The dog days of summer are the perfect time to think about critters. While Calgary is home to 1.2 million humans, we rarely think about the countless other species of flora and fauna that far outnumber us.
“Biodiversity” is the term we use to describe the variety and richness of living organisms and habitats. With 80% of Canadians now living in urban areas, reasonable protection of bio-diversity is becoming increasingly important for municipal governments to ensure that we maintain a healthy ecology.
Last year, Calgary City Council approved Our Biodiversity, Calgary’s 10-year biodiversity strategic plan. The plan is based on principles for the protection, development, and management of Calgary parks and ecosystems in support of biodiversity.
Biodiversity project goals:
1. Evaluate landscapes in Calgary and set targets for conservation measures to identify, protect, and manage ecological cores and corridors;
2. Restore 20 per cent of Calgary’s current open space to increase biodiversity;
3. Identify and manage invasive species in Calgary’s open space.
The City will implement the plan through a variety of initiatives. This summer, Calgary Parks launched a pilot project using a herd of goats to manage invasive plant species in Confluence Park. This creative approach to weed control not only reduced the need for pesticides, but also improved the health of native ecosystems by reducing overgrowth and encouraging the growth of non-invasive plants.
The City is also working to turn back the progress that invasive species have made over the years. Efforts to combat smooth brome, a highly competitive grass that smothers native species, and Canada thistle are underway. We are also re-introducing native species into our parks and landscaping projects. Native species are naturally suited to the local climate and require less care over time.
For Calgarians interested in enhancing biodiversity closer to home, the City has numerous resources to help enhance biodiversity in your own yard. A good place to start is www.calgary.ca/yardsmart. There, you can find tips on how to transform your garden into an inviting landscape that will inspire both your neighbours and wildlife.
To learn more about this and other topics, visit www.druhfarrell.ca. To sign up for updates on key issues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.