Set along the course of rivers and hills, the City of Calgary is situated in the midst of the Rocky Mountains and encompasses three different eco-regions: the Foothills Fescue Natural sub-region on the east side, the Foothills Parkland Natural sub-region on the west and the Central Parkland Natural sub-region to the northwest. The City of Calgary has a wide variety of ecological zones due to its varied landscape, ranging from Aspen forest, native prairie grasslands, and fresh water systems, among several others. Furthermore, the city is home to significant aquatic systems including rivers, lakes and wetlands. There are two main river valleys in the city, which provide natural wildlife corridors through the city.
The city is surrounded by an extensive network of open space systems, which create a unique and habitable environmental for many aquatic and terrestrial species. Some of the charismatic wildlife in the area includes; the Coyote and the White tailed deer. Like many cities globally, the unique natural environment of Calgary faces significant threats due to rapid urbanisation. A major threat to Calgary’s natural environment and biodiversity is habitat destruction and fragmentation through agriculture and the oil industry. This has heavily impacted on the city’s native vegetation and ecosystems. Policies for biodiversity conservation, in light of the numerous threats facing the biodiversity of Calgary, the city has embarked on a policy approach to ensure that the biodiversity and ecosystems of the city are adequately conserved. This approach has contributed to formulation of many significant environmental policies including; the Calgary Wetlands Conservation Plan, which provides relevant policies for the management of all wetlands. The city has also been actively involved with water management initiatives, ranging from advocating best practices to community education for over twenty years. As part of its policy approach, the city council has also approved a Municipal Development Plan which includes policies relating to key issues of the City’s development and its links to biodiversity conservation and management to ensure that biodiversity is adequately considered in city development. Focusing on the management of city parks and open space systems, the city’s Open Space Plan has also been instrumental in contributing to biodiversity conservation and has been successful in improving and maintaining the quality of natural ecosystems within the city.
Calgary was one of the pioneer cities of our LAB programme.