From Farmland to Wetland
Thirty years ago the site where the Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation now resides was a marginally productive farm field. The site, which was once a natural prairie wetland, had been drained so the land could be transformed for agricultural production.
Due to its low elevation and periodic flooding, the site was redesignated to serve as a regional stormwater retention site. Instead of constructing single-purpose rectangular holding ponds, Foundation volunteers worked with the Town of Coaldale and Alberta Environment to pursue a novel solution by creating a stormwater retention site that would:
reclaim native wetland habitat and
provide land that would house a wildlife rescue and education facility while also acting as a regional tourist attraction
To ensure the reclaimed wetland was sustained through periods of drought, the St. Mary’s River Irrigation District agreed to provide water through its distribution system.
Other partners joining the project included the City of Lethbridge, County of Lethbridge, Alberta Tourism, Alberta Fish & Wildlife Division, Ducks Unlimited, as well as local fish and game clubs and many volunteers.
The wetland has flourished in the last thirty years since its reclamation. Throughout the year, the site is teeming with wildlife including shore birds, waterfowl, reptiles, muskrats, deer and more!