Municipal Conservation Easement Program

 

Municipal Conservation Easement Program

A Guide to help municipalities create a conservation easement program

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities help landowners conserve their land for the future by using a conservation easement?

The Project

Flagstaff County in east-central Alberta has been working towards better protecting the valuable landscapes within its communities. After being approached by a local landowner about granting a conservation easement to the County, Flagstaff approached Miistakis about helping them establish a Conservation Easement program (municipalities are ‘qualified organizations’ under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, eligible to hold conservation easements).

Working with the County’s Agricultural Service Board, Miistakis helped them draft a conservation easement bylaw, and tailor the policy to their draft Municipal Development Plan.

Once the decision was made to go ahead with implementation, Miistakis worked with the County to identify the conservation goals, and specific administrative needs. Miistakis then developed several implementation resources including a program procedures manual, a conservation easement template, a Baseline Documentation Report manual and template, a monitoring template, and several other templates and resources.

Flagstaff County is now moving ahead to negotiate conservation easements with interested ratepayers in their community.


Flagstaff County Conservation Easement Program: Procedures Manual

Flagstaff County Conservation Easement Program: Conservation Easement Checklists

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

Completed in

2017

Supporters

Flagstaff County

Transfer of Development Credits

 

Transfer of Development Credits

A tool to help communities deal with rapid conversion of their valued landscapes, while simultaneously promoting appropriate landscape development

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities deal with the rapid conversion of their valued landscapes, while simultaneously promoting appropriate landscape development?

The Project

The Transfer of Development Credits (TDC) tool is designed to help communities deal with the rapid conversion of their valued landscapes, while simultaneously promoting appropriate landscape development. The tool allows for the transfer of development potential from areas less suited to development (based on a community desire to see its character and function maintained), to areas more suited to increased development (based on their capacity to accept greater development activity).

The TDC website was developed as a resource for Alberta communities, to assist them in better understanding what a TDC program is, and how it can be used to conserve valued landscapes.


A Practical Guide to Transfer of Development Credits (TDCs) in Alberta

 

Organization

This project was undertaken by

Miistakis Institute

Status

Completed in

2013

Supporters

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Anonymous Donor

Call of the Wetland

 

Call of the Wetland

A citizen science amphibian monitoring project to understand the health of Calgary’s wetlands and to engage Calgarians in urban wildlife and wetland awareness

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities learn about their urban wetlands’ health while engaging residents in wetland awareness?

The Project

To better understand the health of Calgary’s wetlands, Miistakis Institute, Enbridge, Parks Foundation Calgary, Alberta Conservation Association and the Calgary Zoo developed “Call of the Wetland”, a citizen science program that enabled the public to monitor amphibians as an important indicator of wetland health. There were 6 amphibian species that have historically been found in Calgary, however, prior to Call of the Wetland, it was unknown which still persist in our urban environment.

Call of the Wetland engaged Calgarians in understanding the health of wetlands through monitoring of amphibians and enabling a connection to nature in the City. The long term outcome of Call of the Wetland is to build off of the knowledge gained on amphibian presence to understand the health of wetlands within the City of Calgary, as well as to continue to foster a community of knowledgeable citizens to champion wetland protection and restoration.


Call of the Wetland Story Map

Call of the Wetland Participant Update: Program Reporting

Call of the Wetland Website

Amphibians at Risk: An analysis of wetland habitat and corridors needed to secure amphibian populations in Calgary

Amphibians At Risk In Calgary: Infographic

Organization

This project was undertaken by

Miistakis Institute

City of Calgary

Calgary Zoo

Alberta Conservation Association

Status

Completed in

2020

Supporters

Enbridge

Parks Foundation Calgary

The Calgary Foundation

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

Alberta Innovates

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

Bow River Basin Council

Mount Royal University

Mount Royal University, Institute of Environmental Sustainability

STAR EcoWorks

World Wildlife Fund Canada

Urban Wildlife Monitoring

 

Urban Wildlife Monitoring

A citizen science monitoring project to understand how wildlife responds to the urban environment, and to engage Calgarians in urban wildlife awareness

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities learn about their urban wildlife populations while engaging residents in wildlife awareness?

