|By Marketwired .||
|September 4, 2013 04:30 PM EDT||
ARROWWOOD, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 09/04/13 -- Today Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), along with Shell Canada, celebrated the launch of the Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch. This is DUC's largest and most ecologically important acquisition to date, which builds on a strong 75-year legacy of delivering important habitat projects in areas that provide the greatest benefit to North American waterfowl.
Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch includes 4,130 acres of pristine, native grasslands, as well as an additional 1,769 acres of tame hay lands. In total, this area represents nearly 6,000 acres for breeding, migration and wintering of 159 bird species that use both native prairie and the boreal forest of Alberta.
Recognizing the positive impact of this acquisition, Shell Canada has generously agreed to contribute $3 million towards the purchase with the balance coming from DUC and the NAWCA partnership. With this generous donation, Shell is demonstrating tremendous leadership by helping to conserve this block of wetland rich, mixed-grass prairie.
"The Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch is an outstanding and rare example of intact habitat only one hour southeast of Calgary," says DUC President, Mac Dunfield. "This makes it not only an exemplar of wetland conservation, but easily accessible for the public to enjoy. It will serve as an excellent property to demonstrate how DUC's work to conserve critical waterfowl habitat also provides many other societal benefits including carbon storage, improved water quality, as well as mitigating impacts of floods and drought."
This is one of the last remaining tracts of native prairie grassland located within an area of intensive grain production. Had this land not been secured by DUC, there would be significant risk of losing the native habitat to grain and oilseed production in the future. Though there has been some minor wetland drainage on these lands, we are focused on retaining the existing native prairie and small wetland habitat, which includes approximately 800 basins.
Shell has a land and reclamation strategy in place to guide environmental performance in its oil sands business. Although reclamation work is constantly underway, full oil sands reclamation takes decades to complete and conserving land like the Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch allows for action in the short term. Over the next decade Shell plans to accelerate the pace of land reclamation and develop technologies to reduce future land disturbance.
"We are committed to help mitigate habitat disturbances resulting from our existing mining operations," says Lorraine Mitchelmore, Shell Canada President and Country Chair. "Shell Canada is proud to have a relationship with Ducks Unlimited which has developed over several decades and has successfully managed to protect land and wildlife throughout North America."
With the addition of the Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch, Shell has now conserved over 11,000 acres of habitat conservation land.
Thanks to DUC's strong conservation spirit, and Shell's great collaboration and teamwork, this critical piece of habitat is forever protected. The Shell Buffalo Hills Conservation Ranch will truly become a legacy of the important work DUC does for wetlands and waterfowl in Canada and across the continent.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. Learn more at ducks.ca.