The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced the conservation of the Gabert-Meeting Creek property in central Alberta. This conservation project is the result of the commitment and dedication of Terry and Faith Gabert, who are passionate about protecting the beauty and ecological value of the land for future generations.
“This property is special place to us and our family. We enjoy this native prairie, especially the wildflowers in the spring and summer. The wild animals such as mule and white-tailed deer, moose and coyotes, beavers and birds such as hawks, meadowlarks, ducks and geese are wonderful to see, all the while the land provides marvellous grass, water and shelter for our grazing cattle. This easement ensures that the land will remain wild forever. We hope that other owners of grasslands will consider protecting their lands this way,” said Terry and Faith Gabert.
The 129-hectare Gabert-Meeting Creek property will be protected through a conservation agreement between NCC and the Gabert family, who have lived and farmed in the area since 1974. This agreement ensures that the property will continue to operate as a working landscape while protecting its natural state in perpetuity. In a remarkable act of generosity, the Gaberts have donated the complete value of the agreement to NCC, fortifying the organization's ongoing efforts to conserve nature in Alberta.
Located in Camrose County, within Alberta's Central Parkland Natural Subregion, the Gabert-Meeting Creek property holds significant conservation value. This area has experienced extensive land use change, with only about five per cent of natural cover remaining today. Conserving Gabert-Meeting Creek protects it against further loss.
The property primarily consists of native Prairie grasslands, which are becoming increasingly rare in the area. These grasslands are vital for biodiversity, serving as habitat for numerous plant and animal species, some of which are rare and threatened. Additionally, they contribute to carbon storage, soil conservation and water regulation.
Meeting Creek flows through the new conservation site. A tributary of the Battle River, one of Alberta's major water systems, this creek supports many fish, waterfowl and mammals. It also serves as a water source for agriculture and recreation in the surrounding area. Protecting the natural land cover along the creek helps stabilize its banks, maintain its water quality and lessen the impacts of floods and droughts in the watershed.
Sprague’s pipit, a songbird species listed as threatened under Canada’s Species At Risk Act, has been documented on the property. This species declined by 87 per cent since 1970. Conserving its remaining grassland habitats is crucial to its recovery.
“We are immensely grateful to Terry and Faith Gabert for their vision and commitment to conservation. Their partnership and shared passion for protecting this ecologically significant property exemplify the critical role that private landowners play in protecting Canada's natural heritage. Together, we are securing a sustainable future for our land, wildlife and communities,” said Tom Lynch-Staunton, Regional Vice-President, Nature Conservancy of Canada
Additional project costs were supported by private donors and the Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. This project was donated to NCC under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides significant tax benefits for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically sensitive land.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)’s Prairie Grasslands Action Plan is an unprecedented effort to rally Canadians to protect one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. The Plan will lead efforts to conserve more than 500,000 hectares by 2030 — an area six times the size of the city of Calgary — and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 82 % of native prairie grasslands have been lost in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
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