Busenius property, Alberta (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)
Conservation region: Capital Conservation Region
Natural priority area: Upper North Saskatchewan River Basin
The Upper North Saskatchewan River Basin Natural Area is characterized by large clusters of mixedwood boreal forest, native mixed-grass systems, wetlands and prominent freshwater lakes. The North Saskatchewan River, a major feature of this natural area, and the surrounding river valley, riparian zone and bluffs are recognized nationally as environmentally significant.
The property also has good local habitat connectivity. It is within three kilometres of five existing Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) conservation areas. The 960-acre (388-hectare) Coyote Lake Conservation Area is located just six kilometres from the property.
The Busenius property is characterized by mixed wood boreal forest, which contains a mixture of broad-leaf (aspen, balsam poplar, paper birch) and coniferous (white spruce, black spruce, tamarack) trees. Forest covers the majority of the property and it is in very healthy condition. Mixed wood boreal forest covers more than 78 percent of this property, which provides important habitat for ungulates (hoofed animals), songbirds and mammals.
This region provides important hydrological functions, and provides over-wintering and rearing habitat for a high diversity of fish species. A number of raptors also nest here, including bald eagles.
A resident herd of approximately 40 elk live here. In addition, nine wetlands of varying sizes support numerous waterfowl. These prairie pothole wetlands are important for waterfowl breeding and migratory shorebirds.
The Busenius property has good local habitat connectivity. It is within three kilometres of four NCC-owned conservation quarter-sections and one NCC-owned conservation agreement. Approximately six kilometres to the southwest is the Coyote Lake project, which includes six NCC conservation quarter-sections and two Crown-owned quarter-sections designated as natural areas.
This property also contains native mixed grass prairie, of which only 23 percent remains in Canada.
With its close proximity to the cities of Edmonton, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain, the demand for recreation activity is high within this area. Over time, this has resulted in fragmentation of the Upper North Saskatchewan River Basin’s land base into smaller land parcels. This has resulted in the ongoing degradation or removal of much of the mixed wood boreal forest systems and accompanying native mixed grass systems in the area.
A natural partnership
Thanks in part to generous funding from TD Bank Group (TD) through the TD Forests program, this property has now been protected for the long term.
The TD Forests program will increase the amount of forested lands protected and cared for by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Over five years, the program will conserve an average of more than two football fields a day. TD and NCC are also engaging more Canadians in the mission to conserve our forests, which will safeguard not just the trees, but the living creatures that rely on forested habitats.
- Government of Canada, through the Natural Areas Conservation Program