Preserving Alta.’s Bob Creek Ranch

Preserving Alta.’s Bob Creek Ranch
Jun 19, 2024

The lands would still be available for grazing through the Waldron Grazing Co-operative

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Top photo: Bob Creek Ranch/Nature Conservancy Canada

Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) is looking for support for a project it says is an important piece of Alberta’s conservation puzzle.

Around $10 million is required to preserve Bob Creek Ranch in Alberta’s southern foothills, the NCC says.

The 1,207-hectare (2,982-acre) ranch, which the Waldron Grazing Co-operative owns, borders the Oldman River and features the Bob Creek and Coyote Creek.

It would bridge the gap between Bob Creek Wildland Park, the Black Creek Heritage Rangeland and The Waldron Ranch.

In total, these areas create a block of 43,000 hectares.

The Bob Creek ranch is full of Alberta’s provincial grass, rough fescue, which offers forage for wildlife and livestock.

And ranchers would still have access to the land.

“The property will continue to be sustainably grazed by cattle under the management of the Waldron Grazing Co-operative,” the NCC says. “Cattle, other livestock and grazing wildlife are important for grassland health. When properly managed, cattle grazing behaviour can approximate the historic actions of bison, which were a significant factor in the evolution of a healthy Prairie grassland ecosystem.”

Preserving this ranch brings benefits on multiple levels, said Frank Welsch, chair of the Waldron Grazing Co-operative.

“Not only is it a benefit to the shareholders who are gaining access to more grazing, it’s a win for the entire population and community of Alberta and Canada to know that this land will stay just as it is today; a home to an abundance of wildlife, both animal and plant species, along with cattle to maintain the grasses it produces,” he said in a statement.

NCC is also working to preserve a ranch in Saskatchewan.

The Mackie Ranch, a 640-hectare (1,581-acre) ranch “has been named in recognition of the generations of stewardship by the Mackie family, and will continue to be used for cattle grazing to help keep the grasslands healthy and support the local economy,” NCC says.

Information about the Bob Creek and Mackie ranches, and other NCC projects can be found on its website.

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