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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.

Annual Report Card 2016-2017

Posted June 27, 2017 by LSC

Strength in Numbers

Why are numbers so important? Numbers are everywhere; connected to everything we do. We use them to measure time spent and dollars earned. We track people engaged, resources distributed and pages ‘liked’. Numbers gauge effort and define results. Numbers help set us apart and make us strong. We find comfort in the numbers; they’ve had a definite effect on us this year, that’s for sure. We also count you among our ‘number’ and thank you for your support.

Here’s a snapshot of our past year by the numbers. You can also check out the print version of the 2016–2017 Report Card.

813 subscribers

Growing steadily in numbers since 2011, our loyal Grassroots News subscribers stay connected with what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and read about the positive and important impact stewardship initiatives are having on conserving and protecting the province’s natural resources. Join us; subscribe to Grassroots News today.

48 stewards

In March 2017, we partnered with Beaver River Watershed Alliance to help bring their Water Stewardship Forum to life. The successful event brought together representatives from Summer Villages, urban and rural municipalities, ENGOs, First Nations, WPACs to learn what various agencies and organizations are doing in the watershed, identify and prioritize relevant issues in the watershed and discuss how best to collaborate to address priority issues in the watershed. Learn more about Beaver River Watershed Alliance.

3 new board members

Our Board of Directors bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise from diverse backgrounds and experiences. This year we welcomed new directors Warren Noga, Corey Graham and Jodie Hierlmeier to the table. Learn more about all of our Board of Directors.

45% more Twitter followers

We’re reaching out to people through social media and people are joining in. Last year we promoted over 50 municipalities and community groups, environmental programs, funding opportunities and events to support the stewardship community in Alberta. We also hosted our first ever social media contest encouraging people to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

18,728 new web visitors

We are really happy that so many new people took the time to learn more about who we are and what we have to offer. This tells us that websites still matter, so we’ll continue to grow and refresh to keep you coming back.

$925,000 multi-year stewardship funding

After some uncertainty, in December 2016, we were happy to announce that the provincial government reinstated financial support for the highly successful and in-demand Watershed Stewardship Grant program. This multi-year funding will enable grassroots stewardship groups to help protect Alberta’s water resources in communities across Alberta.

$35,000 creative sentencing grant

Alberta Environment and Parks, Justice Liaison directed these funds to our Watershed Stewardship Grant program so they could be allocated to on-the-ground projects to protect, improve or restore aquatic and riparian habitat throughout the province. These funds supported five projects from four stewardship groups: Clear Water Landcare, Eagle Point―Blue Rapids Parks Council, Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society and Ridge Reservoir Working Group.

4 months

With funding from Alberta Culture and Tourism’s Community Facility Enhancement Program, we were able to renovate the garage of our historic office space, Imrie House, into a fully functional boardroom and meeting place. This transformed space, with its stunning view of the North Saskatchewan River and the natural river valley landscape, is available to non-profits and others to use for meetings, workshops and more.

100 leaders engaged

On behalf of the Ecosystem Services Biodiversity Network, we facilitated a series of six workshops in an effort to support the development of a recognized, comprehensive ecosystem services approach that can be adopted by governments, resource-based industries, landowners and land managers, and conservation organizations. Leaders from provincial and municipal government, forestry and agriculture industries, and several ENGOs gathered at these workshops to discuss the building blocks required to successfully apply an ecosystem services approach as identified through the Ecosystem Services Roadmap.

630 acreage and rec property owners

With funding from Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions, in partnership with the Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association (AOWMA), and with the support of 18 host stewardship groups and municipalities across Alberta, we delivered 19 Septic Sense workshops to 630 acreage and rec property owners from January through March 2017. At the workshops, landowners received the information, resources and support they need to help them responsibly manage their septic systems.

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