What We Do
Think of us in terms of partnerships, communities, stewardship, water quality and quantity, watersheds, biodiversity, and sustainability. We foster awareness about riparian areas and watersheds, and how improvements in management can enhance landscape health and productivity, for the benefit of landowners, communities and others who use and value these green zones.
What is a Riparian Area? Riparian areas are lands adjacent to streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands, where the vegetation and soils are strongly influenced by the presence of water. Although they make up only a small fraction of the land, they are among the most productive and valuable of all landscape types and have been a focus of conflicts between resource users.
Riparian areas need to be healthy to function properly. Some of those functions include trapping sediments, recharging ground water, providing primary productivity, and supporting biodiversity. We help cattle producers, lakefront residents, landowners, and their communities understand how healthy their riparian areas are, both on their individual operations and in their local watersheds. Understanding riparian health, or function, allows entire communities and individual producers to identify concerns and to proactively address specific land use issues.
To promote the improvement of riparian areas, their ecological processes and functions, through a collaborative partnership and voluntary, proactive community-based action that uses education and awareness about management options for producers, other landowners and their communities.
- to promote an understanding of riparian health and function
- to communicate the benefits of good riparian management
- to promote proactive voluntary solutions to riparian area conflicts
- to demonstrate value of cooperative, interdisciplinary and community efforts in resolving resource conflicts and addressing management challenges
- to improve the overall productivity and health of Alberta’s landscapes and communities
Riparian health assessment relies on visual observation, a little practice and fine-tuning your ‘eye’ to accurately interpret the health or function of a riparian area. Riparian health assessment helps you address the questions “Where am I?”, “Where do I want to go?”, and “Did I make it?” in terms of riparian health. Both vegetative and physical parameters are examined to provide information about the function and condition of that riparian area. Riparian health assessment and inventory also:
- CREATES AWARENESS among producers, other landowners and their communities about riparian management issues in their local watersheds;
- HELPS LANDOWNERS AND COMMUNITIES TAKE VOLUNTARY ACTION by assisting local decision-makers develop strategies to find solutions to address local riparian issues;
- HELPS COMMUNITIES AND INDIVIDUALS MONITOR THEIR PROGRESS in improving, maintaining and protecting riparian health in their watershed or operation;
- ASSISTS CATTLE PRODUCERS TO IDENTIFY ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND INTEGRATE THAT INFORMATION INTO FARM AND RANCH PLANNING, taking stock of current conditions and identifying management options for improvement if required.
- Alberta Emerald Award 2005 – Education: Organization For recognizing organizations within the non-formal education system that have gone beyond the normal practices and shown leadership in educating students about environmental matters.
- Canadian Environmental Award – Environmental Learning Gold Winner 2003 For our commitment to environmental learning and our community-based approach.
- Society for Range Management Awards Awarded for our promotion and enhancement of the stewardship of rangelands to meet human needs based on science and sound policy.