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Meet the 2024 Watershed Stewardship Grant Recipients





May. 24, 2024

Every year, stewardship groups inspire with their dedication to on the ground activities that enhance, protect and restore Alberta’s precious water resources. It is rewarding to see the reach and diversification of stewardship activities supported by the Watershed Stewardship Grant program from year to year. Keep reading and get to know the groups that received 2024 funding and learn how they will put these important dollars to work in communities across Alberta.

We gratefully acknowledge Alberta Environment and Protected Areas as the core funder of the WSG and thank them for continuing to directly invest in essential community stewardship initiatives like these.

Alberta Lake Management Society

The Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS) brings together lake watershed stewards to share information, build relationships and encourage dialogue on key watershed issues. This year, ALMS will host a series of meetings where stewards, including Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils, Watershed Stewardship Groups, individual stewards and partner organizations, share their work and engage in a community of practice to increase knowledge across stewardship groups and facilitate discussion on issues facing lake watersheds and stewardship groups.

Tawatinaw Watershed Working Group (Athabasca Watershed Council )

Now in its second year, the Tawatinaw Watershed Working Group, with the help of the Athabasca Watershed Council, is dedicated to protecting the unique landscape of the Tawatinaw river watershed, an area of rich biodiversity impacted by development and human recreation. Through citizen science and on-the-ground stewardship projects, the working group is increasing awareness of the valley and the challenges it faces, and encouraging riparian restoration and improving stream connectivity, bringing biodiversity back to this important ecosystem.

Beaver Hills Watershed Stewardship Society

The Beaver Hills Watershed Stewardship Society (BHWSS) was formed in 2023 to meet the need for increased interest in studying and improving the Beaver Hills Watershed. The BHWSS will expand sampling and assessment of the watershed and identify areas for restoration. Engaging community members in citizen science will increase awareness of the issues facing the watershed and engage the community in monitoring lake health.

Bighill Creek Preservation Society

The Bighill Creek Preservation Society stewards 40 acres of land in the Bighill Creek Valley. Building on previous year’s work, the Society will continue their efforts creating a State of the Watershed report. Compiling six years of data, the Society will focus their efforts this year on designing and writing the report. The report will be packaged for the public, providing valuable information on the watershed’s health and inspiring residents and visitors to defend the watershed.

Nose Creek Watershed Partnership  (Bow River Basin Council )

The Nose Creek Watershed Partnership is in Phase III of their Hydrologic, Hydraulic and Water Quality Model project. Following the drought conditions last year, the Partnership will collect data across wet and dry conditions to validate water quality results. With the support of the University of Calgary, this phase will also include more frequent water sampling. Compiling data from the last three years, they will create an easy-to-understand report for the public.

Crooked Creek Conservancy Society of Athabasca

Coordinating with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Crooked Creek Conservancy Society of Athabasca will collect samples to submit to the national project to study microplastics and nanoplastics in amphibians. The project will include fieldwork on public and private land, a public presentation on plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems, and a nature walk to educate the community about the importance of wetlands in watershed health.

Foothills Land Trust

The Foothills Land Trust will conduct Riparian Health Assessments (RHA) on seven properties to measure watershed health. Through these RHAs, they will identify threats to water quality, such as invasive species, and implement mitigation measures. The key findings will be summarized and made available to the public on the Foothills Land Trust website to promote awareness of the challenges facing watersheds.

Friends of Fish Creek

As Calgary continues to grow, Friends of Fish Creek is developing a watershed management plan to ensure the continued sustainability of the park’s ecosystem. The Friends’ project focuses on the ongoing riparian health of Fish Creek through reestablishing native riparian vegetation, restoring banks of concern to improve hydrologic processes and diversifying restoration approaches. Throughout the project, they will continue to monitor and assess riparian health around Fish Creek to understand the impact of this work and contribute to park planning.

Ghost Watershed Alliance Society

Ghost Watershed Alliance Society (GWAS) collaborates with partners around the watershed to improve watershed health and promote watershed literacy. This year, GWAS will continue engaging the community through another season of Creekwatch, a water-monitoring citizen science program; continuing to host their popular Walks in the Watershed program, connecting people with nature; and working with partners to promote responsible, effective watershed management. By empowering the public through outreach and education, and partnering with local groups, GWAS will continue taking concrete steps towards a healthier watershed.

Living Lakes Canada

In partnership with the Oldman Watershed Council, Living Lakes Canada will develop a framework for monitoring groundwater aquifers across Alberta. Data collected during monitoring will then be shared with Watershed Stewardship Groups, municipalities, First Nations, the University of Calgary and the provincial government to expand the framework into practice across the province.

