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New Green Acreages Guide Primer Now Available

Posted May 15, 2017 by LSC

Hot off the presses

We’ve refreshed and reprinted our popular Green Acreages Guide Primer.

In addition to new and updated links in “Further Resources”, the Primer now includes information for acreages owners on “Resource Development and Extraction” and “Easements and Rights-of-Way”.

Order your free hard copies today – you just pay shipping and handling (Green Acreages Guide Primers are shipped in bundles of 25). They are available in our online store.

Or download a copy of the updated Primer in PDF from our website.

Meet the 2017 Watershed Stewardship Grant Recipients

Posted May 2, 2017 by LSC

Community stewardship groups are making a difference in watersheds and communities across Alberta. Read on to learn how these 22 groups will be putting stewardship into action with the help of their 2017 Watershed Stewardship Grants (WSG).

The Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area (ASCCA) partnered with CreekWatch Alberta to collect and test water samples from the north and south arms of Pine Creek for turbidity, phosphorus, and pH, dissolved oxygen, chloride, ammonia nitrogen and temperature. To improve volunteer involvement with CreekWatch going forward, the ASCCA received funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant to construct a platform area where volunteers can safely collect and test samples. In addition, WSG funding supported the purchase of new equipment, including digital water testing kits that utilize fewer chemicals, to make collecting data more accurate and convenient.

The Antler Lake Stewardship Committee, in partnership with the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, received funding to produce a State of the Watershed (SOW) report for Antler Lake. The committee will collect historical data and utilize preliminary research and monitoring efforts to create a SOW which can be used to develop an action plan to guide future conservation efforts.

The Bighill Creek Preservation Society will be working with Dr. Ymène Fouli, Water Quality Consulting Ltd. and Cows and Fish to collect baseline data for the watershed, including water quality, aquatic species and fisheries and riparian health. A baseline study has never been conducted on the creek and the society will utilize this data with the goal of maintaining and enhancing water quality through the implementation of an evidence-based plan and utilize recommendations from the baseline plan to maximize water quality of the creek.

Calgary River Valleys received funding to undertake a multifaceted project to tell the story of their Redd Counts project, initiated in 2009, illustrating how the data collected is used for the protection and benefit of the river environment particularly the spawning grounds of fish in the Bow River Basin. The project included a research component and analysis of data, the production of a video, educational seminars and a Brown Trout Redd Count conducted in 2017 in the Lower Elbow River.

Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition has performed watershed restoration work in the Castle River and its tributaries for the past fifteen years, with a focus on removal of invasive terrestrial plants. In 2017, a portion of the Castle will become an Alberta Provincial Park, reducing or eliminating the use of motorized recreation thus making weed removal even more effective. This year, the coalition will continue removal of invasive plants and increase capacity by engaging more staff and volunteers in this work, and by acquiring and appropriately using new and additional techniques to continually expand ecologically restored areas.

The Elbow River Watershed Partnership’s project will include the creation of an interpretive walking/biking/snowshoe path loop in West Bragg Creek. The trail will have four to five signs on the 1.5 kilometre educational trail designed to increase awareness and understanding of the Elbow watershed, stewardship and the various land uses in the area. In addition to the individual messages on each sign there will be a theme/common story woven into all the signs. This walk will be accessible to all ages and in all seasons, encouraging more users to learn more about the watershed, its challenges and its history.

The Foothills Land Trust project will support and enhance the ecological functions of the Highwood River by placing Conservation Easements (CE) on 240 acres of riparian lands upstream of the Town of High River. Conservation easements will be placed on these riparian lands to conserve, protect and connect natural landscapes within the MD of Foothills. The project also includes establishing a Watershed Stewardship Group dedicated to these lands that will increase knowledge, awareness and participation in activities that restore and enhance the ecological connectivity and function of the Highwood River riparian lands. The project will enhance community capacity to restore and maintain watershed functions on this specific land base and beyond by creating a hub of activity, resources and information dedicated to watershed stewardship.

To grow their watershed stewardship programs and increase overall effectiveness, the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society received WSG funding to add increase their part time coordinator’s work time by one day per week. The Friends are confident this funding will help increase education efforts, increase awareness of issues related to park ecology, and support watershed health and sustainability. Additionally, this funding will better enable them to support collaborative partnerships which further their goals to raise awareness within the community.

The Ghost Watershed Alliance received funding to distribute the results of the Ghost River State of the Watershed (SOW) report and raise awareness of the SOW with a wider audience. Using an animated digital story, the SOW will be presented in an engaging and easily understandable way, accessible to a broad audience. The alliance will host the digital story on their website and present their digital product in local schools.

Highway 2 Conservation’s (H2C) Riparian Improvement Program assists agricultural producers in three adjacent municipalities to sustainably manage their land. In the past, H2C’s efforts focused on crop producers for this program however, in 2017 they received support from the WSG to expand the scope of the program to involve cattle producers. This includes providing funding for riparian fencing for new project sites for cattle producers while still supporting crop producers with reclamation plantings. H2C will also host five educational events (Pond Days) for over 500 Grade 5 children who, will learn about the importance of healthy aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems at a local lake. Through riparian restoration, protection and education H2C will maintain healthy ecosystems where they exist, improve environmental conditions where damage has been done and engage the community to promote riparian health.

