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News from September 2017

Get Your Grassroots News

September 19, 2017

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Check out the September 2017 issue of Grassroots News: Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards.

Don’t miss an issue. Subscribe to Grassroots News today.


Social Media Contest Continues

September 19, 2017

Meet our First Winner

Thanks to all who liked or followed us in this first round of our social media contest. We are happy to announce that Kirsten (@kvfalk) is the winner of our first social media contest and takes home the Avid Gardner’s gift package (valued at $250).

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More Chances to Win

Your chance to win isn’t over yet. We are launching our second social media contest, and we’d love to hear from you. Land Stewardship Centre is all about enabling people and organizations to be better stewards and we’d love to hear about how you or your group has made a positive impact in stewarding and protecting Alberta’s natural environment.

Share your photos, stores and experiences with us on Facebook, Twitter and by email.

Each submission receives an entry into a draw to win the Ultimate Stewards Prize Pack that includes a rain barrel, shears, gardening gloves and native species seed package to attract birds, bees and butterflies, as well as a copy of the Green Acreages Guide Workbook.

This next contest runs from September 11— November 31, 2017. Winner will be selected by random draw.


Stewardship Showcase - September 2017

September 19, 2017

Since 2006, the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Program, made possible with funding from Alberta Environment and Parks, has provided grants to the province’s stewardship community to support their efforts. Meet a recipient of the 2017 WSG grant, Bighill Creek Preservation Society, and learn what they are doing to protect their watershed and enhance water quality in Southern Alberta.

Bighill Creek Preservation Society

From its sandstone cliffs to its oxbow wetlands, the Bighill Creek Watershed, which stretches for several miles north and east from the town of Cochrane, is a gem of ecological quality and diversity. Recent encroaching population pressure and local industrial activity have placed greater strains on the watershed. A strong desire by the community to protect the watershed, and its significant local and regional ecological, historical and recreational assets, led to the formation of the Bighill Creek Preservation Society in 2015.

“Our local watershed and creek are a significant legacy,” explains Gerry Bietz, President of the Bighill Creek Preservation Society. “Without public recognition and broad based support for its protection, the value of this special area will be eroded and potentially destroyed by peripheral development.”

Other creeks in the surrounding areas (Jumpingpound Creek, Horse Creek and Nose Creek) have already been assessed. But there was no data or assessment done for Bighill Creek. This gap in information spurred the Society to undertake their first project, and in 2017 the group received a Watershed Stewardship Grant to complete a baseline water quality study for Bighill Creek.

It is a significant project and the Society has been working with landowners, Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre, Cows and Fish, Trout Unlimited, Cochrane Environmental Action Committee, Cochrane Foundation and the Bow River Basin Council to complete the water quality assessment. “It is great to work with all these groups together on a common goal,” shares Lyse Carignan, Treasurer for the Society. “It really increases the impact and efficiency of the project.”

As they continue their work on this project, slated to be finished next summer, the Society has learned some important things along the way. “Without funding, we could not do the work we do,” Lyse adds. “Hiring a professional biologist, performing the lab analysis – all of this takes money to make it a reality.”

The Society is encouraged by the funding they have been able to obtain from Land Stewardship Centre and other partners, and see it as a big first step towards other exciting things they have planned for the future, such as a fish habitat study and riparian zone assessment for the creek. “We may be a fairly new group, but we are determined and resourceful, and committed to the long term preservation of the natural and historic attributes of the Bighill Creek Watershed,” Gerry proudly states.

Learn more about Bighill Creek Preservation Society

About the WSG

Since 2006, 127 grassroots watershed stewardship groups have received more than $1,700,000 to develop and implement nearly 300 projects in communities across Alberta.

Do you have a project in mind that can make difference in your local watershed? Learn more about the WSG program and subscribe to our Grassroots News for grant opening and closing dates.


What’s in your Stewardship Toolbox?

September 18, 2017

How can a group or municipality achieve the best and most needed environmental outcomes for their projects with limited resources available? That’s where INFFER™ comes in. Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is the single accredited provider of INFFER™ in Canada. Read on to learn how and why INFFER™ is one fascinating stewardship tool and how one Alberta municipality is putting it to work for them.

INFFER™ (Investment Framework for Environmental Resources) is a valuable decision support tool used for assessing and prioritizing projects to address diverse environmental issues and challenges such as reduced water quality, biodiversity, conservation planning and land degradation. The main goal of INFFER™ is to achieve the highest value for environmental, economic and social outcomes that is possible with available resources.

Municipalities, among many other organizations, face the challenge of how to get the best bang for their buck when implementing environmental programs and projects. Recently, our partners from Natural Decisions, the creators of INFFER™, travelled from Australia to assist LSC in an INFFER™ project currently being conducted in partnership with Brazeau County.

In early 2017, Brazeau County had the opportunity to participate in an INFFER™ project funded through the Agriculture Watershed Enhancement Program, which is a dual grant stream offered by Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. By using the INFFER™ assessment tool Brazeau will be able to compare the environmental and social outcomes and cost effectiveness of potential conservation initiatives, enabling them to select the approaches best suited to addressing their most important issues in a given area.

“Funding was available to participate in INFFER™ and Brazeau County saw it as a valuable tool to evaluate environmental projects happening in the County, on behalf of producers,” explains Benjamin Misener, Manager of Land and Environment with Brazeau County. “It allows us to be strategic and thoughtful when making these types of decisions.”

Guided by Natural Decisions and Land Stewardship Centre, the INFFER™ process is being used by Brazeau County to focus on an area of importance, identify issues associated with water quality in this area and then help the municipality understand how to address these issues in the most effective manner that considers not only economics, but also environmental and social factors, as well as the goals that have been set by the County for this area.

Misener goes on to explain how important it is to have a tool like INFFER™ to assess environmental programs and projects, especially when spending funding dollars, to be able to provide accountability and transparency. “It is important to have this type of framework to assess projects,” Benjamin adds. “By using INFFER™ we can compare the potential outcomes and cost effectiveness of different projects and ultimately, this enables us to develop a solid business case for environmental investment in restoring and protecting valuable natural assets.”

Learn more about INFFER™ and how it can assist with prioritizing your conservation efforts.

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Photos: Anna Roberts (left) and Geoff Park (right) recently visited Edmonton from sunny Australia to assist LSC with the Brazeau County INFFER™ project. Learn more about Natural Decisions and INFFER™ in Australia where it originated.