SENSITIVE HABITAT INVENTORY MAPPING PROJECTCategory: 2016, Current, Grant, Water
Lac La Biche is the seventh largest lake in Alberta, with importance to the local economy and culture. Local and provincial government, in collaboration with lake stakeholders, created a watershed management plan for Lac La Biche in 2009, but to date, little has been done to implement it. The Stewards of the Lac La Biche Watershed are a group of community stakeholders committed to implementing the monitoring, outreach and stewardship recommendations in the plan.
Past support from the Alberta Ecotrust for Phase 1 enabled the formation of Stewards of Lac La Biche Watershed and supported the following achievements: obtained society status within the province of Alberta; established a governing membership for the legal entity; delivered school-based education programming at Plamondon and Aurora Schools; hosted a shoreline cleanup; and conducted water monitoring and additional community outreach initiatives.
Scoping for the Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping (SHIM) component of the program has involved comparison of existing shoreline information, including fish and wildlife habitat assessments, collected as part of the Lake Management Planning process, with data requirements for completing the Aquatic Habitat Index as per Fisheries and Oceans Canada protocol.
The Stewards of Lac La Biche Watershed are building on previous successes and are now entering Phase 2, which will integrate and implement key recommendations of the 2009 Lac La Biche Watershed Management Plan. We will work in collaboration with our partner groups to implement recommendations identified under water quality, water quantity, riparian areas and wetlands, and fisheries, waterfowl and wildlife. The Lac La Biche Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping Project will engage the community to better understand the health of the lake through active stewardship activities. Land use, riparian habitat changes, and existing sensitive fish and wildlife habitats will be identified through the collection of sound scientific data. It will provide an opportunity to improve land use and lake management decisions through the creation of Shoreline Management Guidelines that better protect, stabilize and enhance important fish and wildlife habitats and the water they depend on.