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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.


Stewardship Showcase: Pincher Creek Watershed Group

Posted September 16, 2019 by LSC

This past July, the Pincher Creek Watershed Group hosted their 16th Annual Blueweed Blitz. This long-time, local event, spearheaded by this committed watershed stewardship group, had 82 volunteers come out to remove over 85 large bags of the noxious weed, which resulted in billions of potential seeds being removed from the environment.

Leading the way

Sixteen years ago, this type of local event was the first of its kind in the area. Noxious weeds can be relentless, and volunteers and the Pincher Creek Watershed Group alike agree that over the years the Blueweed Blitz has made an obvious improvement in local watershed health. As a result, this type of activity is now an initiative several other stewardship groups have adopted in their own watersheds.

“An event like this is extremely important. It gets the community directly and actively involved in caring for their creek and the watershed,” shares Brad Bustard, organizer and long-time volunteer with the Pincher Creek Watershed Group. “Without the involvement of a dedicated group of supporters, volunteers and landowners, our event would simply not be possible and the weeds would still be a major problem.”

Support is key

Sponsors of the event include Shell Waterton, MD of Pincher Creek, Town of Pincher Creek and Alberta Conservation Association. The event, which received Watershed Stewardship Grant support in 2017, also receives support from the Waterton Park weed crew.

“Our event continues to be a success thanks to consistent support from a great group of citizens and sponsors who are working together to improve the health of the Pincher Creek,” adds Brad. Brad goes on to add that engagement and volunteer participation from local landowners could always be improved. He suggests that getting the involvement of and help from more owners of small acreages in the area would help make the event even better in the future.

In addition to the annual weed pulls, Brad says continued education and awareness efforts are still needed to ensure citizens and caretakers are aware that, although they may have ‘pretty flowers’, noxious weeds are detrimental to the watershed. So, the Pincher Creek Watershed Group continues to advocate for beautiful scenery and landscapes that exclude noxious weeds and embraces native flora.

Get involved

Check out their Facebook page and learn more about the Pincher Creek Watershed Group’s Blueweed Blitz and other activities. Consider getting involved in a local watershed stewardship group or volunteering for a weed pull in your area.

Photos courtesy Pincher Creek Watershed Group.


Coming Soon: WSG Storymap

Posted September 16, 2019 by LSC

This fall, Land Stewardship Centre will be launching a brand new story-map that highlights all recipients of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) since 2006.

The map will showcase the impact of this important grant program, funded by Alberta Environment and Parks, and the impactful projects these grassroots groups have implemented across the province that have directly contributed to protecting, conserving and enhancing Alberta’s watersheds.

The projects are interesting and diverse, and the new digital narrative will include videos and pictures of projects that will inspire others and highlight how watershed stewardship groups are working hard to protect our precious water resources.

Stay tuned for the map and if you are a WSG recipient, sign up to our Stewardship Directory to have your profile linked to the map.


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).


Partner Spotlight: TD Friends of the Environment

Posted July 11, 2019 by LSC

“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.


Making Headway With Wetland Education

Posted May 16, 2019 by LSC

This past March, Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) attended the Wetland Education Network (WEN) Workshop at the lovely Nisku Recreation Centre in Leduc County. Hosted by Alberta NAWMP Partnership, this second annual WEN workshop brought together individuals and organizations representing four key sectors: agriculture, municipalities, education/public and industry to discuss and share ideas for how to advance wetland education, knowledge and action in Alberta.

Motivated and Action Oriented

The workshop was attended by approximately 60 individuals from across the province and representing the various sector stakeholder groups. During this full day workshop, participants contributed fresh ideas and came away with new knowledge and motivation to support wetland education in Alberta.

The WEN sector action groups, which have been working together for the past year to discuss and develop various tools, resources and approaches to supporting sector-specific wetland education in Alberta, provide workshop participants with an update of each action group accomplished. For example:

The Agriculture Action Group created five media stories that were published in community newspapers and which highlighted producers who have integrated wetland conservation in their operations. The Education Action Group created a guide for engaging communities in local wetland conservation.

The Municipal Action Group developed and informative resource titled Your Guide to Making Wetlands Work in Your Municipality to guide and inform municipalities in the many facets of wetland conservation. They will be releasing an updated version in the coming months. The engaged participants in and tangible outputs of the WEN speaks to the value of a collaborative of partners coming together with passion, knowledge and a shared goal.

More Wetland Work on the Horizon

This year, with support from Alberta Innovates and the Alberta NAWMP Science Fund, LSC will be implementing a wetland conservation and stewardship pilot project to create a case study for wetland markets in the Beaver Hills Biosphere (BHB). LSC looks forward to working closely with Alberta NAWMP, the BHB and other important partners to advance wetland protection in the designated UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere.

Learn more about the Alberta NAWMP Partnership and their efforts to conserve and protect Alberta’s wetlands. And stay tuned for more information about the innovative wetland conservation project in the Beaver Hills Biosphere.


Sasquatch Enlisted to Support Stewardship Efforts

Posted May 16, 2019 by LSC

Clear Water Landcare has been around for a while; since the late 1990’s in fact. Over the years, their vision of people living in and enjoying a healthy watershed, and their commitment to raising awareness with people about sustainable land and water use has never wavered. While they’ve been steadfast in vision and commitment, they’ve embraced creativity when it comes to their approach. Learn how Clear Water Landcare enlisted the support of a ‘unique partner’ to help them with their watershed stewardship efforts.

A Fresh Approach

A dedicated stewardship group, Clear Water Landcare has delivered numerous information sessions and assisted many landowners with various projects such as restoring habitats, off-site watering demonstrations and enhancing riparian habitat. They’ve accomplished much on private land in collaboration with landowners through their Caring for My Land and other successful programs. However, to encourage even greater respect for and stewardship of public land, Clear Water Landcare used a fresh approach, enlisting the help of Sasquatch to help spread the word.

Naturally, the real Sasquatch was too busy to make personal appearances, so the initiative is supported by a lively and imaginative caricature appearing prominently on signage and other communications throughout Sasquatch’s “backyard”. On these signs and communiques, Sasquatch “welcomes visitors to his backyard” and reminds them to enjoy nature and its bounty with respect.

