Why are riparian areas so essential to the health of our land and water?
A small but enthusiastic group of local community members joined the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society (AWES), for their Blindman River Riparian Walk and Talk at the Boulder Lake Conservation Site on August 31st to learn more about riparian areas, and the benefits they provide.
To get people warmed up for the day’s topic, Kelsey Spicer-Rawe from Cows and Fish led participants through a Riparian Areas 101, with lessons on how to ID common riparian plants and grasses. Rosemarie Ferjuc spoke about the Red Deer River Watershed Alliances’ recent project to map riparian intactness in the Medicine-Blindman Rivers sub-watershed, and shared details of a new online riparian portal that will help community members and municipalities identify areas to prioritize for conservation.
Participants also had the opportunity to take a guided walk of the Boulder Lake site with Megan Andre and Bob Undershultz from AWES, who showcased their recent riparian restoration work at Boulder Lake. AWES has already planted thousands of native shrubs and trees to improve water quality and stabilize shorelines along the Blindman River. Despite the hot, dry summer in central Alberta, many of the seedlings have survived and are thriving.
If you are looking for a family-friendly destination close to Red Deer, consider making the short drive to check out Alberta’s newest stocked lake and riparian demonstration site. Located just 12 km northwest of Red Deer adjacent to the Blindman River, Boulder Lake is a reclaimed gravel pit that was recently donated to the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) by a local family. ACA will manage the property, and has been working in partnership with the Lacombe Fish and Game Association on several projects at Boulder Lake. In addition to being a teaching site, the lake has incredible water quality and has recently been stocked with rainbow trout and a few tiger trout, and plans are underway to make some improvements to on-site infrastructure and install a floating dock and casting platform very soon.
Thanks to AWES and their partners for a great day of learning about all things riparian! Be sure to stay tuned for details of their upcoming riparian planting days later this fall.