Since its formation in 2004, the ERWP has promoted, funded and participated in projects and programs which further our vision of a healthy Elbow River watershed. Many are multi-year programs and all have depended on significant contributions from our partners, funders and/or volunteers. The following describes some of the ERWP’s programs, both past and present, and gives examples of recent forums and presentations organized and/or delivered by the ERWP.
Watershed Heritage Trail (built in 2018)
The ERWP worked with Bow River Basin Council Stakeholder Engagement Committee, Bragg Creek Historical Society, Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association, and Alberta Environment and Parks, to design and build a short interpretive trail in the West Bragg Creek day use area.The trail is approximately 500 metres one way and is an easy to moderate walk.
Funding for this project provided by the Bow River Basin Council, The City of Calgary, Elbow River Watershed Partnership (casino volunteers), Land Stewardship Centre and Rocky View County.
Riparian Restoration at Silvester Creek (2015 to date)
To repair damage to flood-impacted riparian areas on Silvester Creek, the ERWP works with several provincial agencies, Cows and Fish, Trout Unlimited, OHV user groups and others in a multi-year program supported by the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP) of the Alberta Government. Many volunteers are contributing to the work being carried out at several locations along this important habitat for Westslope Cutthroat Trout.
McLean Creek Stream Crossing Signs (2015)
The ERWP worked with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD) Land Management, Cows and Fish and the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society to design and install stream crossing signs within the McLean Creek Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ), with financial support from Rocky View County.
Springbank Creek Native Planting and Sign (2015)
The ERWP worked with Springbank Park for All Seasons and Springbank High School to complete riparian restoration around a stormwater pond and Springbank Creek, and erect an educational sign detailing the work completed and its importance to the watershed. Some financial support was contributed by Rocky View County.
Bragg Creek Trails (2015 to date)
This project supports the work of the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association in ongoing riparian restoration and trail rehabilitation and development in the West Bragg Creek Recreation Area.
McLean Creek Water Quality Monitoring (2015 to date)
This program monitors water quality at several sites in the McLean Creek Public Land Use Zone. Along with the Bragg Creek volunteer monitoring program, it contributes to a greater understanding of the health of the watershed. It has been financially supported by the Land Stewardship Centre of Canada under the Watershed Stewardship Grant Program and The City of Calgary.
Riparian Health Inventories in the Upper Elbow Watershed (2008, 2013)
This project repeated riparian health inventories conducted in the upper Elbow watershed (McLean Creek Public Land Use Zone) in 2007 by Cows and Fish, and undertook riparian health assessments at identified hotspots. This project was financially supported by the Alberta Conservation Association.
Riparian Restoration on McLean Creek (2007 to date)
To repair flood-damaged and Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)-impacted riparian areas on McLean Creek, the ERWP works with several provincial agencies, including the Backcountry Trails Flood Rehabilitation Program, Cows and Fish, Trout Unlimited, OHV user groups and others.
Bragg Creek Water Quality Monitoring Program (2005 to date)
Since 2005, community volunteers have been monitoring water quality at six locations along Bragg Creek during the spring and summer. Results can be found on the Elbow Research and Data page. The ERWP provides equipment and supplies for this work.
Freshwater Field Study Program (2005 to date)
Based on the belief that our rivers are an expression of our landscape, this curriculum-based program educates Grade 8, 9 and 11 students about the link between land use and water quality through hands-on learning and challenges them to play a positive role in protecting the health of their watershed. The program also nurtures environmental educators by providing internships.
Students participate in a full-day field trip to the Elbow River, travelling by bus to the headwaters of the Elbow River where they make observations about land use and measure water quality. The bus then takes them downstream and along the way they observe the increase in land use and measure the river water at various locations for turbidity, nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, pH and temperature. Students learn about the physical, chemical, and social characteristics of the Elbow River watershed and the connection between land use and water quality. Our partners in this popular multi-year program are Alberta Environment and Parks (Kananaskis Region) and the Bow River Basin Council, with financial support from The City of Calgary, Rocky View County and the Land Stewardship Centre. For more information, see Freshwater Field School.
