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Living Near Wildlife

What is a Wildlife Corridor

A wildlife corridor is an area of habitat, generally native vegetation, connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or infrastructure. Corridors are critical for the maintenance of ecological processes (i.e. allowing for the movement of animals and the continuation of viable populations).

Wildlife corridors are considered functional if:

  • Wildlife populations within the Bow Valley can use those corridors to meet their daily requirements
  • They connect habitat patches
  • They provide genetic connectivity
  • The corridors allow wildlife to use the corridor without being ‘removed’ due to a human-wildlife interaction

Why is a wildlife corridor required for Smith Creek?

The history of the corridor network in the Bow Valley dates back to 1992 when the NRCB approved residential development, supporting local and tourist oriented development. The approval for any development was balanced with conditions designed to protect wildlife. A condition of approval for the NRCB decision states: “Three Sisters shall incorporate into its detailed design, provision for wildlife movement corridors in as undeveloped a state as possible, and prepare a wildlife aversive conditioning plan, both satisfactory to Alberta Forestry, Lands and Wildlife”.

The NRCB decision (1992) requires the following corridor attributes, and these are the only criteria identified by the NRCB for application to wildlife corridors associated with TSMV:

  • Corridor designation should occur at a regional scale and there must be linkages between corridors on private and provincial lands;
  • Primary wildlife corridors should not be narrower than 350 metres, except under unusual circumstances;
  • Width and location of corridors should be reviewed with all wildlife species expected to use them in mind;
  • Roads, pathways and utility lines should be bundled to minimize corridor fragmentation;
  • Corridors should correspond with known movement routes of wildlife; and
  • Wildlife corridors should be legally designated by the Province of Alberta.

Approval Process

Wildlife Corridors fall within the Province of Alberta’s sole jurisdiction whereas development, generally falls within the jurisdiction of the Town of Canmore. The Province as the authority to evaluate and approve corridors within TSMV has outlined an application process.  This dictates the process through which the Smith Creek Along Valley and the optional realignment of the Stewart Creek Across Valley corridor will be evaluated.

The Smith Creek corridor proposal included input from a community advisory group, the Province of Alberta, Canmore stakeholders, and several experienced biologists and other specialists, while taking into account physical or topological constraints and the requirements of the 1992 NRCB decision. Specifically:

  • The community in Canmore was engaged to provide input into the design of the Smith Creek ASP, including helping to define the wildlife corridor boundaries.
  • QuantumPlace Developments (QPD) worked with stakeholders to develop a wildlife corridor design that balances wildlife needs with other factors including:
    • The needs of the community
    • The long term objectives and servicing requirements of the Town
    • The needs of wildlife for movement as per the NRCB decision
    • The requirement to have an economically feasible development in TSMV

The final width, length and position of the corridor was determined by TSMV, with consideration to public feedback and in consultation with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), the Town of Canmore, and other specialists and biologists.

Approval of the Smith Creek wildlife corridor would satisfy TSMV’s obligations with respect to wildlife corridors under the 1992 NRCB decision.

Please Note

Please note that in addition to the wildlife corridor report, both the Resort Centre and Smith Creek have had Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) completed. The Environmental Impact Statements for both areas will be released in tandem with the 3rd Party Review of the Environmental Impact Statement. The Resort Centre Third-Party Review has been released alongside an Addendum of the EIS to respond to the Third-Party Review.

Questions? We want to hear from you.