Riparian areas occur at the transition between land and water bodies (i.e. streams and lakes). A healthy riparian area provides many biological and social ecosystem services not limited to: improving water quality, floodwater conveyance and storage, bank and shoreline stabilization, recreational opportunity, and provision of habitat for unique plants, fish, birds and other animals. These services are an important part of the overall function of a watershed.

Citizens and watershed stakeholders recognize that conservation and restoration of riparian areas in Alberta is needed for a sustainable, functional watershed.

The South East Alberta Watershed Alliance (SEAWA) has received grants under the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP) to restore and protect riparian areas within the SEAWA watershed for the period of 2017-2019. These areas include lands adjacent to:

  • South Saskatchewan River
  • Seven Persons Creek
  • Ross Creek
  • Gros Ventre Creek
  • Bullshead Creek
  • Peigan Creek
  • And unnamed tributaries
  • Murray, Seven Persons, Rattlesnake, Bullshead, Pakowki, 40 Mile Coulee, Milk River Ridge, Burdett, and other lakes and reservoirs

SEAWA has also received grants under the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program (RFCPP) to restore and protect riparian areas near fish-bearing waters within the SEAWA watershed for the period of April 2018 – March 2019.

Projects under these grants are collectively called the ‘Riparian Areas Assessment and Restoration Project’

The components of the Riparian Areas Assessment and Restoration Project are: (1) assessment of  riparian conditions (Good, Fair, or Poor) in the whole Seven Persons Creek watershed using remote sensing techniques provided by a hired consultant; (2) restoration of 10 km total of degraded riparian areas through partnerships on cost-share basis with land owners and land managers; and (3) education of the SEAWA watershed community about the importance of healthy riparian areas, to foster stewardship.

The Riparian Areas Assessment and Restoration Project will implement Strategy 4.5 of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (2014-2024), “Continue to increase knowledge and improve management of riparian lands within the region.” This strategy falls under SEAWA’s  Education and Outreach, and Environmental Stewardship program areas.

Landowners within the SEAWA watershed are invited to propose projects to be funded by the Riparian Areas Assessment and Restoration Project.

Applications are due by April, 2019. Applications will be considered on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. The total extent of riparian restoration is limited by grant availability.

Eligible Applicants and Projects are found in the Funding Eligibility document. Applications for funding can be made by completing the Application Form. Contact information for inquiries and assistance in filing the Application Form are provided in the Application Form.

All projects and related activities required of the partner landowner must be completed by January 2020.