The Project

Calgary Captured is a multi-year urban wildlife monitoring program that was launched in 2017 focused on medium to large mammals. Through citizen science, the program involved Calgarians in biodiversity monitoring through the classification of camera-trap images to species. The objectives of the program are to build a dataset of species presence in Calgary, engage Calgarians in urban wildlife awareness, and to improve our understanding of how wildlife responds to the urban environment.


Calgary Captured Year One Analysis: Technical Report

Calgary Captured Year Results

Calgary Captured Year One Results: Maps

I’m A Calgarian


(example of one of six wildlife awareness cards produced)

Calgary Captured Information Card


(example of one of five Calgary Captured awareness cards produced)

City of Calgary: Wildlife Camera Monitoring

 

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The City of Calgary

The Miistakis Institute

Alberta Environment and Parks

Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society

Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society

Status

Began in 2017 and is

On-going

Supporters

The Calgary Foundation

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

Working with Nature

 

Working with Nature

Harnessing the power of natural infrastructure to increase municipalities’ flood and drought resiliency

The Issue / Idea

Every municipality has “natural infrastructure,” but what is it, where is it, and how does it relate to flood and drought risk?

The Project

The Working With Nature toolkit was created to help municipalities catalogue their natural infrastructure, and then develop a prioritized plan for better using it to mitigate flood and drought risk. A Primer document was developed to provide a starting point for municipalities to understand the type of information, data, and programs available to inform and support flood and drought mitigation planning.

This free toolkit provides the materials and directions for a municipality to self-navigate through workshops, worksheets, and ultimately a living Workbook. In the process, a municipality will address Goals and Principles, Risks and Hazards, Natural Infrastructure, Actions, and Policy Development.


Working with Nature Toolkit Website

Working with Nature Webinar Slide Deck

Municipal Flood and Drought Action Planning Primer

Adapting to Flooding: An Adapt-action Summary Report

Adapting to Water Scarcity: An Adapt-action Summary Report

 

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

Project was completed in

2019

Supporters

Government of Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program

Town of Cochrane

Urban Wetland Connectivity

 

Urban Wetland Connectivity

A project to help maintain amphibian diversity and increase amphibian abundance in the urban environment

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities support urban amphibian populations?

The Project

The goal of this project was to provide information to The City of Calgary to help maintain amphibian diversity and increase amphibian abundance in the urban environment. Three amphibian species, wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus), boreal chorus frog (Pseudacris maculata) and tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) currently make Calgary their home. Key concerns for amphibians in Calgary are the impacts of wetland loss, wetland degradation, and fragmentation of the wetland network. We sought to understand which wetlands support amphibians and where amphibians are moving between wetlands in Calgary.

The modelling products include habitat suitability indices, connectivity models, and centrality and barrier maps designed to inform planning, management and restoration of the wetland network to support amphibians in Calgary. For this project, natural wetlands, modified wetlands and stormwater ponds were all included in modelling and are referred to in this report generically as wetlands.


Amphibians at Risk: An analysis of wetland habitat and corridors needed to secure amphibian populations in Calgary

Amphibians At Risk In Calgary: Infographic

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

The City of Calgary

The Calgary Zoo

The University of Saskatchewan

Status

Completed in

July 2020

Supporters

Alberta Innovates

Municipal EcoToolkit: Tools for Maintaining your Natural Systems

 

Municipal EcoToolkit: Tools for Maintaining your Natural Systems

A resource for Alberta municipalities seeking to maintain their natural infrastructure systems

The Issue / Idea

How can a municipality maintain their natural infrastructure?

The Project

The Municipal EcoToolkit was created by the Miistakis Institute as a resource for Alberta municipalities seeking to maintain their natural infrastructure systems. It is not intended to be a prescriptive statement on what must be done. It is intended to help generate awareness, creativity, collaboration, and questions, and assist those people doing the challenging work of maintaining our natural systems.

