TABLE OF CONTENTS

NATURE AND BIODIVERSITY

THE WAY WE GREEN GOAL: Edmonton's communities are full of nature - a place where in the course of everyday life residents experience a strong connection with nature. 

TOTAL PRIORITY NATURAL AREAS SECURED

Tableland natural areas are the upland areas above the North Saskatchewan River Valley and Ravine System. Natural areas consist of land or water that is dominated by native vegetation in naturally occurring patterns. Such areas could include grasslands, forests, wetlands, peatlands or riparian areas. Areas such as groomed parks, sport fields and schoolyards are not natural areas.

The City of Edmonton continues to make advances in securing tableland natural areas (i.e. those areas found outside of the North Saskatchewan River Valley and Ravine System). As of the end of 2015, 512 hectares (ha) of tableland natural areas have been secured. In addition, 2,467 ha of river valley natural areas have been secured.

Since the Natural Area Systems Policy and the Natural Connections Strategic Plan was approved in 2007, the City is designing its new neighborhoods using an ecological network approach. This design approach links open spaces such as natural areas, constructed wetlands, park sites, schools sites, and linear right of ways into a connected network configuration. This innovation provides more walkable communities and greater biodiversity values.

VIDEO: Wetlands Defined

CITY-MAINTAINED TREES

The inventory of City-maintained trees continues to be kept up. Although current tree planting endeavors play a significant role in maintaining the tree canopy, additional strategies are required to increase the canopy to meet targets in the Urban Forest Management Plan. To that end, the City has launched an enhanced tree planting initiative called Root for Trees.

DID YOU KNOW - 69,000 OF THE TREES MAINTAINED BY THE CITY OF EDMONTON ARE ELM TREES, MAKING THIS THE LARGEST POPULATION OF DUTCH ELM DISEASE FREE ELMS IN THE WORLD!!!!

TREE PEST MONITORING PROGRAM

Insect management programs have been protecting Edmonton’s trees since the 1970’s. Today’s version is Edmonton’s Tree Pest Monitoring Program. The program is comprehensive and has several components and specialized programs like the monitoring of invasive exotic species, native pests, elm bark beetles, and disease surveying. As the pests in Edmonton have changed throughout the years, the program has also grown and developed. Significant environmental changes like the massive migration of the mountain pine beetle from British Columbia to Alberta in 2006 resulted in enhancements to the existing program. Mike Jenkins, a Biological Services Technician for the City, speaks to the team discovering mountain pine beetles in the river valley this year, explaining “This is the first ever detection of mountain pine beetle within Edmonton. The overall numbers are still very low, but monitoring has been intensified and pheromones intended to move the beetles away from city trees will be deployed.”

Pest monitoring programs are often the first, and most significant line of defense against pests like the mountain pine beetle. The example of the mountain pine beetle goes to show the vital role that programs like the Pest Monitoring Program play in protecting Edmonton’s greenest asset.

GOT STUMP?

Got Stump is an Edmonton based company offering services in stump and tree removal, tree pruning and trimming, and land clearing. As a local business, Got Stump is passionate about community investments and maintaining Edmonton’s green natural green space.

The organization has always been environmentally conscious in their operations. As a company Got Stump takes purposeful steps to green their operations like using organic materials whenever possible. Examples include biodegradable products for chainsaw bar oil and grapeseed oil as hydraulic fluid. They also work to reduce their driving distances and fuel consumption on a company-wide scale. To learn more about Got Stump and their sustainability initiatives visit https://gotstump.ca.

As a tree removal and stump grinding business Got Stump decided that a great way to give back to their community was to partner with the City initiative Root for Trees. The partnership has developed over a couple of years. For every stump over 16 inches wide that is ground and every tree removed Got Stump donates 10% to the Root for Trees program. Organizations like Got Stump are instrumental in helping Root for Trees meet their goals of planting an additional 16,000 trees in Edmonton each year. For more information on how corporations can get involved with stewarding the urban forest please visit the Root for Trees Sponsorship page: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/initiatives_innovation/sponsors-volunteers.aspx

CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS

Constructed wetlands are an integral component of Edmonton's storm water management strategy, while also providing habitat and urban biodiversity. Increasing the connections between natural areas and constructed wetlands improves ecological integrity while providing important ecological services.

HERBICIDE ALTERNATIVES

This measure refers to the proportion of City-owned and managed turf areas where alternative integrated pest management measures such as mowing, digging and hand-pulling were utilized to control weeds.

ALBERTA WEED SPOTTER APP 

The Weed Spotter App (the App) is a perfect example of utilizing technology to make something that is usually a massive undertaking into a community effort. Invasive plant species are an issue for any community and Edmonton is no exception. The App allows any person with an iOS device to identify and report noxious or invasive species of weeds regulated by the Alberta Weed Control Act. City staff use photos and a GPS location to follow up on any reports of noxious or invasive weeds reported through the App. The City no longer has to be the only eyes on the ground, but instead has 8000 people who’ve downloaded the App so far and are helping out. The App was co-developed with the help of an Athabasca University masters student, and with financial support from the City and the provincial government and has already proven a valuable tool to protect Alberta’s gorgeous green spaces.The App is user-friendly, walking users through plant identification and enables citizens to be involved in maintaining Edmonton’s green space. The App already has one success story with the Common Barberry, found as an ornamental plant on the University of Alberta campus. When an App user reported the weed in the river valley, the City vegetation management team quickly removed it.

NATURALIZATION 

In 2015, the City continued the process of naturalization. Naturalization is a landscape management technique that allows the landscape to become more natural by planting trees, shrubs and wildflowers that are found naturally in Alberta.

This involves 3 stages:

1) Stop mowing,

2) Plant trees and shrubs native to Alberta, and

3) Continue planting smaller native shrubs and flowers to promote a healthy ecosystem. This process provides economic, environmental and quality of life benefits. The end result is a beautiful, biodiverse, self-sustaining landscape.

NATURALIZATION RESEARCH PROJECT

The Naturalization Research Project was a partnership from 2014-2016 between the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta and the City of Edmonton to study the effects of naturalization on living and non-living habitat.

Naturalization uses plant species that are native to a region to manage urban green spaces. This style of landscaping comes with many benefits including increased habitat for beneficial birds and insects, reducing maintenance time and costs for green spaces over the long term, as well as reducing stormwater runoff and soil erosion. Native plants also tend to become established and flourish sooner than their non-native counterparts. The lack of research done around naturalization can make it difficult to get started and successfully manage these green spaces. This report provides valuable information to the City and other Edmontonians about naturalization, what practices are required to make the process successful and which native plant species will flourish in Edmonton. This research will become even more important as more naturalized spaces are created and maintained within our city. One area where the research results are already being applied is at Terwillegar Recreation Centre, where in summer 2016, recommended soil amendments from this research were used in an area where volunteers planted over 1600 native wildflowers during a special event - Planting for Pollinators. To access results of this research, visit www.edmonton.ca/naturalization..