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Naturalization

image of vetch and blue flax
Native vegetation such as vetch, blue flax and a variety of grasses grow in Calgary.

Naturalization is the process of transforming an open space, such as a lawn, into one that reflects the naturally-occurring landscape of the region. It involves the purposeful reintroduction of native species to an area to enhance the natural environment. Naturalization supports biodiversity conservation, which makes a positive contribution to our economy and quality of life.

Why is The City doing naturalization?

Naturalization will increase the diversity of landscapes within our parks and green spaces. This will help control weeds, pests, and diseases; and also create sustainable landscapes that help support plant, animal and insect life (biodiversity). Because Naturalized areas are well-suited to Calgary’s climate they will likely reduce long-term maintenance costs associated with fertilizing, applying pesticides and irrigating.

As outlined in Calgary’s 10-yearbiodiversity strategic plan, we aim to restore twenty per cent of Calgary’s open space by 2025. Naturalization is one of several tools we are using to achieve this target.

image of cinquefoil and blue flax
Shrubby cinquefoil and blue flax are native wildflowers being planted as part of the Naturalization initiative.

Naturalization sites

Work at each Naturalization site is a multi-year commitment; exact timelines will vary depending on site specific requirements. Each site undergoes a phased approach involving several steps to naturalization. Steps include site analysis, initial discussions, concept planning, detailed planning, implementation, maintenance and monitoring. The implementation step is comprised of weed control to prepare the site for new plantings, planting of new vegetation, securing the site to encourage growth, and monitoring the new plants as they become established.

We ask for your patience and help with protecting these sensitive areas by respecting local area closures.

For more information about this initiative; including the process involved in Naturalizing a site, review the Naturalization Guidelines  or to see the highlights, review the Naturalization Summary handout.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Naturalization FAQ