Program applications are currently closed for 2023-24. Check back for updates in spring/summer 2024 for an application form.
The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program increases the natural ability of the province's watersheds to reduce the intensity, magnitude, duration, and effects of flooding and drought through watershed mitigation measures. Municipalities and non-profit organizations can apply for funding for projects that will enhance communities' ability to withstand future flooding or droughts, and promotes the ongoing stewardship and preservation of Alberta's watersheds.
About the program
The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program aims to improve natural watershed functions in order to build greater long-term resiliency to droughts and floods through 4 areas of focus:
- Restoration and enhancement of degraded or lost wetlands, riparian areas and floodplains within priority watersheds to improve flood and drought resiliency.
- Conservation of critical wetlands, riparian areas and floodplain features within priority watersheds, with these areas being given greater consideration for preserving by decision makers and landowners.
- Stewardship is increased through greater understanding and awareness among the public, land-use decision makers and other key stakeholders of the importance of watershed functions, and their relationship to flood and drought mitigation.
- Data, research and information are available to support the WRRP and aid future decision-making.
The program also addresses impacts of past flooding and/or droughts through the restoration of degraded areas in priority watersheds.
The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program focuses on projects that will contribute to meeting the following program outcomes:
- Advancing flood and drought resiliency in priority areas within watersheds in Alberta
- Restoring and enhancing ecological connectivity and function in critical areas
- Increasing knowledge, awareness and tools that enhance watershed resiliency
Examples of projects considered under the WRRP include:
- Riparian enhancements (for example: watering systems, buffers, stream crossings, riparian fencing, riparian plantings);
- Wetland enhancements (for example: wetland creation, enhancement or restoration); Intact floodplains for watershed resiliency 4 Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program: Grant Application Overview
- Floodplain/river improvements (for example: channel naturalization, removal of old structures, removal of flow impediments, re-vegetation, floodplain storage capacity enhancements, winter site relocations);
- Creation/increase of absorptive capacities;
- Removal of existing drainage projects or works; and
- Onsite water retention efforts.
Applications may include projects for one individual site or multiple sites within a watershed under the same project plan. Data collection efforts for the purpose of research, evaluation and assessment, and education and outreach will be considered but must be directly tied to one of the above mentioned activities as part of an overall project plan. Municipalities should seek funding for wetland restoration under the Wetland Replacement Program. Inquire by sending an email to [email protected]
Examples of ineligible projects under the WRRP include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Structural restoration or construction (for example: dams, berms, dykes, tunnels, riprap, storm water ponds);
- Municipal infrastructure, such as stormwater ponds, etc.;
- Groyne and other in-stream structures;
- River training or realignment;
- “Hard armouring” erosion protection (for example: non- bioengineering projects, such as riprap and other river armouring)
- Projects that increase the development opportunities or liabilities within flood prone areas;
- Weed control projects/programs; and,
- Dugouts and water wells.
Eligible project costs
Eligible project costs to the applicant funded under the WRRP include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Salaries and benefits directly tied to staff hired for project(s);
- Reasonable travel-related expenses as outlined by AEP;
- Cost of computer equipment together with software to be used for the eligible activities up to a maximum of $3,000 unless otherwise approved:
- Speaker fees for workshops, conference or seminars related to watershed resiliency and restoration;
- Costs for development or delivery of eligible watershed education/engagement activities to support project development/delivery;
- Costs of goods and services to promote and deliver the eligible activities (including for WRRP administrative costs);
- Operating expenses related to the project;
- Equipment purchases and leases;
- Capital infrastructure directly tied to restoration or conservation projects;
- Materials and deliverables directly tied to the project;
- Technical consulting and professional services;
- Education, communication and outreach activities related to the project; and,
- Post project evaluation performed within the program term and directly linked to project deliverables
Ineligible project costs
Costs not eligible for funding under the WRRP include:
- Salary and benefits of existing staff that are funded by other sources;
- Expenditures or costs that are not approved by AEP;
- Expenses for the administration and coordination of activities to maintain a WRRP project in Alberta beyond the approved proposal;
- Expenses for a group proposal where implementation of projects designed to mitigate flood/drought is not the primary outcome; • Goods and Services Tax (GST) (refundable portion);
- Expenses incurred outside of the project term;
- Purchase of capital equipment not directly tied to the project;
- Purchase or construction of real property or structural works;
- Purchase of fleet (for example: land, water, air vehicles);
- Land or wetland conservation offsets or compensation; and
- Academic research or education/outreach not tied to a specific approved WRRP project.
Who can apply
The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program is being implemented with the help of partners who have expertise in watershed management, from habitat restoration and fisheries improvement to natural hazard mitigation and wetland conservation.
Through collaboration with stakeholders, natural watershed functions are being improved and sustained to build greater long-term resiliency to droughts and floods utilizing an integrated watershed approach.
Individuals and private enterprises are not eligible to receive funding under this program but are encouraged to participate and contribute to projects with eligible partners. Eligible program applicants must be legal entities:
- Incorporated watershed stewardship groups
- Indigenous communities and organizations
- Irrigation and drainage districts
- Non-profit organizations
- Non-government organizations registered under the Alberta Societies Act (ASA)
How to apply
Refer to the Grant Application Overview and Guide or email the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration program to learn more about the application process and to ensure project eligibility.
Complete and submit an application by email to: [email protected]. The annual deadline to apply is 11:59 pm on September 15.
After you apply
The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program will review eligible applications based on program objectives, the funding priorities and Government of Alberta priorities. Not all applications that meet the established review criteria will be approved for funding.
Applicants will receive written notification of the decision regarding their application before March 31. If your project is approved, you will work with the Program Coordinator to enter into a grant agreement. The agreement will outline expected timelines, budget, and deliverables and conditions.
The primary criteria focus on the degree to which a proposed project mitigates the potential impacts of flood or droughts, and impacts on community safety and health (for example, headwaters and floodplains where individuals could be affected). Secondary criteria such as biodiversity and additional environmental benefits, and complimentary criteria including data gathering, capacity building, outreach, education and stewardship, will also be considered.
View webinars and information supported by the WRRP.
Find out more about WRRP-supported projects.
- Bank Armour and Riparian Disturbance in the Bow River Basin – Trout Unlimited Canada
- Modeste Watershed Riparian Area Assessment – North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance
- Municipal Toolkit for Flood and Drought Action Planning – Miistakis Institute
- Putting Beavers to Work for Watershed Resiliency and Restoration – Miistakis Institute
Land-use decision making
Municipal Needs Assessment
See the WRRP progress reports for information on the status of the program, project contacts and partners:
These maps provide information about flood, drought and water quality priority areas in Alberta. The maps were developed to inform decisions on the allocation of grant funds. They do not represent the state of the watershed and should not be used for any purpose other than informing program applications.
The objective of the WRRP prioritization project was to identify priority watersheds for allocation of program resources using an objective and scientifically rigorous approach. The summary report provides a description of the methodology used to identify priority areas. Contact program staff for the full report.
Read approved grants, recipients and project details from past rounds of Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program funding:
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