Working together for a healthy Elbow River watershed

The Elbow River Watershed Partnership is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 to promote and support good watershed management.

Watershed Assesment

Watershed Mapping Initiative

The Calgary Regional Partnership Watershed Mapping Initiative is undertaking a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) project which will bring together all relevant geospatial information related to the following watersheds: Elbow River, Bow River, Nose Creek, Highwood River and Sheep River. One of their goals is to provide a foundation for watershed assessment and water quality modeling tools to support watershed management initiatives. Project updates will be provided here when available.

Project Background

Various agencies have adopted a Watershed Management Approach for effectively protecting and restoring aquatic ecosystems and protecting human health. One of the major features of this approach is an integrated solution through the use of a Watershed Information Management System. Implementation of such a system requires joint effort among various agencies and stakeholder groups interested in the watershed particularly in the data gathering stage. Increased data sharing is an important benefit of any process in which stakeholders from different organizations work toward common goals. Most agencies have records and information systems unique to their individual functions. Inaccessible data on the watershed presents a significant limitation to many agencies. As our demand for water resources increases, we are faced with the need for good resource management to maintain the quality and quantity of our water supplies. To successfully manage a resource such as a watershed, information about its components must be gathered and evaluated. GIS can help collect, store, analyze and maintain spatial data for an entire basin using data from several agencies, e.g. to show the relationship between land use and predict non-point source loading. GIS buffering techniques are being used to assess the needs for riparian habitat protection, for biodiversity analysis, for planning wetland management programs, and other purposes. The Sheep River Watershed Information Management Support System (WIMSS) is an example of a collaborative and collective approach to developing a multi-disciplinary geographic based information system. The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP), in co-operation with other agencies, recognizes the need for such a system and the Elbow River Watershed was chosen as the initial project focus to create a watershed database.