LONG-TERM REVEGETATION SUCCESS OF INDUSTRY RECLAMATION TECHNIQUES IN NATIVE GRASSLANDS

Category: 2015, Community Grant, Completed, Grant, Land Use

GRANTEE

Southwest Alberta Sustainable Community Initiative

LOCATION

About

Alberta’s native grasslands provide environmental, economic and social benefits to the residents of Alberta and beyond. Native grasslands provide important functions, such as cleansing our air, filtering our water, and storing carbon. Native grasslands support a diversity of flora and provide habitat for keystone wildlife species such as elk and bears. Industrial development and intensification of agriculture are rapidly changing Alberta’s prairie landscapes with large consequences on native habitat for fisheries, wildlife and ecosystem services.

There is uncertainty regarding our ability to restore native grassland plant communities such as fescue grasslands. Given increasing development pressures from multiple industries on grasslands of the foothills and eastern slopes, there is an urgent need to determine effective restoration methods and promote industry stewardship on native grassland landscapes. Revegetation monitoring on recovering disturbances in the native grasslands in the Foothills Fescue and Montane Natural Subregions will provide reclamation practitioners with important science-based information and tools for effective reclamation practice that promotes restoration of disturbances.

Developing guidelines to improve reclamation practice supports the Foothills Restorations Forums mission to educate and disseminate information that will improve reclamation practice and stewardship. Thus far, similar studies have been completed for the Dry Mixedgrass, Mixedgrass and Northern Fescue Natural Subregions. This project is required to complete the suite of new tools. The resulting tools are used by colleges (e.g. Medicine Hat and Lethbridge) in their reclamation courses and by practitioners in improving reclamation outcomes on native prairie.