On March 4, the BRWA hosted a public engagement meeting in Forestburg to discuss management of riparian areas and wetlands in the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds. About 30 people came to join the conversation on the proposed implementation guidelines for both riparian areas and wetlands.
In addition to roundtable discussions, the group had the opportunity to hear from two wetland specialists.
Dr. Shari Clare, a researcher with the University of Alberta’s Alberta Living Laboratory Project, spoke about their pilot project using reverse auctions to help restore wetlands in southern Alberta. The buyer, the agency that is going to pay for the restoration, solicits offers from landowners for how it would cost to restore wetlands on their property. The offers are compared and selected based on environmental service dimension until the budget is reached. Though these ae only beginning to appear in Canada, Australia have been using this tool for a long time for restore other habitat.
Dr. Masaki Hayashi from the University of Calgary, spoke about the hydrology of prairie wetlands, and implication for management and conservation initiatives. Dr. Hayashi described how many of our pothole wetlands feed into the shallow aquifers that maintain the water table. All our wetlands have differing hydroperiods, or the amount of time that water is in wetlands. Maintaining this diversity in wetlands is important for maintain biodiversity in our watershed.