“Sasquatch and the Welcome to Our Backyard initiative is a positive and fun way to remind people – both visitors and locals alike – that it is a privilege to live, work and play in one of the most amazing places in Canada,” explains Gary Lewis, the Clear Water Landcare Supervisor. “And with any privilege comes great responsibility.”

Stewardship That Goes Beyond Borders

Sasquatch’s “backyard” has grown beyond Clearwater County to include the eastern slopes municipalities of Yellowhead, Brazeau, Greenview and Mountain View. The area is rich with natural history, biodiversity and landscapes that include waterfalls, rare plants and diverse wildlife.

Sasquatch’s messages to visitors to “his backyard” include being sensitive to and respectful of the important landscapes, wildlife and ecosystems while enjoying nature and recreating in the area. Sasquatch is also quick to point out that how we use our land affects water supply and quality throughout the watershed and encourages everyone to treat all natural areas with care and respect.

Support for Multiple Initiatives

Sasquatch also appears in support of the Clearwater Trails Initiative (CTI), a collaborative effort between Clearwater County, industry partners, landowners, and provincial government, focuses on sustainable trail development, encouraging trail users to steer clear of sensitive upland and riparian areas.

CTI sounds like many other stewardship initiatives, right? Not so, because CTI enlisted the help of Sasquatch to capture people’s attention and help deliver these important messages by welcoming visitors to the area and encourages all to enjoy nature and its bounty with respect.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a nature photographer or a hiker, a horseback rider or quad rider, a picnicker or overnight camper, a hunter or angler,” adds Gary. “We all have an important part to play in caring for the wonderful, wild place that Sasquatch calls home.”

Learn more about the Clearwater Trails Initiative and other Clearwater County efforts, including Clear Water Landcare programs and watch for Sasquatch the next time you find yourself in his backyard.


Collaboration is the New Black

Posted March 10, 2019 by LSC

While not as trendy as the latest business buzzwords, collaboration, in its many forms, is the key to success for many non-profit organizations today. Learn how Land Stewardship Centre has taken collaboration to the next level, working closely with others to reduce overhead, leverage connections and increase impact.

New opportunity, new approach

For 23 years, Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) has embraced collaboration, recognizing it’s better to avoid duplicating efforts and, rather than reinvent the wheel, work closely with others to improve and roll the wheel farther along. For LSC, collaboration has traditionally consisted of sharing information and working with others on various projects and initiatives to achieve common goals. But in 2015, when fellow non-profit Nature Alberta was seeking a new Executive Director, an opportunity presented itself for the two organizations to work together in a unique and innovative way, and take collaboration to a new level.

A good fit

Recognizing a natural alignment between their respective visions and organizational mandates, LSC and Nature Alberta established a strategic partnership that enables more efficient and effective operations and management of both organizations through a shared-services model. Under this arrangement LSC provides staff, administrative, operational as well as strategic and program planning support to Nature Alberta. But both organizations remain independent entities.

“Nature Alberta had a need, and LSC had the resources,” explains Brian Ilnicki, LSC’s Executive Director. “Given the connections and networks we have in common, when the idea of sharing services was proposed, it made sense to both our boards to pursue the opportunity.”

No risk, no reward

Both organizations took a bit of a risk by trying something new to them. But, nearly four years later, it goes without saying this leap into the unknown has paid off for both LSC and Nature Alberta. With the ability to co-apply for grants, cross promote initiatives to elevate awareness, reduce operational and administrative costs, expand networks and more, the mutual benefits to each partner continue to accrue.

The success of this first shared-services partnership with Nature Alberta established a pattern that has sparked a flame. In 2017, a similar opportunity arose and LSC became the official secretariat of the Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Network (ESBN), welcoming their current coordinator into the LSC family. Once again, LSC was able to offer seasoned management and operational support to help further the ESBN’s efforts to advance knowledge of ecosystem services and biodiversity, and the use of market-based approaches to enhance these services.

Most recently, in late 2018, LSC was engaged by the Beaver Hills Biosphere (one of only two UNESO biospheres in Alberta), to lend administrative, management and governance knowledge and experience to support, guide and elevate their efforts to advance projects and support partners’ efforts in the Biosphere.

Mutual respect, mutual success

It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. Increasing competition for a shrinking pool of resources has non-profits thinking beyond traditional approaches and embracing inventive new ways to get things done. LSC has woven collaboration with like-minded organizations into the fabric of its daily operations and, together, all involved have become enhanced versions of themselves because of it.

LSC encourages others to look at collaboration with a unique and innovative lens as well. When there are limited resources available, it makes more sense to band together, because we truly go further – and accomplish more – along the way.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Helen Keller


Septic Sense: Keeping Up the Momentum

Posted January 15, 2019 by LSC

Septic systems may not be a great dinner party conversation, however, knowing how to manage and maintain your private sewage system is an important aspect of sustainable rural living. Educating yourself about how to properly care for your septic system preserves your property values and ultimately, ensures harmful substances don’t infiltrate Alberta’s groundwater or waterbodies.

A significant impact

The last Alberta census shows that rural residential landowners represent 14% of Alberta’s population, and many of those rural residents have private septic systems. According to Alberta Municipal Affairs, the average person puts 340 litres of sewage through a private sewage system (septic system) every day. For a family of four living in a two-bedroom house, that amounts to 1,360 litres per day and just under half a million litres per year!

Owners of private sewage systems are responsible for ensuring their systems operate properly and safely. The decisions of those property owners about how to manage and maintain their septic systems have the potential to have a significant cumulative effect on the Alberta landscape. Historically, there have been limited resources and support directed specifically to educating property owners on how to manage these important systems.

A successful start

In response to this need, since 2015, Land Stewardship Centre, in cooperation with the Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association, has been delivering the Septic Sense program. The Septic Sense workshop is a comprehensive information session, supported with take-home resources, that enhances local accountability for water resource management through education and engagement with landowners who have private wastewater systems on their property.

“Public education is an important component of a successful wastewater industry, and we are pleased to be a part of the process,” says Lesley Desjardins, Executive Director at AOWMA.

The highly successful workshop series has been offered in over 40 different municipalities across Alberta, reaching almost 2,000 people and has helped to raise awareness of responsible stewardship practices to realtors and landowners, alike.

Jeff Porter, Agricultural Fieldman with MD of Foothills has said there has been a lot of interest in the workshops from residents, because septic systems remain a mystery to many people who live on farms and acreages.

