Province Invests in Natural Flood and Drought Protection


AB flood repair and mitigationThe provincial government is providing grants to 12 organizations through the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program that will help improve the flood and drought resiliency of communities across the province.

Dutch Creek west of Lethbridge. Photo courtesy of Oldman Watershed Council

“Restoring Alberta’s natural flood and drought defences is a critical part of our government’s plan to better protect families, businesses and our economy from increasingly severe natural disasters. Improving the capacity of our natural landscapes to store water through measures like wetland and riverbank restoration is an added line of defence as we invest in major flood control infrastructure.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

The grants are issued to organizations that support the program’s aim of protecting communities from flood and drought by improving natural watershed functions through the restoration of degraded areas.

“This timely grant by the Government of Alberta is integral to our conservation efforts. Based on our previous success engaging with communities in the Bow River watershed, we are confident that the grant will allow us to conserve land essential to watershed resiliency.”

Jerry Brunen, Executive Director, Western Sky Land Trust

In addition to education, outreach, and the development of analytical tools, grant approvals announced today will fund the restoration of more than five kilometres of riparian areas and the creation or restoration of more than 16 hectares of wetlands. Most of the work will be done in the Bow River or Oldman River basins.

The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program is a three-year, $21-million program. Funding is available to non-governmental organizations, stewardship groups and other not-for-profit organizations, as well as municipalities, First Nations and local authorities.

WRRP Grants (November 2015)

Recipient Project Description Grant Amount
The City of Calgary – Water Resources Location: Elbow River, Bow River, Nose Creek Restoration of 5 kilometres of riparian areas that were severely affected by the 2013 flood. Restoration is guided by technical studies and evidence that well-vegetated riparian areas have better resiliency and erosion control during flood events. $750,000
Town of High River Location: Highwood River Riparian areas will be enhanced with native plants at 4 sites in locations that were restored following the 2013 flood. $300,000
Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation Location: Upstream of Town of Coaldale, Oldman River basin Restoration of wetland features and creation of 16.2 hectare (40-acre) wetland in a flood sensitive area. Outreach and education on the importance of wetlands and natural watershed features will be included in existing public program. $749,000
Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society Location: Fish Creek Provincial Park Restoration of 500 metres of riparian area and engagement with local community to promote stewardship. $16,820
Taber Irrigation District Location: Oldman River basin Following the development of a stormwater management plan, the project will restore riparian areas and enhance wetlands in the irrigation district. $45,000
Lesser Slave Watershed Council Location: Lesser Slave Lake basin Riparian restoration assessment plan to identify priority areas and engage with land owners to promote stewardship and select sites for restoration. $12,500
Oldman Watershed Council Location: Dutch Creek watershed, Oldman River basin headwaters Establishment of a demonstration site to test protocols for land reclamation/restoration and, community outreach and engagement to promote stewardship. $233,000
Western Sky Land Trust Location: Bow River and its major tributaries Engagement with 450 riparian land owners along the Bow and Elbow Rivers upstream of Calgary and the Sheep and Highwood Rivers to promote stewardship by direct engagement using information tools such as newly developed maps, the Green Acreage Guide and opportunities for voluntary conservation practices. $221,000
Trout Unlimited Canada Location: Bow, Elbow, Highwood, Sheep Rivers Visual inventory of 290 kilometers of riparian area to identify and document the extent of structural erosion controls (e.g. bank armouring). The project will include outreach to land managers and identification of restoration opportunities. $32,733
Bow River Basin Council Location: Bow River basin Development of a sub-module of the Land-use Cumulative Effects Simulation model (ALCES) as an analytical tool for assessing the consequences of watershed restoration. $245,000
Foothills Research Institute Location: Headwaters of the Bow River basin The collection of data and the development of a tool for prioritization of on-the-ground restoration in forested riparian areas. $99,880
Red Deer County Location: Red Deer River basin Engagement with up to 20 landowners to implement agricultural management practices for improved flood and drought resiliency as well as improved water quality. $175,000
TOTAL $2,879,933