353 ha of natural area restored

Needs Improvement

Needs Improvement

Calgary is not currently on track on its trajectory to restore 832 ha of Calgary’s open space by 2025. The recently approved 2023-2026 service plans and budgets include additional funding to bring Calgary much closer to its target. 

Conserving and restoring Calgary’s natural areas is vital for maintaining healthy thriving natural ecosystems. These areas function in several ways to protect Calgarians from the impacts of climate change:

  • Capture carbon.
  • Protect and enhance biodiversity.
  • Manage stormwater (rain and snow melt) and river flooding. 
  • Provide shading and cooling to reduce the urban heat island effect.

While 353 ha (approximately 250 soccer fields) of natural area has been restored in Calgary, at current restoration levels, we have a remaining 479 ha (approximately 340 soccer fields) to be restored to meet our target. 

Additional restoration funding was approved for the 2023-2026 service plans and budgets, which supports the effort to meet the target.​

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We’re staying focused 

The City has restored 353 ha, or eight per cent of Calgary’s total open space, between 2015 and 2023.  This means that an additional 479 ha must be restored for The City to meet its target of 20 per cent of Calgary’s open space, which is equivalent to 832 ha.

Cross-country skiers enjoying winter at Weaselhead Park
Cross-country skiers enjoying winter at Weaselhead Park

It’s better to conserve and restore than to replace 

In 2020, The City undertook a research project to better understand the total dollar value of the ecosystem services that are provided by our natural assets. These assets include parks, trees, wetlands, rivers, and grasslands. 

In total, Calgary’s natural assets provide $2.5B in ecosystem services. To replace them, it would cost $6.9 billion. It is far more economical to take a conservation and restoration approach with the existing natural areas rather than replacing them in the future.  

These values do not reflect a price on nature, but they do demonstrate the incredible value of Calgary’s natural areas. We can also use these results to advocate for funding to continue the restoration effort. 

The City’s approach to valuing natural assets has won multiple awards and has firmly placed The City of Calgary at the forefront of this work in Canada. 

Plans and strategies

Fulfilling the 2023-2026 Climate Implementation Plan

Focus Area: Natural Infrastructure

Supporting Calgary’s Climate Strategy 

Theme: Natural Infrastructure