With funding and support from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, in 2018, LSC and AWOMA hosted 30 free workshops for landowners and Realtors in Alberta to better understand how to manage their rural property and mitigate negative impacts on the landscape from improperly managed septic systems. This support from AREF was crucial to delivering the workshops this year. LSC and AOWMA are very grateful to AREF for their support, and for seeing value in this educational initiative which has provided important information and resources to rural landowners, Realtors and municipalities across Alberta.

Looking forward

Now, with a couple of years of successful workshops complete, and a positive reputation in the community, Septic Sense has evolved and will now be offered on a cost-recovery (fee-for service) basis that will allow AOWMA to sustain the program in the future.

Going forward, AOWMA will continue raising awareness of best management practices to many more Realtors and Albertans, to create sustainable communities and foster a healthy environment. Please contact AOWMA directly if your organization or municipality is interested in hosting a Septic Sense workshop.

For more details about hosting and to schedule a workshop in your area please contact Sherri Hallett at the AWOMA office at sherri@aowma.com or 780–489–7471.


The Green Acreages Guide in Action

Posted November 12, 2018 by LSC

The last Alberta census indicated that rural residential landowners represent 14% of Alberta’s population – a growing proportion of the rural population. Acreage living can offer much that urban living does not, including having nature right at your doorstep. But, it can also be overwhelming, especially for those accustomed to urban life, to manage the many aspects of an acreage or recreational land property.

Discover how one southern Alberta acreage owner has used the Green Acreages Guide resources to help transform his acreage, reduce his carbon footprint and, ultimately, become a better steward of his property.

Guiding a Transformation

Several years ago, when Terry Krause bought his Red Deer County acreage, a good portion of the property consisted of bare ground and an unhealthy groundcover mix consisting of timothy, quack grass and Canada thistle. With a mind to improving the ecosystem services, natural functions and biodiversity associated with his property, Terry turned to his copy of the Green Acreages Guide Workbook to help him remedy the issues he was facing and improve the health of his acreage landscape.

“The Green Acreages Guide helped validate our ideas and inform our path to transforming our acreage,” explains Terry. With the help of the Guide, Terry has implemented numerous best management practices on his property. He’s also quick to point out that the information in the Guide enabled him to adopt practices that best suited his needs and goals for his property. For example, rather than just use a huge open plot that would be barren over the winter and have no habitat value, the garden was instead designed as four plots with crisscross pathways lined with fruit trees (e.g. sour cherries, choke cherries and honey berries) and perennial flowers to provide year round cover for birds and insects. By keeping the garden plots smaller and surrounded with cover, the garden functions better ecologically year round.

A Plan With a Purpose

In addition to establishing a large, diverse garden and naturescaping (e.g. combining early and late flowers species to cover the season for pollinators), Terry planted 1,000 trees and shrubs on his 2.5 acres, using shelterbelt hybrids and a genetic diversity of tree/shrub species to mimic nature as closely as possible.

He also seeded the remaining acreage to a fescue-grass mix that enabled him to limit mowing to three or four times a year, fostering a deep rooted system. As a result, impermeable surfaces have been minimized as much as possible and the deep rooted vegetation and grass does a good job of sponging up precipitation. Grass clippings are also swept up and used in the garden as mulch/compost and the house itself even has a number of efficiency features incorporated.

An Informative Resource

All of Terry’s efforts have resulted in a beautiful and a more sustainable acreage; one with a landscape that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also yields fruits and vegetables, and benefits the natural world.

In addition to reinvigorating the property, Terry says implementing best management practices and being very purposeful about what he planted on the acreage has improved habitat for an abundance of important wildlife, such as birds, bumble bees and other pollinators.

“The Green Acreages Guide covers a range of topics and is hugely informative,” offers Terry. “I would recommend it to anyone thinking of moving to an acreage or who has just moved to an acreage. It will give you the basics but also helps you understand the more detailed aspects of how to better manage or transform your acreage property.”

Learn more about the Green Acreages Guide resources and what they can do for you.


Together We Can Do More

Posted November 11, 2018 by LSC

If you work or volunteer in the non-profit sector in Alberta, or even if you’ve attended a conference or networking event recently, you’ve heard how important collaboration is in a time when more and more groups are competing to secure limited funding, stay relevant and have a real impact. Keep reading to learn how several non-profit organizations are using the power of collaboration, and thinking outside the box, to further their collective missions. You’ll be inspired to do the same!

Learning Through Experience

The Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area consists of 4,800 acres of rolling foothills land that was donated by Ann and Sandy Cross for the protection of wildlife habitat and conservation education. Inside Education was founded in 1985 with the mission of helping teachers and students to better understand the science, technology and issues related to our environment and natural resources. These two organizations have come together to combine their expertise and strengths in a complimentary, creative and collective way.

Inside Education is bringing their programming expertise and ASCC is providing the beautiful natural backdrop for a unique learning experience intended to teach students how to be engaged and responsible environmental stewards.

“By combining our expertise, and utilizing a landscape level approach, we can address many environmental topics that are a part of Alberta’s education curriculum in a unique and experiential way,” explains Kathryn Wagner, Program Director with Inside Education.
Inside Education plans to lead ongoing education classes within the ASCCA area to teach students about and give them a hands-on appreciation for sustainable agriculture practices.

“Inside Education is a well-known and respected education organization, and the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area has a rich history of conservation practices and education,” offers shares Grey Shyba, CEO at ASCCA. “Bringing our two organizations together provides a great opportunity to enhance educational programming and encourage people to treat the landscape as a community and not just a commodity.”

Growing a Network

Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is also no stranger to thinking outside the box when it comes to collaboration. In 2015, recognizing a natural alignment between their respective visions and missions, a natural cross over among their respective audiences, and a desire to utilize resources more efficiently, LSC and Nature Alberta entered into a shared-services agreement. Working together in effective and creative ways has shown to be a very productive approach to delivering consistent and stable support to the volunteer natural history organizations and stewardship groups that these organizations serve.

The success that LSC and Nature Alberta have had working together has resulted in more organizations seeking to collaborate, share resources and expand their impact. Through similar arrangements, LSC is now providing executive oversight to the Beaver Hills Biosphere (a recently designated UNESCO site), and serves as the secretariat for the Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Network (a multidisciplinary group of experts working to build the knowledge required to assist with the implementation of an ecosystem services approach in Alberta).

