Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation was recently made aware that the Government of Alberta is investigating possible locations for a large-scale dam project to mitigate impacts of flood and drought on the City of Calgary and downstream communities. One location being considered is the east end of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, identified as the Glenbow East Reservoir option.
We understand that protection from flood and drought is an increasing concern for Albertans and know first hand what devastation flooding can bring to the land. However, it appears clear to us that the negative impacts the proposed Glenbow Reservoir option has on the many environmental and social assets of the Park warrant our strong opposition to this option.
Firstly, the impacts on the ecological richness of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park would be great. The significant loss of native fescue grasslands, riparian habitats and aspen tree communities and grazing land would impact the many species who call this Park home. The Limber pine, located in the proposed flooded area, is an endangered pine species that only begin to produce cones after 40 years. Over 100 bee species have been identified in this Park, including the Western and Yellow Banded bumblebees – both species at risk. Mule deer, coyotes, beavers, moose and black bears (to mention a few) find protection and food in the treed areas like the Narrows, which would be flooded if this dam was built.
The Glenbow Reservoir option would also significantly decrease the recreational opportunities in the Park. The trail system in this Park allows visitors to cycle, walk and hike away from the hustle and bustle of nearby town and city life. To see tens of kilometres of pathway impacted is troubling.
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park is also the site of many cultural and historical sites. From teepee rings and buffalo kill sites to former ranches and the Glenbow Townsite and Quarry, this Park is as much special for its cultural value as it is for its ecological value.
It is for all these reasons that we are vigorously opposed to this option. It is important to get out in front of this issue now while it is in the conceptual study phase. In January consultants will deliver a full report detailing selected options to the Province with a decision expected by March on whether or not to proceed to a feasibility study.
When Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park was created by the Harvies, balancing the impacts of being in an urban setting and the ecology and environment of the river valley was a priority. And we believe that balance has been achieved. Flooding the Park upsets that balance in a big way!
We understand there are other more viable alternatives to be presented for consideration by the Government that would eliminate the risks to the fragile grasslands environment seen under the Glenbow Reservoir option.
We urge all of you who love this Park as much as us to make your voices heard at one or all of the upcoming open houses. Together, we can help protect these lands for generations to come.
Please click on the buttons below for a more informative brochure regarding the Bow Basin Water Management Options as well as information about upcoming information sessions.