................................9Figure 7. Snow tracking sequences for cougar, lynx, wolf and bobcat 1999-2009......................................................10Figure 8. Existing and new wildlife corridors and habitat partches for Canmore East and Exshaw subunits.............13Figure 9. Streams, rivers, lakes and moist and wet areas in the Bow Valley study area..............................................15Figure 10. Riparian/wetland layer.................................................................................................................................16Figure 11. Area of conservation interest.......................................................................................................................17Figure 12. Conservation targets in the Bow Valley.......................................................................................................19Figure 13. Priority lands for conservation in the Bow Valley........................................................................................20Figure 14. Priority lands for conservation in the Bow Valley with connectivity and riparian/wetland overlay...........21TablesTable 1: Percent fit of wildlife data into BCEAG wildlife corridors and habitat patches.............................................11Table 2: Percent fit of wildlife data into existing and new BCEAG corridors and habitat patches for Canmore Eastand Exshaw subunits.....................................................................................................................................................12Table 3: Percentage fit of wildlife data into BCEAG corridor and habitat patch alignments versus new ones for entirestudy area......................................................................................................................................................................14Table 4: Private Land Conservation Targets and Priorities for the Bow Valley............................................................22PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY iv
  7. 7. IntroductionAlberta’s upper Bow River valley is a critical The saving grace for this troubled valley is that muchcomponent of a much larger network of core wildlife of it is protected. To the west of Canmore lies Banffreserves and corridors spanning the eastern slopes National Park and to the east, west and south lieand main ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. portions of the Nordic Centre, Bow Valley, and SprayThese, in turn, form a significant anchor of the Valley Provincial Parks. But the effectiveness ofYellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) region. The Bow Valley these protected areas is undermined by the inabilityis a rare east-west trending valley in a landscape of wild animals to move through an increasinglydominated by north-south ridgelines that provides complex system of squeeze points on the unprotectedhigh-quality, low-elevation wildlife habitat and private and provincial lands between them. Somewinter range in a region where over half of the of these unprotected lands are so developed thatland base is comprised of rock and ice. It is both a they are beyond restoration; however, others holdthoroughfare and a home for an extensive array of incredible conservation opportunities. The purposemammals, including grizzly bears, lynx, cougars, of this project is to identify and prioritize privatewolves, elk, bighorn sheep, bobcats and wolverines, land conservation opportunities so that tools such asas well as a variety of birds, amphibians and aquatic easements, covenants, land swaps, and acquisitionsspecies. can be strategically pursued by land trusts and private land conservancies where landowners may beFor many of these animals, however, the region is amenable.also among the most developed places in their NorthAmerican range. The Town of Canmore (which hasmore than doubled in population in the last ten yearsto 17,000 residents); the hamlets of Deadman’s Flats,Lac Des Arcs, Exshaw and Harvie Heights; an activerock mining industry; the Trans-Canada Highway;the Canadian Pacific Railway; and a myriad ofrecreational trails and facilities used by hundredsof thousands of tourists, Bow Valley residents,and enthusiasts from the nearby city of Calgary(population 1 million); all combine to create a mazeof obstructions and squeeze points in a landscapethat is already topographically complex. Indeed, allthe recent wildlife research in the study area showsa landscape so constricted by natural and man-madebarriers that, in many cases, once-viable movementroutes for bears, wolves and other animals have beenseverely constricted or cut off (e.g., Whittington andForshner, 2009; Gibeau et al., 2002; Percy, 2003;Paquet, 1996).PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 1