Marina Bay Watershed Stewardship Society

Spearheaded by passionate residents, the Marina Bay Watershed Stewardship Society will investigate and mitigate high levels of phosphorous in Sylvan Lake. Working with partners, the project will include data collection as well as education and outreach, encouraging residents to be better stewards of the lake. With the data collected, they plan to create a watershed management strategy in cooperation with the Town of Sylvan Lake.

Jumpingpound Creek Watershed Partnership

The Jumpingpound Creek Watershed Partnership last compiled a State of the Watershed report in 2018. Since then, further monitoring and research on water quality, riparian health inventory data, studies of animals as indicators of watershed health and wetland and beaver investigations on water storage has been conducted. The data from this research will be collected and shared with the Bow River Basin Council, local landowners, residents and ranchers to improve management practices and increase watershed resiliency. They will hold a community workshop to share the findings with residents and stakeholders.

Mayatan Lake Management Association

In the fourth and final year of this project, Mayatan Lake Management Association will draw on previous year’s data to create an educational video, Lakes of Parkland County: More Than Meets the Eye. The video will highlight the area’s unique beauty, as well as the challenges facing the area, incorporating the data the group has been collecting over the last three years.

Peerless Trout First Nation

The Peerless Trout First Nation’s project includes identifying and protecting areas that have historically served as refugia. Through monitoring and conservation planning, the Nation will work to protect the refugia from human disturbance and climate change, implementing restoration and reducing emissions, promoting better aquatic ecosystem health.

Pigeon Lake Watershed Association

Pigeon Lake Watershed Association’s (PLWA) mission is to enhance, preserve and protect Pigeon Lake for generations to come. In pursuit of that mission, PLWA participates in several programs to monitor watershed conditions and encourage citizen engagement. These programs include LakeObservers, which monitors changes in shoreline, fish and wildlife; CreekWatch, which measures nutrient loading in the lake; Mussel Monitoring, to detect invasive species of mussels, among many other programs. Their focus this year is increasing community engagement, signing up new citizen scientists and growing the citizen science program.

CreekWatch / RiverWatch

Now in its tenth year, CreekWatch is a community-based environmental monitoring program offered by RiverWatch. CreekWatch empowers citizen science, providing volunteers with portable water monitoring labs and training to accurately monitor water quality and be inspired to become better stewards of the watershed. This year, RiverWatch is creating more portable labs to expand the amount of data uploaded to the RiverWatch website. Along with expanded portable lab access, they will engage more citizens and community groups in the CreekWatch program.

Trout Unlimited Canada

Building on previous year’s work, Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) will use Low Tech Process-Based Restoration to rehabilitate streams in the Porcupine Hills. This method restores floodplain connectivity and natural processes to support Cutthroat and Bull Trout populations. Through these enhancements, ecological balance is restored, providing refuge, overwintering habitats and foraging opportunities for native fish species. TUC will also take on bioengineering projects to repair riparian areas in the valley impacted by recreational use.

Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association

This project will carry on the momentum growing around beaver and human coexistence in the Waterton Biosphere Region. The Biosphere will host workshops for landowners interested in adopting coexistence tools, strengthen capacity to assist landowners with beaver coexistence measures and share knowledge about the vital role of beavers in the ecosystem through youth education, engaging future stewards.

Weaselhead-Glenmore Park Preservation Society

Weaselhead-Glenmore Park Preservation Society (WGPPS) will be expanding its Invasive Plant Program this year, focusing on public education and engagement. Through citizen engagement, the program works to control invasive plants in the park. WGPPS hosts workshops to educate the public about invasive species identification, building awareness of the impacts of invasive species and offering strategies for managing, removing and preventing invasive species from taking hold in the park. The focus of the program is spotted knapweed, a noxious weed that disrupts aquatic ecosystems, displaces native vegetation and contributes to erosion. Through their efforts, the elimination of spotted knapweed from the park is achievable.

Wizard Lake Watershed and Stewardship Association

Following the success of their 2023 informational signage project, Wizard Lake Watershed and Stewardship Association (WLWSA) is expanding the signage on trails within the watershed, focusing on species at risk. Each sign will focus on a different species at risk in the Wizard Lake Watershed, including a photo and description, along with its habitat, threats and its status. Through the signage, WLWSA will expand the public’s knowledge of the watershed and empower residents and visitors to protect species at risk.

Woodland Cree First Nation

The Woodland Cree First Nation’s project is a six-day boat trip on the Peace River, in cooperation with the Canadian Voyageur Brigade Society. Indigenous youth from the community will have the opportunity to earn school credits and learn from surveyors, environmental leaders and nonprofits about the Mighty Peace Watershed. The trip will inspire and inform youth to be stewards of the watershed and reconnect them with the watershed.