News Articles Two

County, NCC Partner For Conservation

meyers300Flagstaff County and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) are proud to announce a partnership dedicated towards conserving the Meyers property, an ecologically significant piece of land along the Battle River.

This project is of particular importance as it represents the first time NCC and Flagstaff County have partnered to conserve a property owned by the municipality.

“The Meyers property is a unique natural landscape that we felt should be protected from development,” says Flagstaff County’s Reeve Gerald Kuefler. “Council sought alternatives for how we could protect it. Through our research, we determined that that Nature Conservancy of Canada would be the best option.”

The Meyers property is 169 acres (68 hectares) located on the banks of the Battle River, which is a tributary of the North Saskatchewan River that runs through central Alberta and western Saskatchewan. The lands surrounding the river make up the Battle River watershed.

The Battle River is a prairie-fed river instead of a glacier-fed river; it depends on local rainfall for its water supply, making the lands that surround it critical to its survival. The watershed—or basin—is an important geographical feature, as snow and rain that falls on the surrounding lands all drain into the river.

The preservation of vegetation in riverside areas, called riparian zones, is important because it stabilizes the riverbanks and prevents erosion, decreases the impact of flooding, and filters out sediments and pollutants. It also provides habitat for native fish, birds, mammals, and insects. A few significant fish species found in the Battle River include northern pike, walleye, mooneye, and goldeye.

Water from the Battle River is used by downstream communities every day for domestic, industrial, and agricultural purposes.

The Meyers property was purchased by Flagstaff County in April 2012. Due to its location alongside the river and the lack of human impact on the land, the county recognized the need for conservation of the property and approached NCC, Canada’s leading land trust organization, about placing a conservation easement on it.

A conservation easement is a solution for landowners who still want to retain ownership of their property, but are invested in long-term conservation. An easement is the legal transfer of select development rights to a land trust organization. It is a legally binding contract recognized by both provincial and federal law, and the easement remains in place even if ownership of the land changes in the future.

Bob Demulder, NCC’s regional vice president, said “the Meyers property is excellent natural habitat containing a mosaic of grasslands, badlands, and woodlands. Partnering with Flagstaff County is a unique opportunity, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada is pleased to be a part of this exciting conservation project.

Heading forward, Flagstaff County will continue to manage the land. Reeve Kuefler says the plan is to maintain the property’s uniqueness by keeping it in its natural state. NCC will visit the property annually to ensure the terms of the easement are being upheld, and together, NCC and Flagstaff County will work together for the long-term conservation of the Meyers property.

Photos of the property available here (photo credit to NCC).


-The Meyers property, combined with an adjacent 1,200-acre (486-hectare) easement also held by NCC, creates several miles of conserved riparian lands along the river valley of the Battle River.

-This conservation project was made possible with the support of Flagstaff County towards both the securement of the easement and the stewardship of the property.

-Further support for this project came from North American Wetlands Conservation Act, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Repsol Canada.


About the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation’s leading private, not-for-profit land conservation organization, protecting vital natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped protect more than 2.8 million acres (1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. In Alberta, we have conserved over 234,000 acres (94,700 hectares) of this province’s most ecologically significant land and water.

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About Flagstaff County

Flagstaff County is known as the “Community of Communities.” Ten communities located within create a region that boasts an affordable cost of living, numerous recreational opportunities, friendly people and a quiet rural lifestyle.

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For more information contact

Carys Richards
Communication Coordinator, Alberta Region
Nature Conservancy of Canada
Tel. 403 515-6861

Cary Castagna
Communication Coordinator
Flagstaff County
Tel. 780 384-4134

Ancient Bison Bone Found


bisonfrtpgwArchaeologists have unearthed what is believed to be an ancient bison bone from a historically significant area of Flagstaff County.

The discovery was made in a three-metre-deep trench dug up with an excavator Aug. 27 during excavation efforts near one of the County’s gravel pits.

“It’s more than likely a species of bison,” says Madeline Coleman, an archaeologist with Edmonton-based Tree Time Services Inc.

The lone bone, thought to be a portion of an adult bison’s radius, will be compared to ancient bison bones stored in a collection at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and is expected to undergo testing, “possibly carbon-dating,” adds Coleman.

Until then, its age won’t be certain. Theoretically, the bone could be anywhere from 300 to 13,000 years old.

“Human occupation in Alberta started around 11,000 B.C.,” Coleman explains. “As glaciers moved out of the province, people started moving in.”

Flagstaff County has agreed not to publicize the location of the bone find in order to discourage members of the public from conducting their own archaeological digs at the site. Under the Historical Resources Act, artifacts and other historic resources are property of the Crown, and citizens are prohibited from digging and collecting them without a permit.

The site is adjacent to one of the seven gravel pits that the County currently leases and manages. This particular pit was earmarked for expansion. But after it was discovered that the land fell within a “significant historical site” as recorded by the provincial government, the County notified Alberta Culture and Tourism as required under the Historical Resources Act.

Coleman and a fellow archaeologist with Tree Time Services, Elenore Hood, worked for four days at the site, conducting shovel tests, surface inspections and combing through soil excavated from three-metre test pits as part of their initial assessment.  

 Elenore Hood displays a lithic flake found near a Flagstaff County gravel pit.  

No other bones were found, but Coleman and Hood did collect and catalogue over 50 lithic flakes and three cores they found in other tests around the site. A lithic flake is a portion of rock that was removed from a cobble core in the fashioning of prehistoric weapons, such as arrowheads, and other tools.

There is no way to gauge the exact age of a lithic flake. All Coleman can say for certain is that the flakes are from a period of time prior to the 18th century when Europeans settled in the area.

The archaeologists are now completing an interim report to Alberta Culture and Tourism containing recommendations for further evaluation.

“We would like to do more testing just to see if anything else pops up, but that will depend on Alberta Culture,” Coleman adds.

“What we’d like to see is the area plowed because everything we’re finding is in the plow zone.”

The plow zone, she explains, is the top layer of the soil to the depth at which a plow will penetrate and disturb archeological deposits. She estimates the plow zone in this case is about 30 to 40 cm deep.

The area of interest is roughly 4.5 hectares, according to Coleman.

Within 10 km of the area, the provincial government has recorded 112 other historically significant sites that includes everything from isolated finds, such as ancient projectile points, and large prehistoric campsites to farmsteads, ranches and other historic structures dating back to the 19th century.

In the area, there are also a number of bison kill sites, where indigenous populations drove herds of bison off river margins and other topographical high points. It wasn’t the fall that would prove fatal, Coleman notes, but the impact of the bison falling on one another.

The Tree Time Services archaeologists expected to file their interim report with Alberta Culture and Tourism this week.

“We’re hoping to have an answer within two weeks,” Coleman notes.

As mandated by Alberta Culture and Tourism, the County has also contracted paleontologists to examine the area in the coming days.

To report an archaeological find made anywhere in Alberta, click HERE.

Image of the adult bison radius supplied by Tree Time Services Inc.