  8. 8. BackgroundThe conservation of key parcels of private land priorities and actions for the entire Bow Naturalin the Bow Valley is of interest to a number of Region (NCC, 2009). However, the scale of thisorganizations, including the Bow Valley Land plan, which covers an area that extends east toConservancy (BVLC), the Nature Conservancy of Calgary and as far south as Longview (Figure 1),Canada (NCC), the Alberta Conservation Association is so large that specific parcels of land are difficult(ACA), the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation to identify and target for conservation. This reportInitiative, the Town of Canmore, and the Alberta supplements the NCC’s previous work with greaterGovernment. What has been lacking so far, however, detail for the upper Bow Valley and, in doing so,is an approach that identifies and prioritizes private furthers two of the NCC’s goals, which are to 1)parcels of land based on their biological and support the conservation of grizzly bears along theconservation values. eastern slopes portion of the Bow Natural Area; and 2) enhance the ecological integrity and conservationThe NCC took steps towards addressing this need values of federally and provincially protectedin 2009 when it completed its Bow Natural Area areas within Kananaskis Country and the mountainConservation Plan, which sets conservation targets, national parks (NCC, 2009). Figure 1: Conservation Priorities for the Bow Natural Area (as determined by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, 2009).PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 2
  9. 9. Goals Study AreaThe goals of this project are to: The study area, located around the Town of Canmore and the Hamlet of Exshaw, is bounded by1. Identify private lands in the Bow Valley that are Banff National Park to the west, the Stoney Indian important for large carnivore connectivity and Reserve to the east, the Don Getty and Bow Valley wetland/riparian conservation. Wildland Provincial Parks to the north, and Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Parks and Spray Valley2. Strengthen this analysis through a workshop Provincial Park to the south (Figure 2). Because the to gather feedback from local biologists, land focus of this project was on the valley-bottom lands managers and politicians. where human development and wildlife compete for limited, low-angle terrain, all lands higher than3. Rank and prioritize lands using a matrix that 1840 metres above sea level (5000’) and steeper than lists the strengths/advantages versus weaknesses/ 300 were excluded from the analysis (see BCEAG, disadvantages of each identified parcel. 1999; and Whittington and Forshner, 2009 for slope justification).PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 3
  10. 10. Methods and ResultsLands of conservation interest were identified bybuilding two layers of biological information andoverlaying them with land ownership. The two layersof biological information were:1. Connectivity (which captures the movement and habitat needs of the vast majority of large mammals and, by virtue of the umbrella approach, most smaller species as well); and2. Riparian/wetland habitats (which captures the needs of more specialized species, including amphibians, nesting waterfowl and fish).ConnectivityOur starting model was the existing map of wildlifecorridors and habitat patches developed by the BowCorridor Ecosystem Advisory Group (BCEAG) in1999 (Figure 3). We then asked the question: howwell does this model capture actual wildlife use andmovement? In search of the answer, we divided thestudy area into five subunits (Figure 4) and overlaidthree sets of wildlife data: 1369 GPS locations fromthree radio-collared grizzly bears (Figure 5); 3306GPS locations from five radio-collared cougars(Figure 6); and 1081 kilometres of snow trackingsequences of cougar, wolf, lynx and bobcat collectedover the past 10 years (Figure 7).PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 4