To make this toolkit, we focused in such things as law/bylaws, policy directives, inventories or datasets, protective designations, maps, management constraints, proactive strategies, staff positions, guidelines, legal designations, education/communication resources, workshops, case studies, financial analyses, technologies, restorative actions, etc., etc. ..!


Municipal EcoToolkit Website

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

This research  was completed in

2020

Supporters

Alberta Innovates

Environmental Law Centre

Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership

Informing Urban Ecosystem Management

 

Informing Urban Ecosystem Management

A literature review and case studies to inform urban ecosystem management, prepared for the City of Calgary, Urban Conservation

The Issue / Idea

How are cities using an urban ecosystem management approach?

The Project

The goal of this research is to support the revision of the City of Calgary’s Natural
Areas Management Plan (NAMP) with findings from relevant literature and case studies, based on the evolving nature of urban ecosystem management. Because the mandate of the Urban Conservation portfolio is city-wide, this research is also intended to support the development of an urban ecosystem management approach for the City of Calgary.

The authors identified two key goals and associated research objectives:

  1. Ensuring a scientific rationale exists to support an ‘urban ecosystem management’ approach for the City of Calgary; and
  2. Ensuring a basis exists for translating ecological management principles into asset management approaches.

For both, the research approach included reviews of peer-reviewed and grey literature, relevant case studies, analogous jurisdictions, and relevant organizations and resources. There was no intent at this stage to deeply analyze the research nor provide management recommendations.


Informing Urban Ecosystem Management: Literature Review and Case Studies

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

This research  was completed in

December 2016

Supporters

City of Calgary

Ecological Values Mapping

 

Ecological Values Mapping

Providing a visual representation of a municipality’s collective community and conservation values

The Issue / Idea

How does a community accurately map and communicate its most important values?

The Project

In 2007, concerned over mounting development pressure and threats to the landscape and traditional lifestyle of the region, the MD Ranchland approached the Miistakis Institute to help them identify community and conservation values that are important to the MD, and then to map these values as accurately as possible.

Through an open and inclusive process, Miistakis worked with the MD staff, council and residents to identify these values and then express them in a spatial/GIS context. The same methodology could easily be applied to different municipalities, and would be expected to result in the identification of different values.


MD Ranchland – Community & Conservation Values Mapping Project – Phase III Report

One Pager and Previous Phases


Community and Conservation Values Mapping
Phase I: Municipal District of Ranchland Data Scoping Project – Summary of Findings
Phase II: Municipal District of Ranchland Data Scoping Project – Summary of Findings

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

Phase I – data scoping completed in 2007; phase II – mapping tool and user guide completed in 2009; Phase III – enhanced mapping and communication support report completed in 2011

2011

Supporters

Municipal District of Ranchland

Alberta Municipal Affairs’ Municipal Sustainability Program

Bear Hazard Assessments for Alberta Municipalities

 

Bear Hazard Assessments for Alberta Municipalities

A series of assessments to determine the sources of human-bear conflict in specific Alberta communities.

The Issue / Idea

Can municipalities better plan for reducing conflict with bears by assessing their attractants and hazards?

The Project

As the urban and rural footprint and associated human activity in Alberta continues to increase so does the potential for human-bear interactions and conflicts. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD) has developed the Alberta Bear-Smart Program (ABSP) as a province-wide initiative with the goal of reducing human-bear conflicts. The potential benefits of a successfully implemented ABSP include increased human safety, reduced bear mortalities and relocations and enhanced habitat security for bears.

The Bear Smart Program is a community driven process that is usually initiated with the development of a bear hazard assessment for the region of concern. A bear hazard report identifies historical and existing locations and practices that have led to human bear conflicts. These report identify gaps in the existing knowledge base in relation to bear-human conflicts and provides recommendations for reducing existing and potential conflict in the region of interest.

Three separate Bear Hazard Assessments were completed: Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass (2006), Fort McMurray Urban Service Area (2008), and the Smoky Region of Alberta (2011).


Smoky Region

Fort McMurry

Crowsnest Pass

Organization

These assessments were undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

These assessments were conducted in

2006, 2008, and 2011

Supporters

Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Fish and Wildlife Division