Investing in Each Other

Think of collaborations as an investment in proactive relationships that help reduce overhead costs, strengthen grant applications, provide more integrated services and deliver more effective programs, which ultimately increases the efficiency and impact of the organizations involved.

That said, the challenge with starting a collaboration can often lay in finding the time to explore potential opportunities, identifying shared goals and “the right fit”, and then moving from the idea stage to on-the-ground action.

“The best thing anyone can do is pick up the phone, start sharing ideas and look for places to add value,” suggests Kathryn.


Meet Kelsie Norton Our New Program Assistant

Posted November 10, 2018 by LSC

I have a deep passion for the environment which started at a young age. I thoroughly enjoy camping in the Rocky Mountains, watching wildlife and exploring water bodies. This gave me the foundation to have an overall respect for nature. It made me pursue a career in the environmental sector so I obtained a Diploma in Renewable Resources from NAIT’s Biological Science Program.

I have a very broad back ground of experience, from working with Whirling Disease, the Sturgeon River monitoring and educating about environmental awareness. Giving me industry knowledge of aquatic biology, fisheries management and how to convey these issues to all ages of a community or business.

My partner and I are recent owners of an acreage in Lac Ste. Anne County, giving me room for my passions such as exploring, gardening and spending time outdoors with family and friends. I also have a 1 year old son, who is the light in my life, and a puppy that adores the acreage just as much as we do.

I’m very delighted to bring my skills to the LSC team. The program assistant position holds many opportunities to learn and contribute on a variety of levels. Having previously been employed by Nature Alberta as a Shoreline Advisor, it provides me with a comfortable familiarity in this new position.

I look forward to engaging stewardship partners and assisting local efforts towards implementing their goals.


After the Flood

Posted July 3, 2018 by LSC

In 2017, Foothills Land Trust received a Watershed Stewardship Grant to support their Highwood River Floodway Resiliency and Restoration Project. Read on to learn how they have used the grant to protect land in perpetuity, mitigate the effects of flooding, create community champions and enhance one of Alberta’s watersheds.

Since 2006, the Watershed Stewardship Grant has provided over $1.9 million in funds to local, grassroots groups who are working hard to protect and enhance Alberta’s watersheds and water resources. In 2017, Foothills Land Trust was one of those recipients. Their project aligned harmoniously with the Government’s Water for Life Strategy. With the support of WSG funding and other funding partners, their project, to restore and maintain watershed function along the Highwood River, has had a significant impact within the greater Bow River Basin watershed.

The Power of Water
During the devastating Southern Alberta floods of 2013, the Highwood River, which is located in the Bow River Basin watershed, overflowed its banks and subsequently flooded several rural residential properties, mainly on the south side of the river. As many homes and other structures in the floodway were seriously damaged, the Government of Alberta obtained several properties through the Disaster Recovery Program and, through Foothills Land Trust, placed conservation easements (CE) on 131 acres of riparian habitat upstream of the Town of High River. These CEs are being managed by the Foothills Land Trust to protect and restore riparian habitat for flood mitigation, drought resiliency, water quality protection, and fish and wildlife habitat protection.

Protecting for the Future
Knowing how important ongoing stewardship is, and following the placement of these CEs, Foothills Land Trust formed the Spitzee Riparian Stewardship Society. The Society, which is comprised of local volunteers living near the CE properties, and which operates under the direction of the Foothills Land Trust, has been instrumental in restoring, protecting and monitoring these properties. They also raise awareness and educate the community about the importance of riparian areas, as well as responsible stewardship of the CE properties.

The Society’s efforts are directed by the Riparian Habitat Management Plan that was created by the Foothills Land Trust and the M.D. of Foothills. The document is intended to help guide the Foothills Land Trust and the Society with stewardship, restoration and monitoring of the CE land parcels in collaboration with the MD of Foothills and other project partners.

Sharing With Others
All the resources prepared by the Foothills Land Trust and the Spitzee Riparian Stewardship Society are intended for use by other watershed stewardship groups. Their CE Agreement can be used as a template for others interested in doing similar work, saving time and legal fees. Their Management Plan and Baseline Study can also be used by others as a guide for how to identify different areas for different management strategies. You can connect directly with both organizations at spitzeestewardship@gmail.com and www.foothillslandtrust.org/contact.html

Did You Know?
A Conservation Easement (CE) is a land management tool, which protects land for the purpose of preserving environmental and/or scenic and/or agriculture values, usually in perpetuity, to safeguard them for generations to come. Learn more about CEs in Alberta.

A land trust is a non-profit organization that has as one of its core objectives, the acquisition of interests in land (e.g., conservation easements) or the acquisition of land for the purpose of conservation. Most land trusts focus on conserving the biological values of land, but across the continent land trusts have been established to protect scenic, historical, agricultural and recreational lands as well. Learn more about land trusts.


Imrie House Yard Gets Facelift

Posted July 3, 2018 by LSC

Through June and July, individuals from the Edmonton Native Plant Society (ENPS) are putting their time and expertise to work at Imrie House to breathe new life into the property’s landscape.

With a focus on preserving and promoting natural habitats and plant communities, and through their work at projects like the one taking place at Imrie House, ENPS seeks to enrich the natural flora of various parks and natural areas.

ENPS members raise native plants at the City of Edmonton’s Oldman Creek Nursery and maintain a demonstration native bed at the John Janzen Nature Centre, and the Muttart Conservatory. Volunteers also care for certain parts of City of Edmonton parks as Partners in Parks.

In the photo you see ENPS volunteers in front of the native vegetation plot they are establishing at Imrie House.

As the tenant and caretaker of Imrie House, Land Stewardship Centre is extremely grateful to have ENPS and their volunteers working with us to enhance the natural beauty of this special property. We’ll post more photos as the project continues.

About Imrie House
Located along the North Saskatchewan River, Imrie House has been the home of Land Stewardship Centre’s office for several years now. Non-profits and community groups are invited to use the recently renovated meeting space. Learn more about Imrie House and renting the meeting space.


Volunteer Spotlight - Meet Mike Murray

Posted May 9, 2018 by LSC

We are pleased to introduce you to Mike Murray, Chair of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Review Committee. Mike has been a dedicated volunteer for this important program since the beginning.

