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Green Acreages, a program that helps acreage owners take action on environmental risks on their land, was created in 2013. As a leader of this initiative, Red Deer County’s Green Acreages program has assisted acreage owners with projects that have reduced environmental risks on properties, and is now spreading through the province and being offered in other counties.With the Green Acreages Coordinator, landowners are able to get help putting together a plan to mitigate environmental risks, and put that plan into on-the-ground action. Up to $2,000 is available for landowners to help offset some of the costs of incurred while doing approved green projects on their acreages.To get started, contact Aimee Delaney, Red Deer County’s Green Acreages Coordinator, to get started on your Action Plan, which is the application for the program. Once complete, please return for approval. If an application has been approved, the landowner will then have until December 1, 2018 to complete the work and have their receipts submitted for reimbursement – pretty simple.Eligible project ideas include, but are not limited to:• Native Ecobuffer plantings• Wildlife/Pollinator habitat• Composters and Rain Barrels• Revegetating Riparian Areas• Wetland Restoration/Enhancement• Decommissioning cesspools or leaking/leaching septic systems into environmentally sensitive areas• Energy Reduction; 6 kW solar panel systemsWhat is an Eco-buffer?A new shelterbelt design that incorporates a variety of native trees and shrubs in a narrow, dense configuration. For maximum environmental impact Eco-buffers should be connected to a natural area such as a riparian area or wooded area. Benefits of having an Eco-buffer includes wildlife and pollinator habitat, increasing complex biodiversity, ecological functions; soil, crop, water and livestock protection, snow trapping, and reducing yearly maintenance by panting strictly native trees and shrubs.When designing an Eco-buffer, consider a variety or species; thorny and smooth stems, suckering, fast and slow growing, fruit producing, hard and soft wooded plants. Having a range of tree and shrub heights also creates more diversity in the landscape. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, include a minimum of 4 to 5 shrub species.