Since 2013, the Alberta government has been implementing a new management model to ensure the Onefour and Stavely research substations continue to conduct research relating to sustainable rangeland management and prairie conservation into the future.
Through a memorandum of understanding between the government and the University of Alberta the two research ranches will maintain rangeland and native grassland and continue to provide opportunities for agricultural research. In addition, important wildlife habitat will be protected while also providing grazing opportunities for local ranchers.
“The Onefour and Stavely research ranches have played a pivotal role in developing rangeland management as we know it in Western Canada,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks. “The recent memorandum of understanding between the Government of Alberta and the university will help ensure more important work will come from these sites in the future.”
The research ranch model was developed by working with the university and livestock industry representatives. It uses grazing stewards to maintain the important grazing infrastructure and provides sustainable grazing opportunities on the sites which are important for maintaining these grassland ecosystems.
“The signing of this memorandum of understanding allows staff and students to utilize Stavely and Onefour to conduct innovative research and teaching on a wide variety of issues pertinent to rangeland ecology and management,” said Dr. Edward Bork, Director of the Rangeland Research Institute in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta. “This agreement will support long-term research that promotes rangeland economic and environmental sustainability in Western Canada by taking advantage of the rich generational learnings that Stavely and Onefour offer.”
According to Dr. David Turpin, President of the University of Alberta, the Stavely Research Station and Onefour have created a deep legacy of ecological and agricultural research in the province. “Thanks to this new agreement, that legacy is in good hands,” he noted. “Through our Rangeland Research Institute in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, the U of A will continue to engage with and facilitate partnerships across the province, country and continent, conducting leading multi-disciplinary research and teaching to address issues as diverse as grassland ecology, wildlife management, carbon capture, climate change and water management.”
Work on the ranches will help promote and set research standards for range management in the province and help shape future research.
About the research ranches
Onefour: The Onefour Agricultural Research Substation, established in 1927, is a 42,000-acre (17,199 hectares) site that includes 39,780 acres (16,098 hectares) of public land southeast of Medicine Hat. Through good stewardship practices, Onefour has conserved valuable native prairie habitats, supporting a wide variety of flora and fauna, including species at risk.
Stavely: The Stavely Agricultural Research Station, established in 1949, is a 980-acre (388-hectares) site west of Stavely on the eastern edge of the Porcupine Hills. Through good stewardship practices, Stavely has served to conserve valuable foothills fescue grasslands while supporting wildlife habitat.