GFM Network News


Dylan and Colleen Biggs, along with their daughters Jocelyn (far left), Maria (centre), and Hanna (right), have carried on the family legacy of wetland conservation on TK Ranch.

Wetland conservation a ‘win-win’ in dry ranching country

Wetland conservation has changed a lot since TK Ranch began partnering with Ducks Unlimited in 1957

Making a living off the land in Special Areas No. 2 has never been an easy prospect. During the Dirty ’30s, farmers in this little pocket of southeast Alberta were among the hardest hit in the province. And in a dry year, the area isn’t much better off today. There’s very little topsoil, very little […] Read more

Grants preserve grasslands and wildlife habitats

Provincial funding funds conservation easements to protect 13,000 acres from development

The Alberta Land Trust Grant Program is giving more than $7 million to support 24 different projects that will conserve 13,000 acres of private land containing watersheds, grasslands and wildlife habitats. The grants will support projects by the Alberta Conservation Association, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Legacy Land Trust Society, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the […] Read more



One-stop shop for eco-services programs

Looking for an ecosystem services program that fits your operation? Alberta Beef Producers has created a seven-page fact sheet of several dozen programs. These include programs focused on conservation; wetland protection and management; and offsets. The fact sheet also breaks out several programs from Ducks Unlimited Canada, projects funded under Growing Forward 2, and Alternative […] Read more


Ducks Unlimited Canada conservation specialist Bryon Wolters points out the benefits of conservation easements to provincial policy specialist Warren Robb (right) and farmer Shawn Jacula (centre) at a real estate workshop this fall.

This ain’t your grandad’s conservation easement

Easements are changing with the times, making it less restrictive for producers to protect their wetlands

Producers can find the right buyers for their marginal lands — if they know where to look. “There is a market out there now for some of these parcels of land that producers might have a hard time off-loading because they’re wet,” said Warren Robb, provincial policy specialist at Ducks Unlimited Canada. And his organization […] Read more

Don Ruzicka, shown here in an eco-buffer, has planted 100,000 trees and shrubs on his farm.

‘Eco-buffer’ boosts pasture productivity for Alberta producer

Letting nature do its job got Don Ruzicka off a treadmill of 
clearing trees, draining wetlands, and poor returns

Some people look for signs — other people just find them. For producer Don Ruzicka of Killam, the motivation behind the past three decades of land management on his farm was quite literally a sign. Before he purchased his grandparents’ farm in 1983, Ruzicka worked in the logging industry. “The first day I flew into […] Read more



Barry and Charmaine Ronsko have restored wetlands on one quarter and purchased 
two others under another restoration program.

Making it better when it is wetter — and when it’s dry, too

Ducks Unlimited has two wetlands restoration programs drawing on $31 million in provincial funding

Whether floods in 2013 or drought this year, extreme weather has taken its toll on producers throughout Alberta in recent years. The good news is Mother Nature can help with that. And the provincial government is also chipping in, with $31 million in funding over three years to encourage farmers and other rural landowners to […] Read more



Tile drainage, long common in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, is now attracting more attention in Alberta.

Both pros and cons to tile drainage

Being able to remove excess moisture is a big plus, but there are a lot of factors to take into account

It wasn’t long ago that if you asked most Alberta producers if they used tile drainage, they likely wouldn’t know what you were talking about. A common practice in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, it’s only in recent years that Alberta growers have warmed to this system in which subsurface tubes remove excess moisture from […] Read more