Cows and Fish restoration work at Silvester Creek. Photo courtesy of Cows and Fish.

Cows and Fish restoration work at Silvester Creek. Photo courtesy of Cows and Fish.

Environment and Parks is providing the Cows and Fish program with $1 million in 2021-22 to support projects and initiatives that protect creeks and streams along Alberta’s Eastern Slopes. This grant funding is part of the common-sense conservation plan that recognizes the efforts of civil society in Alberta’s environmental stewardship.

“Our headwaters are an important source of drinking water for many communities downstream and provide a habitat for many species. Cows and Fish has a long history of working with communities, landowners and stakeholders to deliver projects that improve watershed health at a local scale. Alberta’s government is proud to partner with Cows and Fish to ensure more watershed protection projects can go ahead for Albertans and our environment.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“We are very pleased the government recognizes the value of riparian areas for protecting our headwaters, providing water security, protecting critical habitat and enhancing resiliency from drought and flooding. This is an important opportunity to expand on our work fostering riparian stewardship and improving landscape health in the Eastern Slopes to allow for sustainable recreation, agriculture and other uses, for all Albertans, now and into the future.”

Norine Ambrose, executive director, Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society (Cows and Fish)

“Bragg Creek Trails is very pleased to be working with Cows and Fish on a collaborative watershed restoration project for the West Bragg Creek watershed. With their support, we have been able to assess the health of the riparian and rangeland areas in this vital watershed. Together we developed a comprehensive suite of recommendations that includes restoration plans and grazing management changes that we are excited to start implementing this summer.”

Conrad Schiebel, president, Bragg Creek Trails

“Clearwater County is pleased to partner with Cows and Fish on projects that help improve water quality and establish healthy riparian areas. The Cows and Fish Eastern Slopes program provides valuable incentives to local farmers and ranchers, allowing them to implement best management practices, benefiting the health of our watersheds locally and regionally.”

Bettina van Nieuwkerk, landcare supervisor, Agriculture & Community Services, Clearwater County

Investments in watershed health, particularly in areas near headwaters, help improve water quality and flood and drought resilience.

Cows and Fish is a non-profit organization that works with landowners and partners on projects that enhance watershed health through improved understanding and better management of riparian areas.

Government grants with matching funding from other sources have helped Cows and Fish deliver a number of important projects to improve watershed health. Program highlights from the past year include:

  • Implementation of riparian management projects with ranchers and farmers in areas ranging from Vermilion to Grande Prairie to west of Nanton.
  • Riparian area restoration and bioengineering projects at more than 10 sites in the Eastern Slopes.
  • Riparian health inventory and assessment reporting on 170 sites.
  • A number of riparian management courses, many of which were delivered through partnerships with organizations such as the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society.

Cows and Fish also receives a $310,000 annual operational base grant from Environment and Parks.