The Hubbles Lake Stewardship Society will be creating a State of the Watershed (SOW) report to preserve and protect the quality and health of the Hubbles Lake watershed through consultation with stakeholders. The SOW report will be a collaborative planning initiative between the society, the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, Parkland County, the Province of Alberta and residents. The SOW report and accompanying implementation strategy will provide long term direction to improve or maintain the health of the watershed, consistent with the goals of the Water for Life, Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability, and with the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance ‘s Integrated Watershed Management Plan.

The Jumpingpound Creek Watershed Partnership (JCWP) received support to update their State of the Watershed Report (SOW), first published in 2009, which will highlight current watershed conditions as well as profile major successes in the implementation of key activities from the report since 2009. The revised SOW will tell the story of the JCWP, celebrate work that has been done and inspire continued stewardship efforts made by residents, landowners and the broader stewardship community.

In 2016, the Mayatan Lake Management Association (MLMA) worked with the University of Alberta to study the isotopes of lake and well water samples at Mayatan Lake and a number of other nearby lakes, to gain greater understanding of the relationship between ground water and surface water. Four hundred (400) water isotope analyses and 260 water metal analyses were carried out by the University. In 2017, with WSG funding, the MLMA will work with several other watershed stewardship groups and volunteers in Parkland County to obtain further water samples, partnering with Dr. Duane Froese at the University of Alberta who will provide isotope testing on all the samples collected. Data analysis will be conducted to better understand factors affecting water levels.

The Moose Lake Watershed Society received funding for their 2017 stewardship initiatives which include designing and producing a Moose Lake Watershed game, citizen science tributary monitoring, watershed cleanup, and hosting a stewardship/invasive species workshop.

With 2017 WSG funding, the Pincher Creek Watershed Group will host a one day event with over 100 volunteers to remove the invasive plant Blueweed (Echium vulgare) along the banks of the Pincher Creek. The WSG funding will be used for equipment and materials for the volunteers such as shovels, plastic bags, gloves, maps and a meal at the end of the day.

The Red Creek Stewardship Group’s 2017 project will be an evaluation of a past project. This will include several site visits to track examples of previous efforts to improve the overall health of the watershed from riparian habitat enhancements to the water quality monitoring and improvement projects. In addition, the group will continue to educate producers/landowners and encourage engagement in stewardship initiatives through tours of the demonstration sites. This will contribute to the overall initiative and mandate of the Red Creek Stewardship Group to improve the health of the watershed, water quality and riparian health.

Stewards of Lac La Biche Birding Society will be installing new signage at public access locations around the shores of Lac La Biche Lake. Signage will help to increase awareness of birds, wildlife, habitat, watersheds, wetlands and good lake/watershed stewardship practices. Over the years, their old signs have served well to educate the public, but many of the signs are deteriorating, damaged or gone. WSG funding will allow the group to reinvigorate interpretative messaging at optimal lake locations.

This project spearheaded by the UNESCO designated Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association focuses on improving stewardship of water and wetland resources in the Waterton Biosphere Reserve through four main activities: a Wetland Field Day for Grade 5 students from Cardston, development of “Creek Explorer Kits” for elementary students from Pincher Creek, a workshop/field day to promote amphibian habitat stewardship, and front-end planning for development of a citizen science aquatic biomonitoring program.

Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society (Project #1) will continue their long-standing Invasive Plant Program which has the objectives of preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species that negatively impact natural areas and maintaining natural ecosystem function and biodiversity of the Weaselhead. In 2017, the society will increase public awareness of invasive species and the problems they cause by including information about invasive species in the society’s ongoing education programs, increasing understanding through public participation in weeding workshops and monitoring activities, using social media and outreach presentations, and by erecting ‘PlayCleanGo’ boot brush stations for the use of park visitors.

Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society (Project #2) will investigate the impact of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road (SWCRR) on the ecology of the two major wetlands in the Weaselhead, the Beaver Pond and the Beaver Lagoon. Water quality data, aquatic macroinvertebrates and periphyton monitoring will be captured in this five-year study which aims to understand the ecological impacts to the watershed and biodiversity from construction of the SWCRR.

The Shining Bank Lake Community Stewardship Initiative aims to bring awareness of riparian health, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, water quality and soil health to producers and recreational users on or near Shining Bank Lake. This 2017 WSG project by the West Central Forage Association will involve engaging the community surrounding the lake and agricultural producers near the lake to identify and educate about environmental concerns around the lake, and to increase understanding of the importance of the lake’s aquatic and ecosystem functions. This project also intends to increase knowledge and adoption of beneficial management practices (BMPs) by lake lot owners, lake users and agricultural producers near the lake. The project will include extension activities, development of educational materials (e.g. videos, etc.), user meetings and stakeholder engagement.

Wizard Lake Watershed & Lake Stewardship Association will be completing inlet and outlet stream sampling on Wizard Lake which will be added to their existing Wizard Lake Tributary Sampling data from 2007, 2010 and 2011. In addition, the WLWLSA will be creating two biohaven systems (floating islands) to assist in the prevention of shoreline erosion, provide fish habitat and a refuge for wildlife. Signage will be erected around the lake to educate residents and lake users of the environmental benefits to a biohaven system.

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