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  17. 17. Although substantial in volume, the above data has occurred in the Canmore East and Exshaw study units.limitations: it wasn’t collected equally or randomly These poor fits can be attributed to the following fouracross the landscape (e.g. backtracking effort was factors:greater on south-facing slopes above the Town of • The absence of designated corridors and habitatCanmore in the Canmore West and Canmore subunits patches on the north side of the Bow Valley east(Figure 7)). This lack of randomness and uniformity of Canmore (lower slopes of Grotto, Exshaw andintroduced statistical challenges that led us to adopt Loder mountains) where cougar GPS locationsa very straightforward assessment of the data: for (Figure 6) and cougar, wolf, lynx and bobcateach study unit we simply calculated the percentage backtracking sessions (Figure 7) occur in highof wildlife data that fell within the current BCEAG densities.corridor and habitat patch alignments (Table1). Thisapproach worked well for our mandate, which was • Inadequate wildlife corridor alignment on theto identify conservation opportunities on private private lands below Wind Ridge Mountain (i.e.,lands in the Bow Valley, given that wildlife are the “corridor disconnect” on Three Sisters landsalready displaced and stressed by existing levels of east of Stewart Creek) where high amounts ofdevelopment (see Whittington and Forshner, 2009; wildlife activity exist (Figures 5, 6 and 7).*Gibeau et al., 2002; Herrero, 2005; and Weaver et al., • The absence of corridors on the north side of1996), that current designated corridors and habitat the Bow Valley below Mount MacGillivray andpatches are suboptimal (see BCEAG ,1999 for ideal around Lac des Arcs, where known cougar, wolfdimensions), and that opportunities to conserve and lynx movements exist (Figures 6 and 7).biologically important private lands should be seized. • The absence of a designated corridor in the Exshaw Creek Valley, which is used by bears toWe considered values less than 75% (shaded yellow link low elevation and high elevation habitatsin Table 1) to be of concern, of which the majority (Figure 5). Table 1: Percent fit of wildlife data into BCEAG wildlife corridors and habitat patches. Species Data Type Canmore Canmore Canmore Exshaw Bow Valley All Study West East Park Units Combined Grizzly GPS 96% 80% 50% 23% 100% 63% (points) (N=128) (N=437) (N=739) (N=44) (N=21) (N=1369) Cougar GPS 100% 89% 71% 47% 100% 72% (points) (N=323) (N=94) (N=2585) (N=279) (N=25) (N=3306) Cougar Backtrack 80% 72% 72% 46% 97% 76% (km) (N=110) (N=106) (N=215) (N=38) (N=4) (N=473) Wolf Backtrack 98% 81% 62% 55% 97% 79% (km) (N=158) (N=76) (N=217) (N=10) (n=31) (N=493) Lynx Backtrack 100% 100% 70% 50% No data 71% (km) (N=5) (N=6) (N=49) (N=12) (N=71) Bobcat Backtrack No data No data 100% 44% No data 56% (km) No data No data (N=2) (N=8) (N=44)*Lands immediately west of the Stewart Creek cross-valley corridor have been developed since all but the cougar GPS data were collected; hence the overlap of grizzly GPS points and wolf backtracking data on an urban subdivision visible on the air photo.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 11
  18. 18. In the hopes of building a better connectivity layerwe addressed these shortfalls by adding 5 corridors,extending or widening 3 corridors, and addingthree small habitat patches to the existing BCEAGcorridor and habitat patch alignments for these twosubunits (Figure 8). We then re-ran our analysis tosee if these additions better accommodated the data(Table 2). Note that, because of the biological valueand political sensitivity of undeveloped private landseast of Stewart Creek (currently part of the ThreeSisters lands in receivership), we further subdividedour analysis of the Canmore East subunit into twoscenarios: one with a wildlife corridor alignmentas proposed by Alberta Sustainable ResourceDevelopment (ASRD) in 2002 (Three SistersMountain Village, 2003, Appendix 1), and one whichdesignates the entire area east of Stewart Creek andsouth of the Trans Canada Highway as a habitat patch(Figure 8). Table 2: Percent fit of wildlife data into existing (Figure 3) and new (Figure 8) BCEAG corridors and habitat patches for Canmore East and Exshaw subunits. Canmore East Exshaw Existing New Species Data Type w/ ASRD w/ Stewart Stewart Ck. Ck. Habitat Existing New Corridor Patch Grizzly GPS 50% 55% 75% 23% 93% GPS 71% 78% 82% 47% 90% Cougar Backtrack 72% 80% 88% 46% 88% Wolf Backtrack 62% 65% 77% 55% 94% Lynx Backtrack 70% 75% 91% 50% 93% Bobcat Backtrack 100% 100% 100% 44% 67% * Yellow shading denotes category of concern due to poor fit (<75%).PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 12
