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ATB partners with Ducks Unlimited to bring ducks back to Alberta

Conservation specialist in Alberta

Photos by Michael Benz

Just outside of Stettler, Alberta is a piece of land with quite the story. The Ames and Desilets project now belongs to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) but not without a bit of family drama to go along with it.

"It was owned by a widow and when she passed away she willed the property to a friend rather than her children," said Bob Thomson, Conservation Specialist with DUC. "The new owners were not farmers and didn’t know what to do, so they sought out Ducks Unlimited Canada."

Through the DUC's Revolving Land Conservation Program, and with the help of the ATB Financial Legacy Fund, DUC was able to purchase the land and bring in conservation experts.

Here's how it works. DUC purchases the land and creates a conservation plan for the property. Then they roll up their sleeves and get to work to restore wetlands. This process entails any manner of tasks from weed control and seeding grass to removing any derelict buildings or fencing.

In approximately three years, after the organization has completed the work and an established pasture is intact, DUC puts the land back on the market with a conservation easement. This conservation easement remains on the title in perpetuity with certain restrictions. The new owner must steward the land responsibly with guidance and check-ins with DUC to ensure the land continues to thrive.

Ducks Unlimited Canada conservation ne  

This past year alone, DUC's Revolving Land Conservation Program has been able to acquire three properties totalling 1,914 acres. At the Ames site they've managed to restore several wetlands to their natural levels, which attract all types of water birds and wildlife to assist with increasing the biodiversity of the land.

"Wetlands are nature's kidney; they clean and purify the water, absorbing nitrates and phosphates," said Thomson. "The wetlands at this Ames site will filter and clean the water that eventually runs into the Red Deer River."

The ATB Financial Legacy Fund has been involved in 27 projects of the Revolving Land Conservation Program, totalling 8,604 acres of restored and conserved land.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Visit the Ducks Unlimited Canada website for more information.
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