ACCESS MANAGEMENT IN OUR HEADWATERS AND BEYONDCategory: 2014, Collective Impact Grant, Completed, Land Use
Oldman Watershed Council, Miistakis Institute, Cows & Fish, Environmental Law Centre
Access management is rapidly becoming one of Alberta’s biggest challenges. As our population grows, and more people seek recreational opportunities in the outdoors, the environmental health in our watersheds declines and is put at risk because of intensive land use, lack of access management planning, and lack of user education. This project will focus on the headwaters of the Oldman watershed along the Eastern Slopes and the high density of linear features that is contributing to fish and wildlife population declines, sedimentation of streams, and weed invasions.
Bringing the diverse skill sets of four organizations can create impact at local and provincial levels. Starting with a demonstration site in the Dutch Creek watershed, the project will engage local recreational users in conversations about recreation management and undertake environmental restoration activities in the watershed. This pilot project will take place concurrently with continued legal and policy research and the creation of four stakeholder engagement workshops and a provincial framework for access management. Access management is a wicked problem and both site-specific and provincial approaches are needed to tackle it. Although the focus is on environmental health, management of the headwaters has also become a divisive social issue. One of the project goals is to help people see how our economic, social, cultural, and environmental needs, are connected.
Working together on this initiative allows the grantees to address the diversity of needs through their collective skills and complementary mandates: policy, awareness, education, planning, stakeholder engagement, ecological and social monitoring and action on the ground. Overall, this work will benefit the local watershed and more broadly, will inform and create momentum in the eastern slopes of Alberta to improve use of these areas, and potentially inform access management planning across the province.