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News from July 2019

A New Tool for Watershed Protection

July 11, 2019

The Southern Alberta Land Trust Society (SALTS), a 2018 Watershed Stewardship Grant recipient, has created a tool that enables users to designate high priority areas for watershed conservation and management within the Bow River Basin. Learn more about this project that will assist and advance watershed stewardship efforts in Southern Alberta.

In 2018, SALTS received support from the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) that supported their efforts to identify and spatially define parts of the landscape within the Bow River watershed that are most important for watershed health.

“More specifically, the project investigated and maps which parts of the landscape, if we keep them from being disturbed and developed, will provide the most value in terms of water storage, filtration, flood and drought mitigation,” explains Justin Thompson, Executive Director of SALTS.

The maps, developed by SALTS in partnership with Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Bow River Basin Council (BRBC), will provide landowners and a number of organizations including conservation groups, watershed groups, land managers and municipalities, with a tool by which to identify and prioritize parts of the watershed. Organizations can then use these maps to determine which areas should receive higher consideration for protection or best management practices in order to preserve watershed health and water resources.

“Believe it or not, those of us working in watershed protection haven’t had anything like this to date,” says Justin.

While the benefits of immediate riparian areas are well understood, there haven’t been any efforts to map the hydrological value of the non-riparian areas which remain an important factor to overall watershed health. The collaborative, science-based and applied approach to mapping the priority areas in the watershed has been very successful, and a number of tools were produced by SALTS including a map book showing priority areas in every sub watershed of the Bow basin as well as a map of priority areas across the whole watershed. SALTS continues to work with NCC and BRBC on the development of a website that will host the maps.

The funding SALTS received from the WSG was used to develop the GIS data layer and support overall map development by a consultant. WSG funds also supported project coordination and made the project truly collaborative by bringing together several land trusts and the Bow River Basin Council.

“There are very few other sources of funding which support this type of work,” Justin states. “By its nature, watershed conservation is complex and has to be collaborative in order to include the numerous key players that influence watershed health.” Justin goes on to share that successful watershed protection can only happen with the buy-in from the community and by empowering those on the ground who live and work in the watershed.

Empowering community stewards in their critical work is a goal that the WSG has been accomplishing since inception in 2006. Learn more about the WSG (funded by Alberta Environment and Parks), browse past recipients and consider applying for future rounds (next grant round is January, 2020).


Partner Spotlight: TD Friends of the Environment

July 11, 2019

“The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation.” Miriam Beard

Those who work in the charitable and non-profit world are all too aware of the ongoing need for funding to accomplish our goals and ultimately, help make the world a better place. In this Partner Spotlight, Land Stewardship Centre would like to specifically thank TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) for supporting the enhancements to our Conservation Land Registry, but more importantly, recognize them for continuing to support our past and current stewardship work, as well as the worthwhile efforts of so many environmental charities across Canada.

Founded by TD Bank Group in 1990, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) is a national charity that funds environmental projects across Canada. They are leaders and innovators in the field of philanthropy and environmental conservation and education. Through TD FEF, TD as part of its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, is helping to elevate the quality of the environment for a more sustainable tomorrow. We are grateful to TD FEF for supporting numerous LSC projects over the years including the Green Acreages Guide and, most recently, the enhancements to our Conservation Land Registry (CLR).

The CLR, which has been in operation for nearly 17 years, is a single source database of information on registered conservation agreements and conservation projects in Alberta. The CLR consolidates conservation easements, fisheries and habitat conservation projects, wildlife program lands, special case lands, historical resources and more from a variety of sources including non-profit organizations and agencies, governments and private landowners. Used by industry, various levels of government and conservation organizations, the CLR enables users to search for conservation projects, agreements or other notations/specific conservation or historical interests to inform their development and land-use planning decisions.

Funding received from TD FEF for the CLR enhancement project is going directly to improving the user interface; refining the automated on-line search capability; including more datasets that will lend valuable insight to and information regarding wildlife, watersheds, eco-regions; adding more functionality to the map feature and improving search reports. These enhancements will not only help us serve our current CLR clients better, but also encourage an even broader array of users, building greater awareness for conservation and stewardship across the province.

The success of several of our major projects and initiatives has been in part due to the funding support we have received from TD FEF over the years. Thank you again TD FEF for supporting Land Stewardship Centre and all you do to foster conservation and stewardship efforts in Alberta and across Canada.

“TD FEF is proud to have supported several Land Stewardship Centre projects since 2007. The CLR is a unique project that provides an important source of data for a multitude of conservation organizations throughout Alberta. There is so much good conservation work being done throughout the province and LSC takes on the vital role of providing these groups with the tools they need to make better decisions and to work more efficiently,” shares Masheed Salehomoum, TD FEF Coordinator for Pacific and Prairie.