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Upgrades funded for Alta. grazing reserves

Fences, water systems and other infrastructure on Alberta’s 32 provincial grazing reserves are booked for $9.2 million in renovations.

The federal and provincial governments on Monday announced funding of $5.925 million and $3.3 million respectively over this year and the next fiscal year for the reserves, which provide summer pasture for ranchers and farmers on public land.

Alberta’s Sustainable Resource Development department is to oversee the project, which will include activities such as replacing fences, developing and upgrading trails, and upgrading water systems.

While the projects are expected to create “immediate” employment opportunities in area communities, tourism opportunities in nearby rural communities are also expected to continue, attracting visitors interested in “recreational pursuits and sightseeing on the scenic reserves,” the governments said Monday.

“Our shared investment is about protecting an important part of Alberta’s heritage — the natural heritage of our grassland ecosystems, and the agricultural heritage of our ranching community,” Mel Knight, the province’s sustainable resource development minister, said in the release.

The federal portion of the project funding will flow through the government’s two-year, $1 billion Community Adjustment Fund, from which $104 million is earmarked for projects in “the most affected” communities in Alberta.

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