Rockland Bay conserved by the Nature Conservancy of Canada with the support
of the Government of Canada and TransCanada Corporation

BASHAW, AB, July 21 /CNW/ - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) joins with Kevin Sorenson, MP for Crowfoot, on behalf of the Minister of Environment, the Honourable Jim Prentice and Garnet Scaman, Vice President, Canadian Pipeline Operations, TransCanada to celebrate NCC's recent conservation success in the Red Deer River Area. The Rockland Bay property is a 150-acre (60-hectare) critical conservation link near Buffalo Lake and was completed under the Government of Canada's $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program and the support of TransCanada.

Buffalo Lake is an internationally designated Environmentally Significant Area and one of the most productive shorebird staging habitats in Alberta. The lake area supports a colony of Great Blue Heron, local and uncommon birds including Forster's Tern, Virginia Rail, and Yellow Rail, and is an important fishery for the rearing, spawning and overwintering lake for Northern Pike and Burbot.

NCC's Rockland Bay property is situated 200 metres northeast of an outlet called Rockland Bay - which is historically a significant nesting site for the endangered Piping Plover. The Rockland Bay property is a diversified landscape of upland and wetland areas that favours an abundance of wildlife including Mule Deer, Coyote, Moose, and a variety of birds such as the Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, and the Lesser Scaup.

NCC works with a number of partner organizations, and together, they have protected more than 1,100 acres of aspen parkland habitat near Buffalo Lake. The Rockland Bay property is an important piece of these conservation efforts as it is surrounded by other lands conserved for the benefit of wildlife.

The Red Deer River Natural Area is one of Alberta's largest remaining areas of native parkland and supports viable populations of native species including the endangered Piping Plover. Its highly productive wetlands, clean rivers and streams, and associated habitats are critical for globally significant concentrations of migratory birds. The Red Deer River Natural Area contains the Rumsey Ecological Reserve and Rumsey Natural Area, which constitute the largest block of non-sandy aspen parkland remaining in the world.

QUOTES

"Rockland Bay represents an important addition to NCC's broader land conservation strategy for the Red Deer River Natural Area which we are working towards with the support of the Government of Canada and TransCanada," explains NCC Alberta's Regional Vice President Bob Demulder. "Rockland Bay is only 1.6 km north of Buffalo Lake and along an international migratory bird flyway. The property's wetland and parkland habitat supports and sustains numerous waterfowl and woodland bird species, as well as other terrestrial and wetland biota. Witnessing the variety of birds and animals at Rockland Bay, you can truly understand why conservation of critical areas such as this is so vital and worthy of celebration."

"This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations," said Minister Prentice. "Your actions, large or small, will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of our natural heritage."

"TransCanada is proud to join the Nature Conservancy of Canada's work to advance the long-term conservation and stewardship of healthy native parkland in the Red Deer River Natural Area," said Garnet Scaman, Vice-president, Canadian Pipeline Operations, TransCanada. "Environmental stewardship is integral to all aspects of our business and TransCanada believes we have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations."

FACTS

    
    -   Rockland Bay property is 158 acres in size, including 31 acres of
        wetlands and adds to the 1,100 acres of land conserved in the Buffalo
        Lake area with conservation partners like Ducks Unlimited Canada
        (DUC), Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) and Alberta Fish and
        Game Association (AFGA).
    -   This newly protected property provides a vital link to larger
        landscapes, creating a network of protected areas that give species
        the room to move, survive and thrive, especially in the face of
        climate change.
    -   Since its inception in 2007 the Government of Canada's Natural Areas
        Conservation Program has helped NCC to conserve more than
        342,500 acres (138,600 hectares), protecting habitat for more than
        79 species at risk.
    -   In 2009, TransCanada made a milestone investment of $2.4 million from
        TransCanada to support the Nature Conservancy of Canada's work. This
        is TransCanada's largest community investment to-date. It will
        leverage as much as $9 million in funding to conserve the most
        critical areas of biodiversity in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Five
        million will be invested directly in the Red Deer River Natural Area.
        This contribution represents the sole private sector investment in
        the Red Deer River Natural Area.
    

LEARN MORE

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading private land conservation organization, working to protect our valuable natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain.

Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2 million acres (800,000 hectares), coast to coast. By investing in conservation we are ensuring that our natural world remains a home for wildlife, a haven for recreation and a vital resource that cleans the air we breathe and the water we drink. Through strong partnerships NCC works to safeguard our natural areas so that our children and grandchildren will have the chance to enjoy them.

For more information:

www.natureconservancy.ca

About TransCanada

With more than 50 years' experience, TransCanada is a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure including natural gas and oil pipelines, power generation and gas storage facilities. TransCanada's network of wholly owned natural gas pipelines extends more than 60,000 kilometres (37,000 miles), tapping into virtually all major gas supply basins in North America. TransCanada is one of the continent's largest providers of gas storage and related services with approximately 380 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. A growing independent power producer, TransCanada owns, or has interests in, over 11,700 megawatts of power generation in Canada and the United States. TransCanada is developing one of North America's largest oil delivery systems. TransCanada's common shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol TRP. For more information visit: www.transcanada.com

The NCC-Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225 million investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands. This ensures the conservation of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat. In order to use the funding available, these organizations will provide matching funds for each federal dollar received.

SOURCE Nature Conservancy of Canada

For further information: For further information: Kara Tersen, Director, Development & Communications - Alberta Region, Nature Conservancy of Canada, 403-613-0262, kara.tersen@natureconservancy.ca

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