A Photographic Journey along the Elbow River (2006)
The ERWP supported the CD production of “A Photographic Journey along the Elbow River”, a spectacular set of photographs taken by Calgary neurologist and photographer, Dr. Robert Lee. Sponsored by the Alberta Stewardship Network.
Griffith Woods River Cleanup Program (2005)
River cleanup of the Elbow River at Griffith Woods took place in 2005 and 2006.
Bragg Creek River Cleanup Program (2004-2008)
River cleanup of the Elbow River at Bragg Creek took place to coincide with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Partners for these events were numerous: residents of Bragg Creek, the Sierra Club of Canada - Chinook Chapter, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Husky Energy and Friends of Kananaskis Country.
Junior Naturalists Summer Day Camps in the Elbow River Watershed (2004-2006)
The Junior Naturalists Summer Day Camp on the Elbow River offered two week-long outdoor programs each summer for 9- to 12-year-olds. This day program emphasized water science education, observation skills and respect for nature in the Kananaskis, Bragg Creek and Calgary areas. Special workshops each day gave the children an opportunity to learn from such experts as fish habitat biologists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, expert anglers from Trout Unlimited and water quality specialists from The City of Calgary Waterworks. Partners in this program included Friends of Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks and Protected Areas, with funding support from the MD of Rocky View.
Cattle Setback Program (2004)
Farmers of the Elbow Watershed (FEW) are dedicated to improving water quality and the natural landscape of the Elbow River watershed by expanding the current infrastructure of farm fences and water supplies for cattle. This program allowed local ranchers to access funds for fencing projects that isolate cattle from direct access to water areas, acting as better stewards of adjacent waterways and demonstrating that natural riparian habitat can coexist with agriculture. FEW completed a third habitat enhancement project in 2004 along the Elbow River.
Bragg Creek ADOPT-A-STREAM Project (2004-2005)
A partnership effort between many organizations and made possible by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Stewardship in Action Initiative. Ten signs about the Elbow River watershed were installed along the Elbow by the Glencoe Golf and Country Club and the Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition.
Elbow River Watershed Signage (2004)
Signage as part of “Adopt-A-Stream” was erected at several public areas along the Elbow River to encourage watershed protection. Sign are located along the Elbow River at Twin Bridges west of the City limits, at Highway 22, and in and around Bragg Creek.
Recent Examples of ERWP Forums and Presentations:
December 2016: Update on WRRP Restoration Projects, BRBC Quarterly Forum, Strathmore.
October 2016. ERWP Riparian Restoration Workshop, October 14-15, WRRP Project at Silvester Creek and Fish Creek in McLean Creek PLUZ. Redwood House, Redwood Meadows.
April 2016: Riparian Restoration in the Elbow Watershed, Redwood House, Redwood Meadows.
April 2016: Research on the Elbow River Watershed, Dr. C. Ryan’s U of C students’ presentations, The City of Calgary Water Centre.
October 2015: Wetlands Governing Policy, Preservation and Restoration within the Elbow River Watershed, ERWP and Rocky View County, Bragg Creek Community Centre.
October 2015: Freshwater Field School, Presentation at ABCEE Earth Matters Conference, Canmore, with V. Perkins, Alberta Environment and Parks.
October 2015: Bioengineering and Restoration in West Bragg Creek Recreation Area, ERWP and Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association.
Summer 2015: A Day in the Elbow Headwaters Testing Water Quality, Cassiano Porto, Nature Calgary/Glenmore-Weaselhead Park Society.
May 2015: Changing Hydrology and Land Use in the Elbow Watershed, Dr. Danielle Marceau, University of Calgary (Redwood House, Redwood Meadows)
April 2015, 2016: Edible Aquifer, Earth Day Celebration (Redwood House, Redwood Meadows)
May 2014: Come Hell and High Water: Hydrologic Change and Its Consquences, Robert Sandford (Redwood House, Redwood Meadows)
April 2014: Information Event – Bow River Flood Mitigation Report (Redwood House, Redwood Meadows)