REWILDING THROUGH RESTORATIONCategory: 2017, Community Grant, Current, Grant, Land Use
The project addresses riparian degradation due to overuse by park visitors. Overuse leads to trampling, erosion, proliferation of invasive species, patches of bare compacted soil, slumping of creek banks and reduced watershed resiliency. Over the past 3 years, Friends of Fish Creek have worked with their partners to devise efficient effective strategies to support managing the creek banks back toward a more natural state in line with Alberta Parks’ ‘ReWilding’ concept.
Their project outcomes will lead to improved system health and support watershed resiliency by restricting access to prevent further bare compacted soil and allow the areas to naturally regenerate, removal of invasive species and replacement with native species, planting of willow and poplars to bind the creek bank together. These actions will improve the health of the riparian system which in turn will provide better wildlife habitat, a more robust creek bank to resist erosion and flood damage, and contribute to overall watershed resiliency.
By fencing off the areas with accompanying interpretive signage, removing invasive species and planting poplars, willows and native shrubs, Friends of Fish Creek will enhance the natural regenerative processes and support restoration of the system toward a more natural state. Project outcomes are measured by percent cover native species, regrowth over previously bare soil and establishment of native species, poplar and willow cuttings. These metrics will be recorded by trained community volunteers using the Riparian Health Assessment process.
Community volunteer engagement is one of their primary strategies to support their vision and mission, and ongoing commitment to develop trained community volunteers to further engage the community in the park and its long term sustainability. Regular monitoring by volunteers will guide their management actions to maximize the outcomes of their restoration work.