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  20. 20. We were encouraged by the improvement in the abovenumbers and, as a final check, ran the analysis forthe entire study area (Table 3). Based on the results,we adopted all corridor and habitat patch alignmentsdepicted in Figure 8 as our Connectivity Layer. Table 3: Percentage fit of wildlife data into existing BCEAG corridor and habitat patch alignments (Figure 3) versus new ones (Figure 8) for entire study area. Species Data Type All Subunits Combined Existing BCEAG NewΩ Grizzly GPS (points) 63% (N=1369) 85% GPS (points) 72% (N=3306) 79% Cougar Backtrack (km) 76% (N=473) 87% Wolf Backtrack (km) 79% (N=493) 86% Lynx Backtrack (km) 71% (N=71) 93% eBobcat Backtrack (km) 56% (N=44) 75% Ω Includes habitat patch east of Stewart Creek instead of 2008 ASRD corridor alignment. * Yellow shading denotes category of concern due to poor fit (<75%).Riparian/Wetland Habitats Land OwnershipOnce the Connectivity Layer was completed we Land ownership information was obtained fromturned our attention to riparian and wetland habitats the Town of Canmore, the Municipal District ofin the hopes of capturing overlooked habitats for Bighorn, AltaLIS and Alberta Parks and Protectedmore specialized species (e.g., waterfowl, amphibians Areas. Although our focus was on privately deededand fish). To do this we mapped streams, rivers and lands, we included provincial, leased, and municipal-lakes across the study area as well as wet and moist owned lands as part of our analysis in the hopes ofareas (Alberta Vegetation Index: hydric, hygric and encouraging and facilitating a coordinated approach tosubhydric categories) (Figure 9). We then applied conservation in the valley.buffers of 100m to all lakes and wetlands and 60mto all streams and rivers (Lee and Smyth, 2003;ASRD, 2008; Jon Jorgensen pers. comm.) and, afteroverlaying available amphibian locations (AlbertaParks and Protected Areas) and getting near-perfectoverlap, adopted this buffered area as our Riparian/Wetland Layer (Figure 10).Lands of Conservation InterestThe two biological layers (Connectivity and Riparian/Wetland) were then combined to create our area ofconservation interest (Figure 11).PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 14
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  24. 24. Conservation Targets Prioritizing Conservation TargetsWe then overlaid Lands of Conservation Interest Part of the peer review process was to prioritize(Figure 11) with land ownership to create a map conservation targets. This was done by drawing on theof conservation targets for the valley (Figure 12). collective knowledge and wisdom gathered during theThese targets denote the legal boundaries of every workshop to assess each parcel of land based on theparcel of land where the biological and ownership following attributes:layers intersected. In most cases the area of actual • Conservation Value – e.g., winter range forconservation interest is considerably smaller (i.e., an ungulates, presence of rare plants, squeeze pointentire section of land appears as a conservation target in critical corridor, etc.even if only a corner of it overlaps with a corridor,habitat patch or buffered riparian or wetland area • Conservation Urgency – e.g., whether or not– e.g., compare Figures 13 and 14). the parcel is physically developable, current municipal zoning (if applicable), etc.The map of Conservation Targets (Figure 12) andhow it was derived was then subjected to peer review • Integrity and Management of Adjacent Landsduring an all-day workshop of local biologists, land – e.g., whether the parcel is part of a designatedmanagers, land conservancies, and conservationists corridor or not, whether it abuts a habitat patch orheld in late March, 2010. Invitees who were protected area, etc.unable to attend were consulted in the weeks that • Recreation Value – e.g., presence of trails, accessfollowed. Altogether over 25 people were consulted, to other recreation areas, etc.including representatives from Alberta Parks andProtected Areas, the Town of Canmore, the MD of • Receptiveness of Owner – e.g., whether or notBighorn, Lafarge Canada, Baymag, Yellowstone the owner is known to be open to conservationto Yukon Conservation Initiative, the Bow Valley tools (e.g., land swaps, development creditsNaturalists, the Bow Valley Land Conservancy, and trades, easements, tax credits, ecogifts,the Bow Committee on Responsible Development etc.) being applied to his or her lands. This was(BowCORD) and independent biologists. Errors in informally assessed, and is a matter for discussionland ownership were identified and corrected during with individual owners. Neither the identity orthis process, critical winter range for Bighorn sheep attitudes of owners of particular pieces of privatewas incorporated into the new habitat patches, existing land are disclosed in this report.and pending conservation easements were identified,and a local expert on rare plants was consulted. Figure Discussion points were organized into a priority12 incorporates all of this input. matrix (Table 4) and cross-referenced to final maps of priority lands for conservation in the Bow Valley (Figures 13 and 14).PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 18