Since 2006, the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG), made possible with funding from Alberta Environment and Parks, has provided much-needed funding to the province’s stewardship community to support their grassroots efforts. Nearly 140 stewardship groups have received more than $1,900,000 to develop and implement over 300 projects in communities across Alberta. Over the years, all of this has been made possible in part by the contributions of the Grant review committee consisting of volunteers from across Alberta.

Mike Murray, Chair of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Review Committee, has been a dedicated volunteer for this important program since the beginning. Mike, who is also Program Manager with the Bow River Basin Council (BRBC), has long recognized the value and importance of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG).

“The BRBC is a designated WPAC in the Alberta Government’s Water for Life Strategy and has always been a strong supporter of stewardship groups,” Mike says. “We recognized right from the beginning that the need for local on the ground organizations is critical and cannot be easily replaced or recreated, and the funding these groups receive through the WSG is critical.”

Mike explains that without the grant many community-based projects would simply not get done and this would leave a large gap in watershed management in Alberta. While stewardship groups are able to pull together local residents and stakeholders to implement on the ground, area-specific projects that benefit us all, funding to support these projects is sparse and intermittent. Stable funding sources, like the WSG, support projects in local communities, remove barriers and allow groups to concentrate on the work for which they exist.

Mike’s reasons for committing his volunteer time to the WSG program are varied. “The people on the committee are great to work with,” Mike shares. “We have a common goal of supporting stewardship activities that we know are important in protecting our precious water resources.”

Having participated on the WSG Review Committee for over 12 years, Mike is a valued and much appreciated volunteer. “These small, community groups bring invaluable knowledge, expertise and passion to their projects and all they need to grow and succeed is a little funding,” Mike says. “I’m proud to be a part of something like the WSG that enables them to be successful.”


Meet a Municipal Leader in Environmental Stewardship

Posted March 15, 2018 by LSC

Citizens often look to the provincial and federal government for leadership in environmental management and regulation. While these entities are central to Canada’s environmental policy and decision making process, Alberta’s municipal governments also play a key role in setting standards, developing policy, delivering programs and being innovators in environmental stewardship within their jurisdictions. Today, we shine a light on a local municipality, Parkland County, and learn how they are setting themselves apart as a leader and champion of stewardship in Alberta.

Diverse landscape, diverse population

Parkland County is a unique and diverse municipality. It faces rural pressures – from hamlets, agriculture and country residential, and lakeshore communities, as well as urban pressures from larger neighbouring municipalities such as the Cities of Spruce Grove and Edmonton. These, coupled with a diverse landscape (wetlands, lakes, streams, prime agricultural lands, natural resources) and wide-ranging land use (agriculture, resource development and extraction, recreation, industrial), makes managing the Parkland County landscape a complex task. However, this has not stopped them from finding solutions to and implementing sound stewardship programs.

“Our County approaches environmental stewardship and management in a balanced, holistic manner,” shares Megan McFall, Sustainability Coordinator with Parkland County.

To meet the needs of its diverse population and varied landscape, Parkland County offers several stewardship programs, each geared towards a specific audience. The programs include Green Acreages, ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) and Guide to Waterfront Living. Many of Parkland’s programs are voluntary and they incorporate incentives for landowners to implement best management practices.

“We provide incentives for those who choose to provide a public service on private land by conserving our ecosystems. “Megan explains. “We provide information and funding to remove barriers and ensure residents are able to establish innovative stewardship projects that benefit the greater community.”

A concerted effort

While these County programs have been doing well, and hundreds of acres have been put into the production of ecosystem services, success has not come overnight or without obstacles. Megan explains that running environmental programs can be difficult if there are no policies and procedures in place within the organization to aid in a program’s success. So, all of these efforts are supported by the County’s Environmental Conservation Master Plan, Council’s Long-Term Strategic Plan, Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and Municipal Development Plan. Success also requires the support of County staff, and the Community Sustainability Department, responsible for implementing these programs, has grown from a single summer student in 2011 to eight full time and part time staff.

When asked what one piece of advice Parkland County would offer to other municipalities wanting to develop and implement environmental programs, the response is a resounding “listen to your residents.”

“Many programs are not as successful as they could be because not enough time was spent incorporating residents’ needs or feedback into the development of a program,” Megan adds. To ensure success of their own programs, Parkland County confirmed there was a targeted need in the community and developed their program accordingly to address those needs.

An important role

Municipalities play an important role as stewards of the environment; from establishing appropriate policies and by-laws to developing and delivering effective stewardship and extension programs. It is also up to them how innovative and proactive they choose to be in this arena. Parkland County has purposefully decided to be an innovator in environmental management, and it is only a matter of time before more municipalities see the benefit in following their lead.

“The County has taken a long-term, strategic approach to how it can promote balanced growth, ensure healthy ecosystems, build sustainable communities and diversify the economy,” Megan concludes. “The uptake and success of our stewardship programs is a strong indicator that this approach is working.”

Learn more about Parkland County’s environmental programs.


Meet our New Team Member

Posted March 14, 2018 by LSC

Help us welcome Elisa Valade to the Land Stewardship team.

Elisa holds a degree in Environmental Policy and Practice from the University of Toronto. She has been exploring her interest in environmental conservation through the ecosystem services program with Alberta Innovates over the past five years.

More recently, she has been developing her skills and expertise in stakeholder engagement, outreach and communication as the Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator for the Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Network (ESBN).

A long-time partner in the ESBN, Land Stewardship Centre has recently taken on the role of providing administrative and operational support to the Network. This includes making Elisa part of the LSC family.

Elisa is excited to apply her skills and further develop these capacities as a member of the Land Stewardship Centre team in her new role as Project Coordinator for ESBN.

Connect with Elisa

Learn more about ESBN


Build Trust, Provide Support, Protect a Watershed

Posted March 13, 2018 by LSC

The Vermillion River Watershed Alliance’s (VRWA) vision is simple – a healthy and sustainable watershed. With a concerted effort, a lot of relationship building, and some financial incentives to support on-the-ground activities, this small, collaborative watershed group is bringing their vision to life through projects to restore drained wetlands.

A focused effort

In an effort to ensure a healthy and sustainable watershed, and to safeguard Alberta’s vulnerable water resources, VRWA is advancing the objectives outlined in the Vermilion River Watershed Management Plan through their Vermilion River Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Project (VRWREP). The main goal of the VRWREP project is to restore or enhance wetlands and riparian areas within the Vermilion River Watershed.

