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Meet the 2013 Watershed Stewardship Grant Recipients

Posted June 27, 2013 by LSC

Grass roots watershed stewardship groups are making a difference in communities across Alberta.

Read on to learn how these groups will be putting their 2013 Watershed Stewardship Grant to work in a variety of community-based stewardship projects.

Then click here to learn more about the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Program.

Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition
Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition (CCWC) is hosting an awareness walk from the Saskatchewan border to the headwaters of the Oldman River in the Castle area. Over the course of the 16 day walk, new participants, representing the communities along the route, will join the walk. Several communities along the walk route will host presentations focused on water management, in an effort to increase awareness of water issues in their area. The last day of the walk will be a thank you event for all who took part and as a chance to celebrate the headwaters. CCWC’s ultimate goal is to create greater awareness of water issues and to share experiences of water stewardship throughout the watershed.

Clear Hills Watershed Initiative
Clear Hill Watershed Initiative (CHWI) is extending their water quality monitoring program to include a local lake which has high industrial activity around it. The group will use results collected through the program to monitor any changes in the water quality in the area. If a decline in quality is found, the group will develop a plan to remediate any issues. They will also be focusing on further development of their strategic plan, interacting with local schools though contests and hosting a community supper event. CHWI is continually working towards creating awareness and acceptance of their stewardship group within the county and encouraging adoption of best management practices for maintaining a healthy watershed.

Clear Water Landcare
Clear Water Landcare (CWL) will be working with the Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society (Cows and Fish) to inventory Prairie and Cow Creeks, as well as Swan and Cow Lakes to assist in developing a benchmark of riparian health in the region. The inventory builds on water sampling work done from 2002 to 2005 through EPCOR. This project will also help the group to build relationships with landowners in the area. CWL believes that increasing landowner awareness and building relationships in the area will lead to advancement of education and awareness of best management practices and ultimately on-the-ground practice changes.

Elbow River Watershed Partnership
Elbow River Watershed Partnership (ERWP) is focusing on revitalizing their Watershed Awareness Campaign though designing a new newsletter, submitting articles to local newspapers, and engaging people through social media such as Twitter. The group plans to produce at least three high quality newsletters, and submit approximately five articles to the newspapers sharing ERWP’s activities and success stories. They will tweet regularly and update their website to keep content current and relevant. Through these efforts ERWP will raise its profile within the community, increase education and awareness, and ultimately ensure the integrity of the watershed.

Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society
Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society (FFCPPS) are working on their 2013 Community Watershed Stewardship Project which includes water quality monitoring, phase three of their watershed public awareness campaign and an invasive species strategy. The data and findings generated though the long-term water quality sampling will form the basis for their entire campaign, and will allow the group to effectively communicate ways for people to contribute to improving water quality. The public awareness portion of the project will include watershed based presentations, demonstrations, tours, performances and hands-on activities for the public. FFCPPS will also continue to remove invasive plant species focusing on Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR), as they have done for the past several years. FFCPPS views all of their activities as a way to invoke the public’s stewardship ethic which contributes towards the sustainability of the park and watershed.

Gull Lake Water Quality Management Society
In 2012 Gull Lake Water Quality Management Society completed phase one of their aquifer mapping project, which included hiring a hydrogeological consultant to develop maps showing all the water well records in the basin. In 2013 they will begin phase two, which will identify all of the groundwater resources in the Gull Lake Watershed. All aquifers will be identified as either hydraulically connected to the lake or not. The group ultimately wants to be able to use the information when working with municipalities to make recommendations for developmental controls on water wells being drilled in the area. For example, recommending that wells be drilled primarily in aquifers not connected to the lake, and where necessary, ensuring appropriate drilling depths are determined so that aquifers are not depleted if wells are connected to the lake.

Ghost Watershed Alliance Society
In addition to growing its outreach, education and awareness program, Ghost Watershed Alliance Society (GWAS) is expanding its collaborative efforts with the Ghost Stewardship Monitoring Group and motorized user groups in the local watershed. Outreach efforts will include offering field trips of the Ghost Watershed to local schools and Walks in the Watershed, where the history as well as the ecological features of the watershed will be explained. GWAS believes awareness and education of current watershed users as well as school children, who are the next generation of users, is extremely important in order to maintain the integrity of the watershed. In all their messaging, GWAS emphasizes ‘how’ we as individuals should use the landscape rather than ‘if’ we use the landscape.

Little Creeks and Rough Fescue Appreciation Society
Little Creeks and Rough Fescue Appreciation Society (LCARF) is completing their second year of baseline water monitoring in Horse Creek. LCARF will hire Palliser Environmental to take samples at three sites, 10 times between April and October. The data obtained in the water quality monitoring will be used to help develop an Integrated Watershed Management Plan. The group will also be engaging stakeholders and creating awareness by holding field days and information meetings about their activities since 2012. LCARF would also like to be able to complete a community bio-engineering project at a pipeline crossing that was identified as in need of riparian restoration.

Muriel Lake Basin Management Society
Muriel Lake Basin Management Society (MLBMS) will hire a contractor to, by analyzing aerial footage, assess the condition of the riparian zones around Muriel Lake and its tributaries. Riparian areas are visually assessed by answering a series of questions pertaining to vegetation cover and human and/or animal disturbance. Assessing the riparian areas will allow MLBMS to identify and work with landowners who own areas with impaired riparian zones, and focus future restoration work on these impacted areas to improve the ecological health of the lake basin. The results of the assessment will be shared with stakeholders in the watershed, at a public presentation, through advertisements, as well as distribution through mail and email.