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  28. 28. Table 4: Private Land Conservation Targets and Priorities for the Bow ValleyMap Parcel Size Conservation Conservation Integrity & Recreation Value Possible Tools Overall PriorityCode Description acres Value Urgency Management of (only if owner is Adjacent Lands willing)A Old Ranger 4.4 Medium –Good Low – Currently Very High Low - very small Acquisition or Medium Station cougar and zoned Wildland – Surrounded on parcel. Easement ungulate habitat Conservation three sides by on three sides. District by TOC. BVWPP, 4th side is Concern about highway frontage. spill-over effect from human use in adjacent high density development.B Silvertip Golf 120 High – Lower High – Zoned High Medium – green Easement High Course portion part Direct Control by – Conservation space and golf of secondary TOC. Possibility easements in place course. (ungulate) wildlife of urban on 2 adjoining corridor; upper development if properties for portion part of golf course proves secondary primary wildlife unprofitable. TOC corridor; BVWPP corridor. Impacted has very little captures rest of by adjacent golf control. upper corridor. course.C Silvertip Gully 17 Very High – Part Low – Zoned Very High High – green Easement Very High of designated Direct Control by – conservation space with secondary TOC but deemed easements in place walking trails (ungulate) wildlife undevelopable due on 2 adjoining corridor. to slope. properties for secondary corridor.D Larch Island 14 High – Part of Low – Zoned Very High – All Very high Acquisition High Georgetown Wildland other islands in – Existing walking Regional Habitat Conservation by Bow River and interpretive Patch; closed TOC. protected as part trails used annually by of CNCPP. extensively by wildlife officers local residents. due to bears; good fall, winter and spring range for elk.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 22
  29. 29. Map Parcel Size Conservation Conservation Integrity & Recreation Value Possible Tools Overall PriorityCode Description acres Value Urgency Management of (only if owner is Adjacent Lands willing)E Policeman’s 20.4 High – Part of the High Medium Very High – used Acquisition High Creek A South Canmore – Zoned Wildland – Surrounded on 2 by local residents Habitat Patch Conservation by sides by provincial for walking. – important winter TOC. unprotected lands range and calving (zoned Wildland habitat for local by TOC); to herd of elk. the north by condominiums, to the east by small parcel (F) that is a candidate for an easement.F Policeman’s 2.15 High – Part of the Low Medium Low – a few Easement Medium Creek B South Canmore – Zoned Wildland – Surrounded on 2 unofficial trails. Habitat Patch Conservation by sides by provincial Land on other side – important winter TOC. unprotected lands of creek is owner- range and calving (zoned Wildland occupied. habitat for local by TOC); to the herd of elk. west by 20-acre parcel (E).G Athletes Village 18.3 High – Located Medium Very High Medium Easement Medium adjacent to – Currently zoned – wedged between – trailhead for wildlife corridor Direct Control by wildlife corridor Grassi Lakes trail. and very near to TOC. (which is within Rundle Forebay CNCPP) and wildlife crossing Grassi Lakes structure. Habitat Patch.H Right-of-way 18 High – part of Low – Currently Very High High – walking Easement Medium on either side of wildlife corridor zoned Wildland – surrounded by trails. canal between CNCPP Conservation lands currently and Grassi Lakes by TOC. Gated zoned Wildland Habitat Patch; access roads for Conservation by flanks Rundle canal and pipeline TOC. Forebay wildlife maintenance; crossing structure no development on both sides. intent.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 23
