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by Aimee Delaney, Conservation Assistant | Green Acreages CoordinatorIn Red Deer County, there are more than 6200 different acreages, big and small. The potential environmental risks that an acreage owner may face, however, is consistent on any acreage. Septic systems, water wells, domestic animals, weeds and riparian management are among the things that could raise potential issues for you and neighbors alike. Recognizing the risks before they become a cause of concern is a priority for all landowners.Whether you are a new property owner or have been there for years, protecting your investments and protecting the environment is important to you. For example, one of the greatest investments you’ll have is a septic system. Septic systems are one of the key components to a rural property. Knowing which type of system you have and the maintenance process needed to prevent damage to the system or contamination of your property will save you time and money.As another example, well water quality and quantity are other key components, perhaps the most important, of a rural property. Understanding how your well was designed and how it works, and learning about common well problems and what you should watch for will help you feel confident with the process of managing and maintaining your water well. Leaning about beneficial land management practices on your acreage can help you prevent contamination of your or your neighbors’ drinking water.How you manage your land could also be giving weeds the opportunity for permanent residency on your acreage. Weeds can reduce the productivity of your land, increase the risk of erosion by outcompeting deeper rooted species and harm livestock and pets if they are poisonous. Identifying what plants are weeds is the first step to controlling them; removal of those weeds is one of the most notable and measurable returns on your investment.A basic understanding of land stewardship, and what it means to recognize everyone’s responsibility to manage our natural capital, will help you take the actions needed for your acreage.The Green Acreage program helps acreage owners identify environmental risks on their property - using the Green Acreages Guide and face-to-face, technical support for you and your neighbors. Acreage owners may also find their project ideas to mitigate environmental risks or provide environmental improvements could be eligible for funding.For more information on Green Acreages in your community, contact Aimee at 403.350.2150 or firstname.lastname@example.org