This week, Calgary City Council will decide whether to approve a new neighbourhood called Logan Landing at the southern edge of Calgary in an area known as Ricardo Ranch. The development is located in one of the last remaining intact wetlands along the Bow River in Calgary, crucial for supporting biodiversity and mitigating the effects of climate change.
This important area must be protected from development.
Ricardo Ranch is unique because of the convergence of ecosystems in one place and the varied plant and animal species that rely on these ecosystems to survive. It includes river forests bordered by wetlands fed from the Bow River and natural springs from the slope above. The springs are surrounded by remnants of what is now endangered native prairie grassland.
An ecological study completed for Ricardo Ranch found the grasslands and wetlands within the area support multiple wildlife and plant species. Take a walk through this area on a beautiful spring day and you are likely to see activity around Calgary’s last nesting site for great blue herons, a diversity of songbirds that nest in the grasslands and riverbanks, and if you stick around into the evenings, a variety of bat and frog species.
Many of the species you will find here are endangered or considered species at risk.
Grassland and wetland habitats can also play crucial roles in mitigating extreme weather events and the effects of climate change by absorbing excess water and releasing it during droughts.
It does not make sense to develop this area in a city where we have declared a climate emergency and passed a Climate Strategy.
City development must be sustainable: Coalition
We appreciate the need for our city to continue growing, but it needs to be done in a sustainable way. There are options to modify the three neighbourhood proposals within the Ricardo Ranch area, including Logan Landing.
These could include protecting environmentally significant areas within the steep slope and valley bottom. There may also be an opportunity for the developers to donate land for a tax credit, or exchange part of these lands with the city or the province for other developable lands.
These are win-win scenarios, protecting sensitive ecosystems while allowing developers to build a vibrant, complete community.
Calgary is a city that values its river valleys and wild spaces The City has signed the International Durban Commitment for Biodiversity, and by doing so acknowledged the City’s “accountability and responsibility for the health and well-being of our communities through protecting, sustainably utilizing and managing biodiversity and recognizing its role as the foundation of our existence.”
This is exactly why we need to reconsider developing the Bow River valley lands within the Ricardo Ranch area as has been proposed. If we don’t do so now, we risk losing forever one of the things that helps define us as Calgarians. With what we know about catastrophic biodiversity loss and climate change, it’s time we take our prior commitments seriously and preserve the valuable ecosystems we have left.
Let’s start with Ricardo Ranch.
Trout Unlimited Canada – Bow River Chapter
Alberta Wilderness Association
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Southern Alberta Chapter
Calgary River Valleys
Calgary Climate Hub
Friends of Confederation Creek
Calgary Urban Species Response Team
Bird Friendly Calgary
Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society