  30. 30. Map Parcel Size Conservation Conservation Integrity & Recreation Value Possible Tools Overall PriorityCode Description acres Value Urgency Management of (only if owner is Adjacent Lands willing)I Dog Pond 92.5 Very High High – Currently Very High Very High – used Acquisition or Very High – Part of Grassi zoned Wildland – BVWPP to the extensively by Easement Lakes Habitat Conservation by south and lands walkers and Patch; used by TOC. zoned Wildand bikers. amphibians, Conservation to grizzly bears and the east and west. everything in between.J Quarry Lake 237 Very High Low – Currently Very High Very High – used Easement Low - Part of Grassi zoned Natural – BVWPP to the extensively by Lakes Habitat Parkland by south and lands walkers, bikers Patch; used by TOC, mandate of zoned Wildand and swimmers. amphibians, RMHF (which is Conservation to grizzly bears and 50% controlled the east and west. everything in by TOC) is for between. recreation and open natural space.K West end Peaks 4.5 Very High Medium High – BVWPP Low – very small Acquisition High of Grassi – located at pinch- – Currently zoned and primary parcel – vacant lot. point at west end Urban Reserve by corridor to the of Three Sisters TOC; however, south, Grassi primary wildlife legal agreement Lakes Habitat corridor. says maximum Patch to the west, number of high density urban developable units development to in Peaks of Grassi north and east. already achieved.L Three Sisters 296 High – Important Low – Currently Very High – Medium – bisected Acquisition or Medium Creek movement zoned Wildland surrounded on all by hike/bike trail Easement corridor between Conservation by sides by BVWPP. leading into upper low and high TOC. Due to lack Three Sisters elevation habitats of access and Creek. for a number of cost of servicing, species; within unlikely to be riparian buffer. developed.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 24
  31. 31. Map Parcel Size Conservation Conservation Integrity & Recreation Value Possible Tools Overall PriorityCode Description acres Value Urgency Management of (only if owner is Adjacent Lands willing)M Upper Stewart 78 High – Important Low – Currently Very High – Medium – bisected Acquisition or Medium Creek movement zoned Wildland surrounded on all by hike/bike trail Easement corridor between Conservation by sides by BVWPP. leading into upper low and high TOC and, due to Stewart Creek. elevation habitats lack of access and for a number of cost of servicing, species; within unlikely to be riparian buffer. developed.N East of Stewart 860 Very High – Last Very High High – flanked Medium Acquisition, Very High Creek sizeable swath – Currently in by BVWPP to – numerous hike/ land swap with of low-elevation receivership. the south, and bike trails bisect provincial habitat remaining Possibilities for established the land along the government, in the valley; partial acquisition corridor network main valley and or transfer of used extensively but market value to the east and accessing Stewart development by all ungulates contingent on west. and Three Sisters credits and carnivores; longstanding issue Creeks. critically of wildlife corridor positioned at alignments being mouth of Wind resolved. Valley; includes wetland habitat occupied by amphibians.O Wind Valley A 20 Very High – Part Moderate Medium – flanked Low – currently Easement High of corridor at – access problems by unprotected no trails in the mouth of the Wind through existing crown lands area. Valley. quarry. Currently destined for zoned Wildland park status one Conservation. side, otherwise contingent on what happens with adjacent Taylor (P) and Three Sisters (N) lands.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 25
  32. 32. Map Parcel Size Conservation Conservation Integrity & Recreation Value Possible Tools Overall PriorityCode Description acres Value Urgency Management of (only if owner is Adjacent Lands willing)P Wind Valley B 63.4 High – part Unknown Medium – flanked High – includes Easement or Medium of corridor at – Active Rundle by unprotected trail to Spray Falls. development mouth of Wind rock quarry Crown lands credit trade Valley, good (Thunderstone) destined for Park riparian habitat with new rock status on two and rare old- cutting facility sides. Other sides growth Douglas recently installed contingent on Fir trees. Parcel in Exshaw. Intent future of Three compromised by to further develop Sisters (N) and active Rundle rock unknown. Lambert (O) lands. quarry.Q Bighorn 6.8 Very High Low Medium – rock Low – no trails in Easement Medium Meadows B – critical winter quarries currently the area. range for bighorn exist to either sheep and deer, side with no very good cougar overall plan to habitat; functions maintain wildlife as corridor for movement. other species Neighbour to the travelling around west has ACA Gap Lake. conservation easement in place.R Gap Lake 17 Very High High – owner Medium Medium – no trails Acquisition or High – critical winter has agreement – BVWPP to on property. Easement range for bighorn for access with south, existing sheep and deer, Alberta Ministry conservation very good cougar of Transportation. easement to north; habitat. compromised by 1A Highway, CPR and nearby quarries.S Exshaw West 87.5 Very High – high Low – southern Low – Abuts High – well used Easement on Medium quality cougar and half (below community of area on periphery northern half of sheep habitat and powerline) Exshaw and rock of Exshaw for property critical corridor in included in MDP quarry on two hiking and dog very constricted as residential sides; unprotected walking. part of Bow Valley lots for future Crown land to (Exshaw and Lac expansion of north and east. Des Arcs). Exshaw; northern half currently undevelopable due to slope and access.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 26
  33. 33. Map Parcel Size Conservation Conservation Integrity & Recreation Value Possible Tools Overall PriorityCode Description acres Value Urgency Management of (only if owner is Adjacent Lands willing)T Exshaw East 49 Very High – high Low – southern Low – Abuts High – well used Easement on Medium quality cougar and half (below community of area on periphery northern half of sheep habitat and powerline) Exshaw and rock of Exshaw for property critical corridor in included in MDP quarry on two hiking and dog very constricted as residential lots sides; unprotected walking. part of Bow Valley for future Exshaw Crown land to (Exshaw and Lac expansion; north and east. Des Arcs). northern half undevelopable due to slope and access.U Graymont Plant 100 High – area used Low – currently Medium Low – no trails Easement with Low by bobcats and occupied by – Southern on property; quite option for lynx; landscape Graymont plant. edge abuts onto a bit of dust and acquisition connection at Company not BVWPP. noise. mouth of Jura interested in Creek; wetlands having neighbours and pond. due to dust/noise conflicts.V Graymont Lands 363 High – large Low – no active Medium Medium – used by Easement with Low area used by mining and none - Northern edge rock climbers to option for bobcats, lynx, planned for near abuts BVWPP, access Kid Goat acquisition cougar, sheep and future. Graymont western edge and other cliffs in elk; movement un- interested in abuts rock mining the area. route to and development due leases, eastern from Yamnuska to poss dust/ noise edge by active Regional Habitat complaints. landfill. Patch.W Landfill 80 Low (currently Low – expected High – BVWPP Medium – popular Easement Low a landfill) but lifespan of landfill and Yamnuska area for hiking potential to ~30 years. natural area and accessing rock be high once surround parcel on climbs. reclamation two sides, parcel V complete. on west side.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 27
  34. 34. Map Parcel Size Conservation Conservation Integrity & Recreation Value Possible Tools Overall PriorityCode Description acres Value Urgency Management of (only if owner is Adjacent Lands willing)X Rafter Six Guest 21 Very High – High - History Very High Very High Easement High Ranch premium montane of development – surrounded – popular with habitat away from proposals. by Bow Valley hikers, bikers, highways and Concern with Provincial Park on river runners and railway on banks spread of guests three sides. horse riders. of Kananaskis into surrounding River. habitat.Y* Seebee West 103Very High – high High – Land Medium Medium – area Easement or Medium concentrations unneeded for – bordered on well-used by acquisition of rare plants, operation of power three sides by fishermen and especially orchids plants. low-density the occasional and good cliff development naturalist. nesting habitat for of Stoney First raptors and other Nation Reserve. birds.Z* Seebee East 770Very High - high Very High - ASP Medium Low – access Easement Medium concentrations approved for – bordered on restricted to of rare plants 5,000-person town three sides by members of (orchids) and cliff to be built on site. low-density Stoney Nakoda nesting habitat development First Nation. for raptors.. of Stoney First Huge impacts of Nation Reserve. proposed 5,000- person town on surrounding landscape (e.g., Yamnuska Regional Habitat Patch, Bow Valley Provincial Park).BVWPP = Bow Valley Wildland Provincial ParkCNCC = Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial ParkTOC = Town of CanmoreBVPP = Bow Valley Provincial ParkMDP = Municipal Development PlanASP = Area Structure Plan* Parcels Y and Z fall outside (just east) of the study area but were identified by a sufficient number of people during the consultative phase of this project towarrant inclusion.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 28
