The OH Ranch’s natural character and ecological integrity will now be preserved for future generations thanks to a commitment and contribution honouring Calgary businessman and philanthropist, Daryl “Doc” Seaman.
A special dedication took place on the ranch in Dorothy on Friday, September 4, which marked the ranch, along with the OH Ranch property in Bassano being dedicated a conservation easement, through an agreement with Ducks Unlimited.
Members of Doc Seaman’s family, as well as Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne and MP for Macleod Ted Menzies were on hand, marking the donation of one of Alberta’s largest conservation easements.
“The OH Ranch is one of the oldest ranches in Alberta with a 125 year legacy of grazing and environmental stewardship,” said Jack Hole, president of Ducks Unlimited Canada. "Ducks Unlimited is proud to continue this long standing conservation tradition.”
“Years from now this land is going to look the same, and that is a great thing.”
A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between landowner and a qualified conservation organization. The landowner retains possession of the land, but commits to preserving the natural character, ecological integrity, the scenic value and/or the educational character of the land.
According to Dave Kaye, Alberta operations manager of Ducks Unlimited, the type of landscape the OH Ranch has, is important habitat for the Northern Pintail, which nests in large tracks of native prairie. It is also important for the Long Billed Curlew, Sprague’s Pipet and the loggerhead shrike. The easements on the OH Ranch Dorothy and OH Ranch Bassano will help protect more than 45 square kilometres of southern Alberta grassland.
A portion of the property at Dorothy has been classified as having ecologically sensitive lands or sites that contribute to biodiversity and environmental heritage. The donation qualifies for Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, and is eligible for an income tax benefit.
MP Ted Menzies, spoke on behalf of Environment Minister Jim Prentice.
“(This is) an important donation through the Ecological Gifts Program in partnership with Doc who has generously donated the land on which we stand, the Government of Canada has helped to secure six new ecological gifts on four properties covering 7,179 hectares, worth approximately $26 million. This certification allows the land and the species that depend on it to be preserved in perpetuity. This is a marvellous legacy for future generations,” said Menzies.
Seaman was an avid outdoorsman and hunter.
“OH Ranch has worked with Ducks for many years, so it was a natural fit for us to further partner with them to ensure these conservation easements were placed on OH Ranch Dorothy and OH Ranch Bassano,” said Doc’s son, Bob Seaman. “Wetland and wildlife conservation is an important component of the OH Ranch philosophy, and it is my father’s legacy.”