Mayatan Lake Management Association
Mayatan Lake Management Association (MLMA) is developing a watershed management plan. The Mayatan Lake Watershed Management Plan will be a collaborative planning initiative with the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, the Parkland County, the Government of Alberta, and other key collaborators such as local residents. MLMA’s management plan will be built upon the foundation of the State of the Watershed report they completed in 2012. The Mayatan Lake Watershed Management Plan and accompanying implementation strategy will provide long term direction to improve or maintain the health of the watershed.

Moose Lake Watershed Society
The Moose Lake Watershed Society (MLWS) will hold their Walking with the Moose day-long fieldtrip for Grade 5 and 6 students, educating the students in a hands-on, interactive manner, raising awareness about the environment and reinforcing the knowledge students gain at school. By educating the public and especially youth through interactive programs such as Walking with the Moose, the MLWS is instilling the importance of protecting natural areas as a way of protecting the environment as a whole. MLWS has seen the program grow from only a few schools in the beginning to seven schools and 380 children in 2012. They would like to see the program continue to expand.

Medicine River Watershed Society
Medicine River Watershed Society (MRWS) is following up on their 2010 grant project with a new riparian tree plant and fencing project. The group would like to stabilize the creek bank and move livestock back from the water’s edge. MRWS will use two of their own solar powered offsite watering systems in conjunction with the trees and fence to encourage producers to see the benefits of coordinated efforts and the positive results. The offsite watering sites will be established as demonstration sites to be used for future education purposes, and for comparison with areas which did not receive any modifications.

Pigeon Lake Watershed Association
Once again, Pigeon Lake Watershed Association (PLWA), as a part of their Engaged Stewardship Initiative, will be hiring Living by Water student consultants to do home site consultations. Since 2008 PLWA has hired Living by Water come to the lake to encourage environmental best practices by giving permanent and seasonal residents the knowledge and tools they need to understand how to restore and maintain healthy watershed properties and shorelines. Through this process people learn about the connection between how we live in the watershed and our impacts on the fisheries, water quality and wildlife and their habitat. This year PLWA already has 24 people signed up to receive consultations, and the group plans to have more homeowners sign up throughout the summer.

Red Creek Stewardship Group
Red Creek Stewardship Group is planning information sessions and basic watershed awareness workshops which will highlight the importance of watersheds, riparian areas and better management practices. A site will be chosen to do a field day and riparian health inventory with Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society (Cows and Fish), and the group will photograph evidence of the improved environmental conditions.

Society of Grassland Naturalists
Society of Grassland Naturalists’ project “The Dancing River” will have several components. The major component will be a display which will focus on the geography of prairie watercourses showing how streams move and change with different flow levels. The display will highlight how this change in rivers across the landscape is an important part of the ecological system in the prairies, as it creates habitat for wildlife, plants and people. The group will also have cooperative programs, events and speakers organized with the local SEAWA Watershed Advisory and Planning Council and the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre. All activities will promote understanding a stewardship in Society of Grassland Naturalist’s region.

Weaselhead Glenmore Park Preservation Society
Weaselhead Glenmore Park Preservation Society will be preserving and restoring naturally functioning ecosystems within Weaselhead Park and educating the public about conservation and environmental protection in their 2013 invasive plant program. They will aim to reduce the abundance of targeted invasive plants that interfere with ecosystem function and biodiversity; prevent new species of invasive plants from becoming established; increase understanding and awareness among the community of invasive plants, the problems they cause, and how to combat their spread; increase and disseminate experience gained since start of program in 2010; and begin a pilot project restoring native vegetation in severely degraded areas of habitat.

Wizard Lake Watershed and Lake Stewardship Association
Wizard Lake Watershed and Lake Stewardship Association is sponsoring an eco-education initiative through the non-profit society, Stream of Dreams, which will educate youth about watersheds. The program aims to make a difference in how young people treat rivers, streams, lakes and oceans, and the fish that live in them through a combination of instruction and art. Instructors will present watershed education and ‘Dreamfish’ painting workshops. When the painting of the ‘Dreamfish’ is complete, the colourful and dazzling painted fish will be “set free” by mounting them on the school’s chain link fence, to remind passersby that we are all stewards of our environment.

Wizard Lake Watershed and Lake Stewardship Association
Wizard Lake Watershed and Lake Stewardship Association is also promoting the Wizard Lake State of the Watershed Report. The group will meet with the local county governing authorities, local residents, and members of the general public to educate and make them area of watershed issues and how they can contribute to a healthier watershed and lake, as referenced in the state of the watershed report. The group will be developing PowerPoint presentations to approach the counties with, with the hope that the counties will assume partnership roles and responsibilities of decision making with development around the lake and with lake and watershed usage.

Wabamun Watershed Management Council
Wabamun Watershed Management Council (WWMC) is currently working with a consultant to prepare a State of the Watershed Report (SOW) for the Wabamun Lake Watershed. The information in the SOW will help to inform the group and the lake community of the current state of the watershed, and will be the basis for the drafting an Integrated Watershed Management Plan. WWMC will present the SOW results to build support in the community, and will collect feedback and input for the development of an Integrated Watershed Management Plan. The group also plans to present the results to local municipalities, businesses, industry and First Nations in the region, to education and receive feedback from all sectors around the lake.

Two of Our Own Receive Emerald Awards

Posted June 10, 2013 by LSC

Emerald Awards Celebrate Environmental Excellence

We are very pleased to share with you that two of Land Stewardship Centre’s Directors were presented with Emerald Awards at the recent gala in Edmonton.

In the non-profit category the Edmonton and Area Land Trust, led by Pam Wight, was recognized for its land conservation efforts, and Shirley Pickering received the Emerald Challenge Award for her leadership in progressive water management and stewardship.

We congratulate our Directors as well as the other recipients of this year’s Emerald Awards on being recognized for all of their outstanding and innovative environmental stewardship efforts.

Read more about this year’s Emerald Award recipients.

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