“This watershed has been a priority consideration for both flood and drought mitigation,” explains Mara Erickson, Extension & Stewardship Coordinator for the VRWA. “Healthy wetlands and riparian areas are an important piece of this puzzle which is why they are the focus of this project.”

Reduce barriers

More often than not, these wetland and riparian areas are on private land. While many landowners are interested in and would like to do restoration activities on their land, the financial requirements for projects of this nature can a barrier. The VRWREP project helps address this issue by partnering with private landowners who are interested in doing restoration work on their land, and providing them with financial incentives to support their efforts.

“This is a win-win situation,” says Mara. “We help ease the financial burden and the landowners are responsible for the actual restoration and enhancement activities.”

In the words of one participating landowner who fenced off livestock access to the Vermilion River, “The cost to do this type of work can be prohibitive for a landowner. But with [financial] support, projects that improve water quality along the river, and have long term environmental benefits for people, wildlife, vegetation, can become a reality.”

Collaborate to succeed

To date, VRWA has worked with 26 landowners to implement 33 projects, resulting in 4500 tree seedlings planted in degraded wetland areas, and over 125 hectares of wetlands and riparian areas enhanced or restored. Through the project, VRWA engaged more than 10 partner groups and municipalities and, through a partnership with the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, utilized three separate sources of funding: the Government of Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency & Restoration Program, Environment & Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) National Wetland Conservation Fund, and ECCC’s EcoAction Community Funding Program.

“Working with partners really helped us achieve success and everyone played an important role,” Mara adds. “Local municipalities were instrumental in spreading the word to landowners about the funding opportunity.”

Trust supports success

Mara says that the key to establishing successful partnerships is to first build trust. Community involvement, listening to potential participants’ stories, and understanding their concerns and values is critical to designing a project that will work on the ground. Mara adds that restoration activities have to make both ecological as well as economic sense for the one making the operation change.

Learn more about VRWA and their VRWREP project.


10 Tips for Writing the Best Grant Application

Posted January 22, 2018 by LSC

Land Stewardship Centre is pleased to once again be accepting applications for the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG). If you have a project in mind to enhance, protect or restore Alberta’s precious water resources, consider applying. Stewardship and synergy groups, naturalist organizations, recreational and community associations, and other non-profits can apply. We invite and encourage creative, innovative and collaborative projects.

As you think about preparing your grant application, our new Stewardship Program Coordinator, Alexandra Frederickson, has put together 10 tips and suggestions that will help make your grant application the best it can be:

  1. Contact the Program Coordinator to get feedback on your project. The Program Coordinator can provide insight and feedback on whether your group is eligible, if your project is aligned with WSG priorities as well as suggestions for ways to improve your application.
  2. Read the Application Process document and other program resources on the WSG webpage. After consulting with the Program Coordinator, it’s suggested you read through all these documents to gain insight into what the WSG is, what the grant has funded in the past and what the criteria and restrictions are. With this understanding of the WSG, you can begin to shape your proposal accordingly.
  3. Ensure your project is aligned with at least one of the key priorities identified by Alberta Environment and Parks. The WSG was created to support the Alberta Government’s Water for Life Strategy so it is important to ensure that your project aligns with one or more of the 6 listed priorities, found in Application Process document. In your application, clearly show the link between your project and the priority you are addressing.
  4. Be concise and to the point. Groups often struggle to hit the right balance between providing sufficient detail while still remaining concise. Strive to adequately describe all aspects of your project – act like the person reading the application has never heard of your project or group – while keeping answers clear, concise and free from repetition or jargon.
  5. Make sure the budget balances (meaning expenses and revenues are equal) and that all costs indicated are associated directly with your project. You want to ensure that your written proposal and budget are telling the same story. Please also ensure that WSG limits (i.e. 75% max of budget for wages/salaries, etc.) for the budget are respected (these restrictions can be found in the Application Form).
  6. Have realistic goals and measureable outcomes. Make sure that your project outcomes make sense give the time-frame and budget, and ensure that there are ways of evaluating these outcomes (i.e. if you’re planning on holding an event, you might say you hope to reach 100 people and that event attendance will be tracked via EventBrite with participants being sent a follow-up survey).
  7. Think out-side-the-box. While your organization may have applied to the WSG in the past for similar projects, think about how this year’s project can be more creative or innovative to highlight that you are continually evolving to meet current needs. In addition, is there something you can add to your project, like an educational initiative or other, to meet more than one of the WSG key priorities? Projects that meet more than one priority are more likely to be funded.
  8. Are there ways you can partner with others? We encourage you to visit LSC’s Stewardship Directory, and Synergy Alberta’s and Nature Alberta’s Club Directories for a list of stewardship, synergy and naturalist organizations in Alberta. You can also think of industry, municipalities, WPACs or larger non-profits – all of those entities are eligible to partner with for the WSG. Partnering with other groups who are performing similar work reduces redundancies and increases your projects impact. Partnering with others also provides cash and in-kind contributions to your project which only strengthens your application.
  9. Utilize additional supporting documents and information. Include letters of support, maps or any other document you think will highlight how your group can be successful and impactful in your efforts, is suggested for a strong application. Be creative with the additional documents- was your groups good work featured in a newspaper article? Do you have letters of support from multiple sources? Do you have before and after photos from a previous restoration project to highlight past efforts and successes?
  10. Completely answer all questions. While this may seem simple, it is important since incomplete applications are not accepted. Double checking your application and making sure everything has been addressed and included is recommended.

Have questions?

For more information, contact the Stewardship Program Coordinator by email or phone 1–877–727–5276 extension 225.


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted November 15, 2017 by LSC

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 November 2017 issue of Grassroots News: Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards.

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


Stewardship Showcase: Floating Islands?

Posted November 14, 2017 by LSC

Floating islands? Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. But you might be surprised to know you can actually find them in Alberta. Meet the group that is taking lake and watershed stewardship to the next level through their innovative approach to tackling environmental issues on a popular Alberta recreational lake.

More than 10 years ago, residents of Wizard Lake and the surrounding area came together with a shared concern for and commitment to preserving the lake’s water quality and to promote a safe environment for recreational use. In 2006, they formed the Wizard Lake Watershed & Lake Stewardship Association (WLWLSA) that is still going strong today.

