The Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) launched the Ponoka Riparian Restoration Program in the spring of 2015. The goal of the program is to work with landowners in Ponoka County on projects that help improve the health of the Battle River and its tributary streams. Funding is available to support these projects, and the BRWA is currently accepting landowner applications.
Two landowners have already been approved for funding for projects involving riparian fencing and the installation of off-site livestock watering systems. These types of projects are significant because when livestock water directly from the river they can cause damage to the riparian area by trampling vegetation and increasing the amount of bare soil. By removing livestock from the riparian area and providing them with an alternate water source, vegetation is able to bounce back and filter water as it flows off the surrounding land. This helps provide cleaner water for the livestock, which in turn helps improve their weight gain. Cleaner water is also beneficial for landowners and communities downstream.
The BRWA is also working with Cows and Fish to conduct assessments to measure the current health of the Battle River’s riparian areas. The health of riparian areas (the green zone of vegetation along waterways) is extremely important to water quality and fish populations in the river. If unhealthy areas are identified, landowners can look into implementing actions to improve the health of those areas. Seven riparian health assessments were carried out along the Battle River in the Ponoka region this summer, and additional funding is available to do more next year. Landowners interested in having an assessment done on their land can contact the BRWA for more information.
In addition to riparian health assessments, riparian fencing, and off-site watering systems, landowner projects may also include creating a buffer zone of native plants along waterways and implementing beneficial crop, grazing and manure management practices. All landowners in Ponoka County with land along the Battle River or its tributary streams are eligible for funding through the Ponoka Riparian Restoration Program. For more information or to apply for funding, visit our Ponoka program page or contact the BRWA at 1-888-672-0276.