Riparian areas provide important ecological services and functions and are critical to maintaining watershed health. However, riparian habitat throughout Alberta has been degraded by a variety of intensive land-use practices, such as livestock grazing. Riparian areas are complex ecosystems; proper management of this sensitive habitat is essential to maintain water quality and habitat integrity for the wildlife and fish species that depend on it. The primary goal of ACA’s Riparian Conservation program is to protect and restore riparian areas in priority watersheds through on-the-ground restoration projects and outreach and education initiatives. Our working partnerships with landowners, industry, government, watershed groups and other stakeholders are integral to project delivery. In 2014/15, we focused conservation efforts in the following priority watersheds: Beaverlodge, Edson, Owl, Raven, North Raven and Oldman rivers; and Clear, Todd, Beaver, Drywood, Yarrow, Lyndon, Pincher and Indianfarm creeks and their associated tributaries. We delivered 12 enhancement projects using a variety of management tools, including negotiating landowner habitat lease agreements to conserve 34 acres of riparian habitat, planting 5,000 trees, and installing 3.9 km of wildlife friendly fencing. We also monitored water quality and riparian health to help evaluate impacts of our conservation efforts, supported landowners with riparian enhancement activities, and communicated our program initiatives to the community. Our efforts have contributed to incremental improvements in riparian habitat health and have positively influenced the stewardship approach of landowners and leaseholders.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society (Cows and Fish), ConocoPhillips, County of Grande Prairie, County of Lethbridge, Enerplus, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Government of Canada EcoAction Community Funding Program, Landowners, MULTISAR, Municipal District of Foothills, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Oldman Watershed Council, Pincher Creek Watershed Group, Syncrude Canada Ltd., Trout Unlimited Canada, West County Watershed Society
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