Most of Edmonton’s natural lands lie within its extensive river valley and tributary ravine systems – an area of 7,400 ha and 48 km in length, including 22 ravines, for a combined total length of 103 km. Much of the area is either under private ownership or targeted by City Parks for recreational infrastructure. Golf courses, gravel quarries, a velodrome and other sports facilities, freeways, boat launches… have all been proposed over the past decades for what is often “free land” to the City.
The Sierra Club Canada Foundation has been working to develop a network of community leaders protecting the integrity of Prairie ecosystems. Several volunteer groups, such as the Edmonton group, focus on local issues important to their communities and act as proactive advocates for the environment.
To get involved in the Prairie region, contact the national office at (613) 241-4611 or email@example.com.
The Edmonton Group has traditionally focused on parkland creation and conservation. These are usually multi-year projects; our favorite, going on fifteen, is the Sand Dunes Natural Area (our name - bureaucratically known as NW384) in the far southwest of Edmonton.
We identified the feature in 2001, characterized its pro-glacial origins, and with the support of the Curator of Geology from our Provincial Museum, induced the City to purchase the lands the following year. The dunes lie on the easternmost extent of the 200 sq km glacio-lacustrine Devon Dune Field to the west of Edmonton.
On August 31st, 2010, a study which was led by University of Alberta researchers was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which conclusively shows that numerous highly toxic pollutants are being released into the Athabasca River and its tributaries by the development of the oil sands.
The levels exceeded both federal and provincial government guidelines.
The report is available for download here.