West-Central Forage Association

Paddle River Stewardship Project

Paddle R 018 Jul28 2009.jpg

Paddle River Stewardship Project (2010-2013)

The Paddle River Stewardship Group (PRSG), is made up of members of the community (Anselmo) that border the Paddle River. The group was formed in 2009 and took on the task of looking after the best interests of the riparian zone along the Paddle.

In 2010, with funding from Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), riparian assessments were carried out on ten different sites by Cows and Fish from July-September. The results of those assessments were given as individual reports to the landowners as well as an over assessment of the health of the river. It also indicated a number of suggestions that would improve the ecosystems capacity further. The PRSG, in partnership with WCFA, Alberta Conservation Association and West Central Conservation Group (now known as SACA), decided to take those suggestions as sound advice and turn them into deliverables. Some of these deliverables included: exclusion fencing stretches of the riparian area to better manage grazing, introduction of biological control agents (weevils) to control Canada thistle, planting trees to improve declining riparian health, and carrying out water tests to provide benchmarks of overall water quality.

A riparian health field day was hosted in in 2010 to allow landowners to be educated on riparian areas, plant identification and health assessment methodologies. A workshop on effective fence design for exclusion fencing and riparian areas was held in 2011, and featured guest speaker Tom Lynch-Stuanton.

Fencing was conducted on approximately 5.5 miles of river, in cooperation with four farmers. Three producers released stem-mining weevils on thistle patched in the Riparian areas to begin control of the Canada thistle present. Tree planting was also conducted by three producers along the river and over 300 tress were planted.

Water sampling commenced in the fall of 2011. The first round of water samples were analyzed by an Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development water specialist. A report was provided, and it suggested that a different approach be taken to water sampling. The protocol was changed following this and beginning in 2012 samples were collected from two sites at least two times per year, with the aim to collect samples four times per year (once a month for the months of May-August). Samples were collected in both 2012 and 2013.

Reports related to this project can be downloaded below.