  35. 35. Conclusion and RecommendationsThis study was undertaken at the request of theYellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative withfunding from the Bow Valley Land Conservancy toidentify conservation target priorities in Alberta’sBow Valley between Banff National Park andthe Stoney Nakoda Indian Reserve. Using themethodology described above, we identified 26parcels, encompassing some 3,400 acres, whichrequire conservation management if this portion ofthe Bow Valley is to continue to support regionalwildlife populations and to serve as a corridor linkingprotected habitats in Kananaskis Country with those inBanff National Park. Ten of the identified parcels rankas high or very high in conservation priority. Theseparcels constitute an urgent agenda for private landconservation in the Bow Valley. We recommend thatthe Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative andthe private land conservancies with which it worksdevelop a strategy and seek the resources to securethem.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 29
  36. 36. ReferencesAlberta Sustainable Resource Development, Public Lands and Forests Division Forest Management Branch, 2008.Alberta Timber Harvest Planning and Operating Ground Rules Framework for Renewal. 100p.BCEAG (Bow Corridor Ecosystem Advisory Group). 1999. Wildlife Corridor and Habitat Patch Guidelines for theBow Valley. Municipal District of Bighorn, Town of Canmore, Banff National Park, Government of Alberta. 27 pp.Gibeau, M. L., A. P. Clevenger, S. Herrero, and J. Wierzchowski. 2002. Grizzly bear response to humandevelopment and activities in the Bow River Watershed, Alberta, Canada. Biological Conservation. 103:227-236.Herrero S, ed. 2005. Biology, demography, ecology and management of grizzly bears in and around Banff NationalPark and Kananaskis Country. ESGBP Final Report, University of Calgary, Alberta. 248pp.Lee, P., and Smyth, C. 2003. Riparian forest management: paradigms for ecological management and practicesin Alberta. Report produced by the Alberta Research Council (Vegreville, Alberta) and the Alberta ConservationAssociation (Edmonton, Alberta) for the Northern Watershed Project Stakeholder Committee. Northern WatershedProject Final Report No. 1, 117pp.Nature Conservancy of Canada, 2009. Bow Natural Area Conservation Plan. 98p.Paquet, P. C. 1993. Summary reference document: ecological studies of recolonizing wolves in the central CanadianRocky Mountains. Final report. Parks Canada, Banff National Park.Percy, M. 2003. Temporal and spatial activity patterns of large carnivores in the Bow Valley of Banff National Park.M.Sc. thesis. University of Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta.Three Sisters Mountain Village. 2003. Wildlife Corridor Brief – Overview of Wildlife Corridors on the Three SistersProperty.Weaver, J. L., P. C. Paquet, and L. F. Ruggiero. 1996. Resilience and Conservation of Large Carnivores in the RockyMountains. Conservation Biology 10:964-976.Whittington, J and A. Forshner. 2009. An analysis of wildlife snow tracking, winter transect, and highway underpassdata in the Eastern Bow Valley.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 30
  37. 37. Appendix AYellowstone to Yukon ConservationInitiativeThe Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative NUNAVUT(Y2Y) is a Transboundary effort to maintain andrestore the unique natural heritage of the mountain Yellowstone to Yukon Regionlandscape extending from the southern extent ofthe Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to the ArcticCircle in the Yukon. Based out of its headquartersin Canmore, Alberta, with an office in Bozeman,Montana, and staff in Banff, Alberta, and Armstrong,British Columbia, Y2Y promotes collaborative effortsto maintain viable and interconnected populationsof native carnivores, fish and birds throughout theregion. Hundreds of organizations representing overa million citizens have endorsed the Y2Y vision. Y2Yenvisions a day when residents, visitors, communities,land use managers and aboriginal groups throughoutthe region understand and appreciate their locationwithin the world’s last, fully functioning mountainecosystem and undertake or support actions that fosterits conservation.To learn more about the Yellowstone to YukonConservation Initiative, please visit www.y2y.net.PRIVATE LAND CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN ALBERTA’S BOW VALLEY 31

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