Comparison of 2009 and 2021 Riparian Health Assessments in the Beaverlodge River Watershed of Alberta using Aerial Videography
The Beaverlodge River watershed has been subject to human land use changes that have led to negative impacts on the ecological integrity and health of riparian areas. Alberta Conservation Association’s Riparian Conservation Program (RCP) has classified the Beaverlodge River watershed as a priority watershed due to riparian degradation and the loss of Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) from the system. In collaboration with several partners, the RCP team has been working in the watershed since 2004 to improve riparian health and fish habitat within the Beaverlodge River and three of its tributaries: Beavertail Creek, Windsor Creek, and Steeprock Creek.
This report explores the use of aerial videography as a landscape-level assessment tool; specifically, we used aerial videography to assess riparian health and changes to riparian health in a large portion of the Beaverlodge River watershed between 2009 and 2021. In 2021, the overall riparian health of the Beaverlodge River watershed was scored as 75.22% Good, 13.27% Fair, and 11.51% Poor. This is an increase of 12.78% of the riparian area scored as Good compared to the 2009 assessment. The results of aerial videography riparian health assessments help us evaluate the effectiveness of the RCP’s actions since 2004 and guide future efforts of the program to improve riparian health in the Beaverlodge River watershed in Alberta.