“We offer educational programming and information to residents to promote how to be a good steward of the lake,” shares Blake Bartlett, Chair of the Association. “In everything we do, we work hard to build a special community around Wizard Lake for residents and users alike.”

That mindset led members of WLWLSA to attend a seminar in Leduc County in 2016 at which a presenter discussed the benefits of floating islands and spoke about how these islands can remove excess nutrients and contaminants from ponds and lakes without the use of chemicals. The floating islands, although small in size, can have a big impact on the lake by tackling several environmental issues.

“We walked away from that seminar asking if these islands could perhaps assist Wizard Lake as well as showcase a new and innovative stewardship tool on our lake,” explains Blake.

In 2017–2018, the WLWLSA received funding support through Land Stewardship Centre’s Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) program to install a biohaven system – a system of floating islands – on Wizard Lake. Each island will have specific objectives, from enhancing fish habitat and loon nesting, to managing shoreline erosion and water clarity. With their system, and a floating island now successfully installed, WLWLSA hopes to see them well-utilized as a safe haven for loons, providing shade and food to fish in the lake below, increasing water quality through the removal of excess nutrients and dispersing wave action from boats to protect the shoreline.

While a few other municipalities and organizations across Alberta have installed floating islands in dam/reservoir situations, Blake and the Association believe their project is unique since it is applied to a recreational lake setting.

“It’s important to preserve recreational lakes for Albertans to enjoy, yet our greater challenge is to ensure Albertans understand why it’s important,” adds Blake. “So, through this project, we also work hard to inform residents and users of the lake about our stewardship efforts and explain why what we do is so vital.”

Blake is also quick to point out that the Association and its committed volunteers couldn’t do what they do without the support of funding programs like the WSG. He adds that the WSG funding is essential to assisting small, volunteer-driven stewardship organizations to deliver top-notch projects that protect Alberta’s watersheds.

Get to know more about the WLWLSA.

Learn more about the WSG program

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. In that time, Land Stewardship Centre has administered more than $1,700,000 to 127 grassroots watershed stewardship groups to develop and implement nearly 300 projects in communities across Alberta.

Visit the Watershed Stewardship Grant pages to learn more about the WSG and how to apply.


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted September 19, 2017 by LSC

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.


Partner Shout Out

Posted July 17, 2017 by LSC

As a non-profit organization we’re always looking for ways and means to support our various project and programs. The Alberta Real Estate Foundation has been an important contributor to and champion of Land Stewardship Centre over the years; especially our Green Acreages Guide program. So we want to take this opportunity to say thank you to them for their support.

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) was founded in 1991 to enhance the real estate industry and benefit the people of Alberta. Created under the Real Estate Act, after years of discussion between industry leaders and officials in the provincial government, the Foundation started making an impact right away by funding initiatives to help educate and train real estate professionals.

The Foundation’s revenue is generated by real estate transactions across the province. When a home buyer deposits money in trust through a real estate broker, the interest that’s earned on the deposit is accumulated and forwarded to the Foundation for reinvestment in Alberta’s communities.

For more than 25 years, AREF has supported hundreds of projects that have enhanced the real estate industry and benefited the people of Alberta. Over the years, AREF has broadened their scope to fund diverse projects in the areas of: Community Innovation, Education and Research, Housing, Industry Leadership, and Land Stewardship and Environment.

AREF has been a supporter of Land Stewardship Centre for many years now. We received our first grant from the Foundation in 2007 for the Green Communities Guide as well as support for the 2009 National Stewardship Conference. The Foundation also saw value in supporting our Green Acreages Guide program from the start – they were among the first to fund our Green Acreages Guide Primer and Workbook in 2012. In 2015, with inventory of our Primer in short supply and demand high, AREF helped fund the refresh and re-print of the Primer as well as the development of a new chapter on resource development and extraction for the Workbook.

From our perspective, working with AREF has been a pleasure; they have contributed not only funding but also provided advice and contributed ideas that helped make our projects better. With their involvement we have been able to enhance and grow our Green Acreages Guide program; a program that continues to assist Realtors, acreage owners, municipalities and community groups to be better stewards of our land and natural resources.

We thank AREF for their long-standing support and look forward to the opportunity to work together in the future.

Learn more about AREF.


Stewardship Showcase

Posted July 15, 2017 by LSC

Have you heard about what this group is doing? We’re pleased to introduce you to the Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council and their unique and innovative wetland restoration and ATV trail enhancement project.

Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council

Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area, which runs along approximately 30 km of the North Saskatchewan River, contains many kilometers of unmanaged off-highway vehicle (ATV) trails. These trails traverse several wetland and watercourse features in the river’s riparian ecosystem. The current layout and extensive use of these trails has resulted in severe vegetation loss, erosion, compaction and sedimentation of wetlands in this area.

For a small, non-profit organization, the magnitude of the Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council’s recent wetland restoration/trail enhancement project in the area is impressive, to say the least. Now in its second year of a three year project, and with a project budget of three quarters of a million dollars, the Council has completed a significant wetland restoration and extensive trail enhancements. Twenty-three small wetlands (21 hectares in total), scattered along 21 km of a trail system previously disturbed by seismic lines, pipelines, and well pads, and subsequently off-highway vehicles, have been restored. In addition, three flowing watercourses now have bridges. An additional 20 km of ATV trails have been closed and ATV traffic re-routed.

Executive Director of the Council, Peter Lee and his group credit Land Stewardship Centre’s Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Program for helping to get the project rolling.

“The WSG funding we received help get this project off the ground because we could use these funds specifically to support our project planning,” offers Peter. “This is something a lot of grants do not allow, but it was critical to our ability to leverage other funds and that set the stage for the success of this initiative.”

The magnitude of the project is not the only thing that makes it stands out. What also makes this project unique is that the Council was tackling wetland restoration and trail enhancements within a provincially protected area regulated under the Provincial Parks Act.

“Because we are working in a regulated area, there are certain restrictions and expectations in place that presented unique challenges we had to overcome,” explains Peter. “Challenges included flowing watercourses whose banks and riparian habitats were being over-run with ATVs, and trail braiding and rutting.”

When beginning their project, the Council felt it was not appropriate to simply prohibit further access to the area by recreators who have accessed these public lands for the past thirty years. So not only did they enhance and restore disturbed wetlands, they created a safer ATV trail system that will allow continued use of the area by families recreating outdoors with all-terrain vehicles. The Council hopes this project can be a template for not only how other groups can tackle wetland restoration within provincially protected areas that allow ATVs, but also becomes a model of best practices for similar management issues on all public lands that allow ATVs.

