Are you a farmer, rancher, or acreage owner with a “riparian area” – that is, land that borders some sort of water feature? Perhaps you have a stream running through your property, a small pond out back, or even just a wet spot in your cropland. If you do, then the next question is: are you managing your riparian areas to their full potential?
From August 10-11/2018, the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society is partnering up with Cows & Fish and Lac St Anne/Parkland Counties to deliver a mini-course that aims to help landowners manage their riparian areas in ways that maximize the environmental, social, and economic benefits to themselves, their community, and the greater watershed. Examples of these benefits include improved water quality, moderation of floods and droughts, erosion reduction, wildlife habitat, forage production for livestock, recreational opportunities, and alternative enterprises such as timber, firewood, fruit, nuts, mushrooms, and medicinal plants.
The course will begin with a brief background on riparian areas and their importance within the larger watershed. Participants will then get the chance to visit a riparian area in either Lac St Anne or Parkland County, where they will learn how to conduct a site assessment for determining riparian health and potential to provide functions, goods, and services. Back in the class, participants will be given maps of their own riparian areas and other tools to help define a vision and management plan. Course staff will support this exercise through presentations and one-on-one technical assistance on potential management practices that landowners may wish to consider (e.g. to provide opportunities for sustainable grazing, fruit or timber production, wildlife habitat, etc.), and an additional field visit, weather permitting. The course will end with participants having the opportunity to share their vision and management plan with other participants to receive further feedback and insight.
In short, this course includes
• Two full days of instruction/active participation on riparian area assessment, restoration and management. This includes site visits to nearby riparian areas each day, weather permitting.
• Printouts of background information and management tools, including a course workbook, relevant informational factsheets and manuals, laminated maps of participants’ properties, and more
• Lunch and snacks/refreshments for both days
The fee for this course is $20 per participant. This fee has been greatly reduced, as the majority of course costs are being covered by a grant from the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP), administered by Alberta Environment and Parks. The primary objective of WRRP is to increase the natural ability of the province’s watersheds to reduce the intensity, magnitude, duration and effects of flooding and drought through watershed mitigation measures. Widespread implementation of the riparian restoration and management practices taught in this course has the potential to mitigate flooding and drought throughout the watershed while also providing direct benefits to landowners.
For more information and to register, please contact Lorraine Taylor, Conservation Coordinator from Lac Ste. Anne County at 1-866-880-5722 or LTaylor@LSAC.ca
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