INCREASING CAPACITY FOR WATERSHED STEWARDSHIP IN FISH CREEK PROVINCIAL PARKCategory: 2018, Community Grant, Current, Grant, Land Use
Fish Creek Provincial Park is a unique and special area, existing within the bustling and growing City of Calgary. With an average of three million visitors annually to the park, there is a fine balance between peoples’ love of the landscape and significant environmental degradation that can result from this high degree of use and many different types of recreation enjoyed there.
Riparian health along Fish Creek has been assessed as “unhealthy” in many areas due to the compaction of soil and loss of vegetation resulting from frequent off-trail use along its banks. Friends of Fish Creek has been addressing this issue since 2014 as part of their ReWilding (riparian restoration) work. Other stewardship opportunities help Friends of Fish Creek to engage the public on a variety of important issues, always with a goal of highlighting how people can positively contribute and give back to this park community. Some of this work supports areas that Alberta Environment and Parks currently lacks the resources to address, such as the protection of trees from beavers through our tree wrapping program, the pulling of invasive weeds and park clean ups.
Through these programs, Friends of Fish Creek is able to work closely with partner organizations and community and corporate volunteers to make a positive impact on the park landscape. Invasive weed pulls, tree wrapping and ReWilding work all contribute to improved riparian health and provide opportunities for people to give back, while park clean ups are a highly sought after experience that engage large numbers of people in our organization and bring awareness to our programs and stewardship goals.
These popular education programs also provide an avenue for engaging the public on park-related issues. However, Friends of Fish Creek’s ability to offer all of their programs is limited by the restrictions they face as a small staff group. They know that they can do more to meet the demand in the community, but to do this, need to grow as an organization.
In the short term, this project will allow Friends of Fish Creek to hire an additional program staff, and focus on much needed program expansion and development.