Skip to content or main menu

Sitemap | Member Login

News

Common Goal, Diverse Approach

Posted September 16, 2019 by LSC

Within Alberta there are currently eleven Watershed Stewardship Advisory Councils (WPACs) representing the major river basins. WPACs were established to directly support the Water for Life Strategy and they are important stewards of Alberta’s major watersheds.

Through their efforts, these organizations engage communities, organize information and implement projects in their watersheds – all while continuously collaborating with and supporting local, community-based watershed groups.

Understanding what they do

WPACs may have a common goal – caring for and managing Alberta’s water resources – but when you really take the time to look at it, there are many different approaches currently being taken by WPAC’s across Alberta. This summer, Kelsie Norton, Land Stewardship Centre’s Program Assistant, attended both the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA) AGM and the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) AGM. Both events showcased the work they are doing and unique opportunities to interconnect with WPACs, and highlighted the significant impacts these organizations create in their respective areas.

“While attending these two WPAC annual general meetings, I was able to get a much better understanding of both NSWA’s and BRWA’s amazing teams, and how they are able to accomplish such a diverse array of projects and initiatives that involve many stakeholders and improve watershed health,” shares Kelsie. “From technical and science-based work to education and outreach projects, the amount of work these organizations do is incredible.”

A diversity of projects

For example, over the last year, NSWA completed twelve technical watershed projects, had over 180 people attend education forums focused on riparian health and groundwater, launched an informative new website and received grants for their Riparian Health Action Plan. In addition, they are in the second year of a four-year water quality monitoring program funded by EPCOR. Looking ahead, they are also establishing eight new water quality monitoring stations and updating 10 existing stations to advance the North Saskatchewan river testing areas.

BRWA is also very active. Their current efforts focus on watershed education and citizen science, offering youth programs such as X-Stream Science, Discover your Wetland and Waste in our Watersheds. Recently, BRWA also hosted a World Water Day at which local residents were invited to talk about what biodiversity and stewardship in their watershed means to them. Another triumph for BRWA was the documentary project Finding Common Ground that tells the story of a 2017 bike tour that explored energy opportunities and resilience in the Battle River watershed of Alberta. In October 2019, BRWA will be following this up by offering Finding Common Ground 2.0, a tour and professional development/training opportunity that enables participants to gain first-hand experience in energy production, distribution and efficient use.

Partnerships and sharing are key

In order to strengthen watershed stewardship outcomes, combining efforts and sharing resources is essential for both WPACs. NSWA and BRWA are working hard to bring people together and protect Alberta’s previous water resources. Land Stewardship Centre is a proud supporter of all the great work all WPACs have accomplished over the years.

Learn more about Alberta’s WPACs. Learn how you can get involved and keep up to date with events and current initiatives offered by BRWA and NSWA.


A New Tool for Watershed Protection

Posted July 11, 2019 by LSC

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).


« Previous | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 | Next »