October 2016 Update:
Ponoka County Landowners Help Improve River Health
Many landowners and organizations came together to make the second year of the BRWA’s Ponoka Riparian Restoration Program a great success! In partnership with Cows & Fish, 18 riparian health assessments have now been completed in Ponoka County and the Town of Ponoka, including 13 Battle River sites and 5 lake, creek and wetland sites. These assessments help us get a better idea of the health of riparian areas in the Battle River watershed, which are critical for water filtration and storage and fish and wildlife habitat. We can then make informed decisions about management actions that could help improve riparian health.
A number of landowner projects were also completed with financial support from the Government of Alberta’s Agricultural Watershed Enhancement Program and the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. Over 10,000 trees were planted in the Battle River valley through a partnership with the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society. In addition, about 6 kilometres of riparian fencing and 6 off-site watering systems have been installed to manage livestock access to the Battle River and other natural water bodies, allowing riparian grasses, willows and other vegetation to recover. An additional 2 kilometres of riparian fencing and 6 additional off-site watering systems are set to be installed in the coming year.
In July, the BRWA partnered with the Grey Wooded Forage Association, Cows & Fish, and the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society to host a Riparian Field Day at MSW Farms in Ponoka County. Topics included riparian plant ID, riparian health assessments, tree planting and woodlot management, and an electric fencing demonstration. We also heard from Mark Stewart (owner of MSW Farms) about riparian stewardship actions he has implemented on his land with support from the Ponoka Riparian Restoration Program.
After installing riparian fencing and off-site watering systems to keep his cattle out of the river, Mark made this observation: “The cattle are getting more water and we’ve learned how to improve the quality of the river. It also showed me that I can make a big difference and that’s been proven by seeing an increase in the fish that are hanging out in our section of the river.”
The BRWA appreciates the efforts of all the landowners involved in the Ponoka Riparian Restoration Program. Their commitment to being stewards of the Battle River watershed is an encouragement for all of us to do likewise.
Thanks to everyone who joined us on WORLD WATER DAY (March 22) to launch year 2 of the Ponoka Riparian Restoration Program. Check out the presentations from the event below!
World Water Day presentations:
The goal of the Ponoka Riparian Restoration Program is to work with landowners and community members in Ponoka County and the Town of Ponoka to implement beneficial management practices for the restoration or enhancement of riparian areas along the Battle River and its tributaries. This, in turn, will help support improved water quality and fish habitat within the watershed.
Watering system funded through the Ponoka Riparian Restoration Program
Are you interested in learning more about the program and how you can get involved?
Do you live along the Battle River or one of its tributary streams in Ponoka County or the Town of Ponoka?
Do you have a project in mind that will improve the health of the river/stream?
Contact the program coordinator, Sarah Skinner, for more information! (1-888-672-0276 or email@example.com)
Application Form and Guidelines:
A huge THANK YOU to all our partners! This program would not be possible without their support.