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The Green Acreages Program is Growing

Posted May 12, 2020 by LSC

Our long-standing Green Acreages program has received provincial funding and, with strong municipal collaboration, will soon be supporting stewardship, drought and flood resiliency efforts among acreage owners across Alberta.

The 2016 census states that rural residents represent 16.1% of Alberta’s population – a growing proportion of the rural population. As the number of rural residents increases, they will have a greater cumulative impact on Alberta’s soil, water, air and wildlife resources. Acreage owners generally want to ‘do the right thing’ for their properties, but, historically, resources specific to managing small landholdings have been limited.

Launched in 2012, Green Acreages is a core program of Land Stewardship Centre (LSC). Distributed to and used by over 40 municipalities and organizations across Alberta, the Green Acreages Primer and Workbook resources have resonated deeply with municipalities, the stewardship community and acreage owners. In recent years, both Parkland County and Red Deer County even developed and implemented full-fledged municipal Green Acreages Programs utilizing these resources.

“We’ve run our own Green Acreages program in Red Deer County since 2013, providing information and funding to acreage owners to implement environmentally beneficial projects,” shares Ken Lewis, Conservation Coordinator at Red Deer County.

Other municipalities, including Mountain View County and Clearwater County, have taken different approaches including distributing the Green Acreages resources and hosting workshops for their residents.

“Mountain View County has been a supporter of the Green Acreages resources for many years,” says Lorelee Grattidge, Sustainable Agricultural Specialist with the county. “We have distributed Green Acreage Primers to our residents since 2016.”

Based on this longstanding and positive response to, and continued uptake and extensive use of the Green Acreages resources by municipalities, LSC long believed there was an opportunity to do more to deliver information and resources to acreage owners across the province.

Subsequent discussions with municipal stakeholders offered important perspectives along with valuable information which became the foundation for a funding proposal to Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP) to support a broader, more cohesive approach to delivering coordinated Green Acreages programming.

With WRRP funding confirmed earlier this year, LSC, in partnership with Red Deer County, Parkland County, Clearwater County, Brazeau County, Mountain View County and Rocky View County, has just launched a two-year Green Acreages pilot project. Through virtual (and when feasible, face-to-face) workshops, educational resources and physical restoration projects, this initiative embraces a collaborative approach to connecting and working directly with acreage owners, promoting sustainability through stewardship, supporting drought and flood mitigation efforts, and enhancing the ecosystem services associated with private land in Alberta.

Program partners and LSC are excited to see this long-awaited idea come to life.

“The number of acreage owners in Mountain View County is on a steady increase with many of these new residents moving from urban settings,” adds Lorelee. “We are fully supportive and very glad to see this new approach to Green Acreages evolve to assist acreage owners to protect and enhance the ecosystem services associated with their land.”

Ken Lewis from Red Deer wholeheartedly agrees. “It’s fantastic to see this opportunity for acreage owners across Alberta, and we look forward to working with LSC as the program continues to grow.”

Meet the new Green Acreages Program Coordinator.


Stewardship Showcase: Lac La Nonne Education Centre

Posted May 12, 2020 by LSC

Keep reading to learn about this group of dedicated stewards from west of Edmonton who received funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant to enhance their local lake and surrounding community.

The Lac La Nonne Enhancement and Protection Association received a 2019 Watershed Stewardship Grant to support their long-term goal of constructing an education center on an underutilized piece of lakefront property.

The project consisted of transforming a parcel of unused land in Klondike Park, and bolstering community engagement and awareness of environmental and lake health concerns.

“Lac La Nonne is a high activity lake,” shares Maureen Teha, Secretary of LEPA. “From locals to visitors from surrounding urban areas, there was a need to educate people using the lake about responsible lake recreation and management and protecting lake health.”

With the education center infrastructure and construction complete, LEPA is working on installing signage at various points in the park which promote sustainable activities on the lake. They are also using native plants for landscaping and installing bird houses and bat nesting boxes.

This effort led by LEPA, in collaboration with Highway 2 Conservation, County of Barrhead and many volunteers, will continue educating and engaging visitors about the riparian area, native plant species, and the importance of bats and birds around water for years to come.

“We’re really grateful for the support we received from the Watershed Stewardship Grant program,” shares Maureen. “Sometimes just a little bit of funding can go a long way, especially when you have passionate volunteers with a vested interest in bettering their community.”

Learn more about LEPA and how you can join their efforts, working together for the health of the lake and surrounding area.


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