Peter is also quick to share the Council’s gratitude to all the individuals and organizations (more than 12 partners overall) who contributed to the success of this project. Partners included Alberta Parks, University of Alberta, Arc Resources, Gen7 Environmental Solutions Ltd., DV Rentals Inc., Drayton Sand and Gravel (2003) Ltd., Built for U, Redneck Fencing and Cattle Co., Nelson Bros, 5 Star Locating Ltd., and Karach Welding and Construction, as well as Land Stewardship Centre.

“We received tremendous support from the community to undertake this restoration work,” adds Peter. “They provided not only cash, but also in-kind and moral support. We couldn’t have done this without them. It is an exciting project for the Eagle Point – Blue Rapids Parks Council and for the residents of the Brazeau County and Town of Drayton Valley.”

More Info

The Eagle Point Provincial Park and Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area conserves an important wildlife corridor between the Foothills Natural Region, the Boreal Natural Region and the Aspen Parkland. The Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council manages and protects this area.

Are you a community stewardship group with a watershed project that needs support? Learn more about the Watershed Stewardship Grant program.


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted November 11, 2016 by LSC

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.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find in the November 10, 2016 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

Stewardship Showcase – Reaching Out to Realtors
Alexandra Frederickson, Land Stewardship Centre’s Outreach Coordinator, speaks with Ross Chudleigh from Clearwater County about their recent extension efforts with Realtors, and how this contributed to tangible changes in rural real estate training in Alberta.

The Power of Sharing
Through the use of sub-watershed alliances, the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance is bringing people together to tackle environmental issues affecting the region’s water supply.

Diving Deep for a Solution
One Alberta organization is harnessing the power of and passion behind scuba diving to help protect Alberta’s lakes.

And much more…

Check out the whole issue >>

Don’t miss another issue. Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted July 20, 2016 by LSC

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.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find in the July 20, 2016 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

Stewardship Showcase – Incentives: The Key to Conservation?
The ALUS program is bringing landowners and municipalities together to enhance and conserve ecosystem services.

Out and About
Land Stewardship Centre’s Outreach Coordinator, Alexandra Frederickson, shares what she learned from her time at the inaugural Western Canada Fundraising Conference.

Good News for Septic Sense
The initiative has received some much-needed funding and will start offering workshops this fall.

And much more…

Check out the whole issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted March 10, 2016 by LSC

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.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the March 10, 2016 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Stewardship Showcase: Lakes of Parkland County
  • Perspective: A new Grassroots News feature that should make you think
  • Putting Beavers to Work
  • And much more

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted September 21, 2015 by LSC

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.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the September 21, 2015 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Fall 2015 Watershed Stewardship Grant Announced
  • Working Well: the People Behind the Program
  • What Stewardship Groups Really Do
  • Out and About

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted July 8, 2015 by LSC

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.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the July 8, 2015 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Stewardship Showcase: Western Sky Land Trust
  • What We’re Reading
  • Living by Water
  • Out and About

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted May 7, 2015 by LSC

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.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the May 7, 2015 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • 6 Must-Have Stewardship Tools
  • Water for a Lifetime
  • Stewardship Showcase – The Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society
  • Getting Water Wise

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get your Grassroots News

Posted March 17, 2015 by LSC

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.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the March 17, 2015 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Watershed Stewardship Grants are Back
  • LSC Launches Online Store
  • Septic Smart: Solutions for Rural Living
  • Stewards in Motion Wraps Up
  • The Stewardship Toolbox

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get your Grassroots News

Posted December 4, 2014 by LSC

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.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the December 4, 2014 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Stewards in Motion 2014
  • Keeping Your Septic System Healthy
  • Stewardship Showcase – Love the Lake
  • Be a Great Place to Volunteer

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get your Grassroots News

Posted September 24, 2014 by LSC

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.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the September 25, 2014 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Stewards in Motion Returns
  • Meet Land Stewardship Centre’s New Outreach Coordinator
  • What’s in Your Water?
  • Ecosystems Services Assessment Project

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get your Grassroots News

Posted April 30, 2014 by LSC

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.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the April 30, 2014 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Help Design the Future of Alberta
  • ReFresh – A Conference on Water Reuse
  • Stewards in Motion Returns
  • Stewardship Showcase

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted July 18, 2013 by LSC

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.

Here’s what you’ll find in the July 18, 2013 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Municipality Invests in Local Landowners
  • 2013 Watershed Stewardship Grant Projects
  • To Give Away – Tabletop Displays
  • Medicine Hat Hosts Stewards in Motion
  • Stewardship Showcase

Check out this issue >>

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Posted May 21, 2013 by LSC

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.

Here’s what you’ll find in the May 21, 2013 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • 2013 Watershed Stewardship Grant Recipients
  • ASN Program Coordinator Changes
  • Central Alberta Hosts Stewards in Motion
  • Stewardship Showcase – Ghost Watershed Alliance Society

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>


Get Your Grassroots News

Posted November 5, 2012 by LSC

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.

Here’s what you’ll find in the November 5, 2012 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Join us for Stewards in Motion 2012–2013
  • 2012 Watershed Stewardship Grant Recipients
  • South Saskatchewan Regional Plan Phase Two Consultations
  • Video: Overview of Land Use in Alberta
  • Stewardship Showcase – Red Deer River Watershed Alliance Outreach Program

Check out this issue >>

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Get Your Grassroots News

Posted May 14, 2012 by LSC

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.

Here’s what you’ll find in the May 11, 2012 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Penn West to Fund Local Watershed Stewardship Projects
  • Get Connected With New Online Stewardship Directory
  • Study Builds Understanding of Wetland Ecosystem Services
  • Stewardship Showcase – Rocky View County Cultivates Stewardship
  • Funding for Tree Planting Available

Check out this issue >>

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Get Your Grassroots News

Posted March 7, 2012 by LSC

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.

Here’s what you’ll find in the March 7, 2012 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Introducing the Green Acreages Guide
  • New Online Stewardship Directory to Launch in March
  • Water Well Management for Well Owners: March Workshops
  • Stewardship Showcase – Take it Off
  • Conservation Easement Registry Now Online
  • Edmonton and Area Land Trust is Hiring

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>