Bower Wildlife Sanctuary (Photo by Brent Calver)

Bower Wildlife Sanctuary (Photo by Brent Calver)

Nature Conservancy of Canada announces new conservation site along Red Deer River

April 27, 2021


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing a new conservation site located on the west bank of the Red Deer River. Known as the Bower Wildlife Sanctuary, this 193-hectare (477-acre) property belonged to the Bower family for nearly a century.

James Bower originally bought two quarter-sections of land from CP Rail in the 1920s, and his son Charles Bower later added an adjoining 51 hectares (127 acres) along the river. It has been in the family for three generations.

Sisters Ruth and Dorothy Bower inherited the property from their father, Charles, and made the decision to donate the property to NCC. Over the decades, their care and dedication has ensured that the wildlife that live in and travel freely through the region have safe passage across their land, which is why it is now named the Bower Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Bower Wildlife Sanctuary is located in NCC’s Red Deer River Natural Area, a unique region of central Alberta focused on the Red Deer and Battle rivers and their tributaries. The native habitat in this area features a transition zone between the grasslands and parklands. Across the Prairies, most of this habitat has undergone modification or cultivation with only one-third of the native habitat remaining intact.

The Red Deer River valley provides habitat for birds, amphibians, wide-ranging mammals and eleven species of fish. One of the parcels of the Bower Wildlife Sanctuary has been designated as an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) by Alberta Parks. ESAs area generally defined as areas important to long-term health of the natural habitat, landscape features and natural processes. This parcel has been designated an ESA because of its contribution to water quality and quantity.

Species listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act found in the region that benefit from this conservation project include American badger taxus subspecies (special concern), western tiger salamander (special concern), Sprague’s pipit (threatened) and piping plover (endangered).

This site is also located within a provincially identified Sensitive Raptor Range for bald eagles, which are designated as such to minimize impacts to nest sites, foraging habitat and to prevent mortality of young and nest abandonment.

This conservation project was made possible by the generosity of the Bower family and funding from the Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. A portion of the property was donated to NCC under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.


“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is proud to announce the conservation of the Bower Wildlife Sanctuary. There are many species of birds and animals that live in and migrate through this area, and thanks to the incredible generosity of the Bower sisters, this land will continue to be a safe haven for them. This property has been in the Bower family for three generations, and it’s a wonderful legacy for everyone who has cared for the land to be able to conserve it indefinitely.” – Tom Lynch-Staunton, Regional Vice President, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“The Bower Wildlife Sanctuary will protect the diverse array of biodiversity that call it home while contributing to clean air and clean water in Alberta for now and for generations to come. Through important projects like these across the country, we are making progress towards conserving a quarter of land in Canada by 2025.” – The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


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Media Contact:

Carys Richards
Communications Manager
Alberta Region
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