Twelve organizations in southern Alberta and other vulnerable communities across the province will share a total of almost $1 million through the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program. Over three years, government has granted $18.5 million to 30 organizations to pay for this important work. This is the third and final round of that funding.
The grants will go towards such projects as the restoration of riparian areas, creation of wetlands, installation of rain gardens in urban locations, soil bioengineering, implementation of agricultural best management practices, and the increased use of beaver structures.
“Improving natural watersheds is an important part of our plan to help vulnerable communities like Calgary and others across the province adapt to a changing climate. These projects will enhance our natural environment and reduce the impact of both floods and drought.”
“The City of Calgary is pleased to hear that the province is moving ahead with additional Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program projects in the Bow and Elbow River watersheds. We are grateful for the support Calgary received in the previous round of funding, which recognizes the important role riparian areas play in the health of the rivers, streams and creeks we all depend on.”
“We were able to leverage our grant eight-fold to provide sufficient resources to repair and restore a number of key wetlands in the Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area near Drayton Valley. Our project will improve natural watershed functions along the North Saskatchewan River floodplain and valley slopes in order to build greater long-term resiliency to droughts and floods through restoration and enhancement. These initiatives will ensure the area will once again be a fully functioning watershed ecosystem.”
“Rain gardens are an important green infrastructure tool and this funding will allow us to work with citizens, municipalities and industry to develop and demonstrate the best ways to implement these shallow, planted depressions in Alberta. Leading communities around the world have recognized the role of green infrastructure in addressing flood and drought and we are pleased to see Alberta Environment and Parks take a leadership role in developing this important tool for all Albertans.”
A healthy watershed is our first - and arguably best - defence against flood and drought. If appropriately managed, Alberta’s natural watershed systems will help mitigate severe natural events and will provide many other ecological benefits. Sound stewardship, education and conservation will ensure that these areas are maintained and enhanced.
Over the life of the program, Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program grants will fund the restoration of more than 40 kilometres of riparian areas and the creation or enhancement of more than 600 hectares of wetlands. The grants will also support projects focused on education, outreach and the implementation of best management practices.