Prairie Grasslands Conservation Region
Foothills fescue grasslands, AB (Photo by Leta Pezderic)
Grasslands are fragile but ecologically important. Birds such as burrowing owl, ferruginous hawk and peregrine falcon are iconic grassland creatures that are under increasing threat from habitat loss.
As of 2017, the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute human footprint status report indicates that 57 per cent of the Alberta grassland region has been modified from a native state.
Southeastern Alberta is a landscape dominated by grasslands. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has identified strategic areas for conservation that have the best potential to support these natural features into the future. The Milk River Ridge, Milk River Basin, Pakowki Lake and Cypress Uplands natural areas feature some of the largest intact tracts of native grass in the province.
This region is an important area for many species that live here. Pronghorn, swift fox, ferruginous hawk and greater sage-grouse are some of the species that live in the grassland habitat in this part of the province. The Pakowki Lake region, designated as an Important Bird Area, supports migratory birds that pass through southeastern Alberta on their way to and from breeding and overwintering grounds.
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In addition to being one of the most diverse ecosystems in Alberta, grasslands are also the most delicate. Human development has created a variety of challenges for resident animals, and historical agricultural practices have decimated much of the area's essential native grasses while allowing for the spread of invasive alien plants.
Our conservation efforts are aided by partnerships with landowners and organizations that have helped maintain the ecological integrity of the prairie grasslands and other areas through responsible land management practices.
Come visit us
Many of the properties protected by NCC welcome visitors. These areas provide excellent hiking, birdwatching, nature photography and other compatible recreation opportunities.
Sandstone Ranch, AB (Photo by NCC)
Allowable activities on NCC properties and access
Allowable activities on NCC properties are defined by each property's management plan. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to what kinds of recreation activities visitors can engage in on our conservation lands. Some properties remain completely closed to the public to protect the sensitive ecology that made the land so important to conserve. Other conservation areas can withstand a wide range of recreational pursuits without any harm to the natural habitat.
If you have any questions about what activities are permissible on any of our properties, please contact us.
For information on accessing properties owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Alberta, please send us an email.
Find an NCC representative in this area:
South-central Alberta: Leta Pezderic
Southeast Alberta: Megan Jensen