RDRWA releases results of riparian area mapping project in the Medicine-Blindman Rivers watershed

The Red Deer River Watershed Alliance (RDRWA) is pleased to release the results of a new technical study that assesses the intactness (condition) of riparian areas in the Medicine-Blindman Rivers watershed. The RDRWA partnered with Fiera Biological Consulting to assess riparian intactness (condition) along 1782 kilometers of shoreline in the Medicine-Blindman Rivers watershed using a GIS-based approach in 2020.

TheMedicine-Blindman Rivers watershed includes parts of Red Deer, Lacombe, Clearwater, Ponoka, and Wetaskiwin counties, as well as urban areas including the City of Red Deer, Penhold, Innisfail, and Sylvan Lake. This study area was selected because it includes important source water protection zones for the City of Red Deer, and because the area has been identified as a high priority for flood and drought mitigation. The Medicine-Blindman Rivers watershed includes three smaller watersheds: the Medicine River, the Blindman River, and the Red Deer River/ Sylvan Lake subwatersheds.

This report provides essential information to municipalities and other partners to help spatially target the conservation and restoration of riparian areas. Specifically, the report helps to:

  1. Assess the intactness (condition) of riparian shorelines, recognizing that intact riparian areas provide protection in the face of flood and drought risks.  
  2. Assess pressures (natural and anthropogenic) upslope of riparian areas that may impair riparian system function. 
  3. Prioritize areas for potential riparian conservation and/or restoration

The RDRWA will host a webinar for community members and stakeholders to learn more about the project in November 2020. The RDRWA will also continue to work with key partners to identify potential on-the-ground projects and to raise awareness about riparian areas and other natural assets in 2020 and 2021. Please stay tuned for details in the comingweeks.

The RDRWA wishes to thank Fiera Biological Consulting for leading the technical phase of this project, and the Government of Alberta for funding this initiative. We also wish to thank the partners involved in this project to date, including: Red Deer County, Clearwater County, Ponoka County, Lacombe County, Cows and Fish, and the Medicine River Watershed Society. 

Report: Details about the methodology and results can be found in the full project report (attached)

For more information, please contact:

Josée Méthot

Executive Director, Red Deer River Watershed Alliance

Phone: 403-340-7379  E-mail: josee.methot@rdrwa.ca