That’s A Wrap! – RDRWA Produces New Video Series

Lights, Camera, Action! The Red Deer River Watershed Alliance (RDRWA) hopes to get Albertans “hooked” on watershed management through two new short video projects being produced this fall.

Native Fish Need Our Help

Thirty-two different fish species have been observed and recorded in the Red Deer River, including bull trout, mountain whitefish, longnose dace and longnose sucker. Changes in stream condition and habitat in parts of the watershed have led to declines in native trout populations, as well as concerns about the long-term health of small streams within the watershed and impacts to species. 

The RDRWA enlisted the help of filmmaker Michael Short, of Let’s Go Outdoors, to highlight the significance of the Red Deer River fishery, and interconnectedness of the river to healthy landscapes and aquatic ecosystems. Filming took place this fall at locations along the Eastern Slopes, including the James River and Upper Red Deer River; and will also profile local efforts by organizations such as Alberta Transportation, Trout Unlimited Canada, industry, OHV users, and backcountry groups in support of native trout and fish habitat restoration.

Michael Short filming a coldwater stream upstream of a perched culvert.
Trout Unlimited Canada Biologist Lesley Peterson examines a perched culvert at Logan Creek in the upper Red Deer River watershed. Perched culverts disrupt fish movement.

This video project is a joint initiative between the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance (RDRWA), Trout Unlimited Canada and the Alberta Native Trout Collaborative. The RDRWA hopes to screen this new video in early 2022. Thanks to our interviewees including: Lesley Peterson (Trout Unlimited Canada); Jacqueline Pallard (University of Alberta); Kelsey Kure (West Fraser); Trisha Robertson (Alberta Transportation); Cal Rakach (OHV enthusiast, formerly with the Alberta OHV Association); and Neil Keown (Alberta Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Association).

“A Shore Thing”

The RDRWA also recently wrapped filming on a second video highlighting a project focused on the conservation and restoration of riparian areas in the Medicine-Blindman Rivers subwatersheds, funded by the provincial Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program. 

Riparian areas are productive and biologically-rich shorelines at the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. They help to filter and store water, prevent erosion, provide habitat, and can offer protection in the face of flood and drought events. The Medicine-Blindman River sub-watersheds include important source water protection zones for the City of Red Deer and downstream, and these areas have been identified as a high priority for flood and drought mitigation.

The Medicine River, near Gilby.

Filmmaker Michael Manus assisted the RDRWA with telling the visual story of the Medicine and Blindman Rivers, capturing the efforts of organizations and individuals working on landscape-level conservation and management. Stay tuned for the video release later this winter.

Good stewardship of the land is interconnected with the heath of the water. Red Deer County ALUS Coordinator, Ken Lewis speaks with members of the Hillman Family, who ranch along the Medicine River.

Thank you to our filmmakers and interviewees: Ken Lewis (Red Deer County / ALUS Canada); Phil Boehme (City of Red Deer); Kelsey Spicer-Rawe (Cows and Fish); Greg Hillman (local landowner); and Josée Méthot (Red Deer River Watershed Alliance).

Thank you also to the Olds College Drone Club for volunteering on a Saturday morning to shoot drone footage along the Medicine River, to local landowner Brian Jackson for giving us a tour of his property, and to Murray Welch (RDRWA Board member and Medicine River Watershed Society member) for support behind the scenes while filming. 

These two videos will add to the RDRWA’s recent video series, including Source Waters: The Rivers that Shape Us, plus videos on climate change and streamflows and gravel-bed rivers.

Members of the Olds College RPAS Club assist with capturing aerial footage along the Medicine River.