Help Protect Big Island-Woodbend

Alberta is experiencing exponential growth. In the last year, 43,000 people migrated to our province. This is placing unprecedented demands on our cities, particularly Edmonton and Calgary. More than ever, our city planners and decision-makers must find ways to grow sustainably as the limits of our urban areas expand.

A rarity among cities, Edmonton is fortunate in that its citizens have easy access to an unmitigated wilderness experience. This experience exists in the form of Big Island-Woodbend natural area, located in the southwest region of the city in the North Saskatchewan River Valley. Unfortunately, rapid urban growth is threatening this area as the city grows.

One of the Capital region’s most unique areas, the Big Island-Woodbend natural area offers:

• The region’s largest population of white-tailed and mule deer
• Moose, porcupines, birds, amphibians and other wildlife
• An old-growth forest that is more than 110 years old
• Some of the Capital region’s largest and most distinctive riparian wetlands
• Edmonton’s only east-to-west-oriented ravine with steep banks, unique vegetation and an alpine feeling
• A one-kilometer-long back channel that provides important shelter to 27 different kinds of fish
• The Edmonton Sand Dunes Natural Area: the only place in Edmonton to see naturally-occurring sand dunes

With support from Alberta Ecotrust, and the Edmonton Community Foundation, the North Saskatchewan Conservation Society (NSRVCS) aims to have Big Island-Woodbend formally designated as a conservation area. The designation would make Edmonton’s river valley the largest urban natural area in Canada.

Alberta’s environmental nonprofits are frequently tasked with protecting our most treasured areas. Often, they do this with few resources. Almost a third of these nonprofits operate entirely by volunteers. Traditionally, the NSRVCS is one of these volunteer-run groups. Recognizing the urgency of the issue, the NSRVCS has hired a new executive director, Michael Phair. With Michael on board, the Society can fully participate with the City as they develop a development plan for the area.

The NSRVCS is identifying areas of high conservation value, building support for the area among the public, and working with private landowners in the area. They envision an area open for all citizens to enjoy year round, and continued support for educational and scientific research within Big Island-Woodbend.

Protecting this special area will require a commitment from all Edmontonians. Big Island-Woodbend is a world class asset and in the words of the River Valley Alliance, “Nature at Its Best”. We encourage all concerned citizens to visit the new NSRVCS website, learn more about this valuable area, and get involved with the Society.

12 Grants of Christmas

This story is the sixth in our 12 Grants of Christmas series. In the days leading up to Christmas we will be featuring some of the best projects and stories from our grantees in the last year. Please return to our blog in the coming days and weeks to learn more about the incredible environmental work being done across Alberta. Other stories:

1. Making a Statement in Fort Chip

2. Living With Coyotes

3. Calgary Can: Recognizing People for their Environmental & Economic Contributions

4. Answering Hard Questions in Our Grasslands

5. Learning From the Ground Up

6. Help Protect Big Island-Woodbend

Support us today!

A gift this Christmas helps support high impact environmental projects and protects the ecosystems we rely on for life and prosperity.



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