Ferry Point Reach Riparian Restoration Project

 

Overview

The Battle River Watershed Alliance launched the Ferry Point Reach, Riparian Restoration Program in December of 2012 to improve fish habitat and water quality in that area of the Battle River.  The aim of the Riparian Restoration Program was to improve the health of riparian areas to support fish and fish habitat and promote the health of a river that we and our children can enjoy, access, and thrive on. The Riparian area is the land adjacent to the river or other water body where the plants and soils are strongly influenced by water.

We defined our working area to be the Ferry Point Reach which stretches from downstream of Driedmeat Lake, past the Ferry Point Crossing, within the County of Camrose.  Why Ferry Point?  This area is an important historical landmark and has significant agricultural economic value for local community members. This stretch of the river (along with others) has been found to have poor water quality and a poor fish index (see background).

 The BRWA worked in partnership with Cows and Fish to host landowner information meetings, Riparian Health Assessments and on the ground restoration work as part of this Riparian Restoration Program.  Funding for this program came from the Environment Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, Alberta Conservation Association, Battle River Community Foundation and The Penn West Foundation. 

 

Riparian Zone

Riparian areas such as this one are key to having good water quality and a healthy fish population

 

Results

The BRWA and our partners supported 8 riparian restoration projects to completion.  
Projects included:

·        Cows and Fish Riparian Health Assessment or re-assessment

·        Riparian exclusion fencing and temporary fencing

·        Solar watering systems to use on dugouts or from the river

·        Shallow well development to use with a cattle waterer

·        Gravity-fed watering systems

Funding for these projects came from the Ferry Point Riparian Restoration Program with the program partners and from Alberta Agriculture’s Growing Forward 2 Agricultural Watershed Enhancement and On-Farm Water Management Programs.  Landowners also contributed time and money towards each of their projects. 

 

Project Journal 

Ferry Point Reach Riparian Restoration Program has been summarized in this 20 page Project Journal. The Journal includes a two page description of each riparian restoration strategy used, including the landowner’s story who utilized that technique. Details of each project include the actual process and or equipment used, the costs, strategy advantages and outcomes.
To view a copy of the Project Journal in your browser click here. (You will also have the option to save it as a PDF.)

 

Riparian Restoration Fact Sheets 

These fact sheets are taken right from the Project Journal to be used by producers or their allies to research or implement their own restoration projects.  Download each fact sheet individually by clicking on the title, or as a group as the last link. 

Fact Sheets:

Riparian Health Assessments – Getting a Base Line

Riparian Fencing- Building a Buffer

Solar Watering System- Water Access, Away from the River

Alternative Water Source- Digging Deep

Gravity-Fed Watering System- Water Runs Down Hill

Ferry Point Reach Riparian Restoration Strategy Fact Sheets (5 Fact Sheet Package)

Riparian On the Road Presentation

Invite us to your event for more ‘face-to-face’ information on our Riparian Restoration Program! 

We have prepared a 45 minute presentation on the program, including what restoration strategies were used (and the advantages and costs of each) and the outreach work done in the community. The presentation will be adapted to each audience and time frame.  Contact Nathalie at the BRWA office at 780-672-0276 for more information. 

 

Process

The BRWA made contact with community members who own land within the Ferry Point Reach.  Everyone in the community was invited to attend the Program Launch meeting held December 5th 2012 at the Kelsey Community Hall.  We welcomed Dixon Hammond, Rancher and Coordinator of the Beaver Creek Watershed Group who shared the group's experiences and successes in land management and creek improvements. 

Landowners interested in participating in a restoration project were invited to meet with the Battle River Watershed Alliance and project partners Cows and Fish to discuss possible program involvement in February 2013. Through a series of private and confidential discussions, landowners were able to determine if and what riparian restoration efforts are appropriate for their land.

The BRWA also completed extensive research on Riparian Health improvement projects and restoration techniques. The “Understanding the Policy context for Riparian Areas of the Battle River and Sounding Creek Watersheds” report will be available here in December of 2014.

Landowners interested in being involved in the program were asked to submit an application form to the BRWA. The Application Guidelines  

and Application Form are available for viewing by clicking on the titles.  See the Results section of this webpage for more on what projects were completed by the landowners. 

As part of the project, the BRWA created a Photo JournalFact Sheets and aRiparian on the Road presentation to highlight the work completed.  We also hosted educational visits with students, a canoe trip and program open house to share the results of the project. 

 

 

Background

Fish caught in IBI study

 In 2004, The Alberta Conservation Association led a fish survey of the entire Battle River with the help of Mike Sullivan from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. This “Fish-based Index of Biological Integrity for Assessing River Conditions in Central Alberta” looked at fish habitat, the abundance of fish and the individual health of fish in order to measure the overall health of the aquatic ecosystem.  Of the 19 species known to occur in the Battle River, 14 species were caught on the 80 sections of the river sampled.   Of all the fish caught, 49% of them were white suckers representing a very low diversity of species and lack of predatory fish which are a sign of a healthy river. The Ferry Point Reach of the Battle is one of the stretches that had "very poor results; few fish and fish species found". Poor water quality has also been measured in the area. The entire study results can be found in the final report which in on 

 

Overall, the Battle River had a score of 42%, meaning the river has levels of poor fishing/species of concern and levels of no fishing/species at risk.

The Ferry Point Reach of the Battle is one of the stretches that had "very poor results; few fish and fish species found". Poor water quality has also been measured in the area. The entire study results can be found in the final report which is on our publications page

Also in 2004, Cows and Fish completed a Riparian Health Assessment for portions of Driedmeat Lake and the Battle River within Camrose County.  This project looked at 22 sites including approximately 18 km of river/shore located downstream of Tillicum Beach on Driedmeat Lake and the Battle River.  Of these 22 sites, 4 rated healthy, 12 healthy with problems and 6 were unhealthy according to the Cows and Fish methodologies.  Results indicated there was excellent overall vegetation cover, good regeneration of trees and shrubs, and good cover of trees and shrubs along the shore/bank to prevent against erosion.  On the negative side, results indicated there were some concerns with invasive weeds and other disturbance species, over utilization or browsing of trees and shrubs and some issues with streambank/shoreline trampling and/or erosion.  

  

This project is brought to you by:  

BRWA LogoCows and Fish Logo

 

This project was undertaken with the financial support of: 

Environment Canada, The Alberta Conservation Association, the Battle River Community Foundation and the Penn West Foundation 

 

ACA logo

Rolling Down the River EventWolf Creek WMP Meeting