Shell Canada on Tuesday announced it purchased a 1,820 acre (740 ha) tract of land in northern Alberta to conserve boreal forest habitat near its oil sands operations.
The conserved area, now called the Shell True North Forest, was privately owned land previously used for cattle grazing and hay production. Its purchase on behalf of Shell's oil sands business will conserve an area almost twice the size of Stanley Park in British Columbia.
"Shell has a land and reclamation strategy in place to guide environmental performance in our oil sands business and the Shell True North Forest is part of that continuous effort," says John Abbott, Shell's Executive Vice President, Heavy Oil. "As oil sands reclamation takes decades to complete, conserving land allows us to address the impacts of our land disturbance in the short term."
Land conservation plays a key role in managing biodiversity. The Shell True North Forest contains mixed woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and habitat along the Ksituan River which runs through the property. The property has excellent road access and will allow for many different recreational opportunities such as hiking and bird watching.
The Shell True North Forest is located 43 miles (70 kilometers) north of Grand Prairie, Alberta and lies less than one km (.62 miles) south of Moonshine Provincial Park. The land was secured through an arrangement with the Alberta Conservation Association. Together, both parties will manage the area for biodiversity conservation and low impact recreational use.
"Over the next decade we plan to accelerate the pace of land reclamation at our mines and develop technologies to reduce future land disturbance," says Abbott. "Including the Shell True North Forest, we've conserved land equivalent to nearly 14 percent of our Jackpine and Muskeg River mines."
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