The Connectivity Project addresses habitat fragmentation in southern Alberta by working collaboratively with irrigation districts, municipalities, conservation groups, recreationists, and agricultural producers to improve water quality and re-establish or enhance existing wildlife habitat. Doing so will benefit agriculture, hunters, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. 2019 was the second year of the project and the first year of extensive data collection around four SMRID reservoirs: Cross Coulee, Raymond Reservoir, Murray Lake and Stafford Lake. Thirtyone lotic riparian health assessments, 71 lentic riparian health assessments, 75 range health assessments, 31 tame pasture health assessments, and 20 visual range assessments were completed for use in the first Habitat Conservation Strategy for SMRID. Six hundred and fortyseven incidental wildlife observations were made across the four reservoirs, of which 22% were species at risk. This data provides a baseline assessment of the plant communities around each reservoir and the wildlife species using them. It also identifies priority sites where habitat enhancements and/or grazing management recommendations will improve ecosystem service provision (carbon sequestration, water filtration and nutrient retention, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity). The recommendations put forward in the report are developed to improve water quality and habitat but will also increase the resilience of irrigation district operations and grassland ecosystems.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Fish and Game Association (Zone 1), Lethbridge Fish and Game Association, Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Pheasants Forever - Chinook Chapter, Southern Alberta Bowhunters Association, St. Mary River Irrigation District, Taber Irrigation District
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