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Grazing, Cropping and Carbon NEW Factsheet.  Carbon is a key component of life on Earth – it is part of the air we breathe, the food we eat, and in the plants we grow. It is constantly being cycled in the environment and can be stored in the ground with the help of plants that also help to build our soils. Well managed land imitates natural systems, fosters healthy native plant communities and increases amounts of carbon storage throughout the landscape.  Agricultural and other rural landscapes can help store or sequester carbon through beneficial management practices.  Learn more about carbon, grazing and cropping in this new factsheet. 

Cows and Fish Winter 2019 Newsletter is now available!  Read the December 2019 issue of our newsletter to learn more about the Fishy Bit of Cows and Fish, hear a success story from our work with the City of Calgary, find out what a Soap Hole is, see how ranching and species at risk are sharing the landscape and much more.  Download the Winter 2019 newsletter

July 2019 New Publications: Livestock on Waterways: a Literature Review and Managing Effects of Livestock on Waterways on Public Land.  These documents focus on the potential impacts of extensive grazing on water quality, explore commonalities and differences between other agricultural and land use practices, and highlight management options to mitigate any potential adverse impacts. The documents can be found here:

Cows and Fish Spring/Summer 2019 Newsletter is now available!  Read the June 2019 edition of the newsletter to meet our new staff, learn about a State of the Beaver conference held in Oregon this past winter, read a snapshot of riparian health for Alberta, and discover what a one rock dam and a rock baffle are, plus upcoming events and more.  You can view the June 2019 issue here

Putting Beavers to Work for Watershed Resiliency and Restoration.  This collaborative project between Cows and Fish and the Miistakis Institute is focused on facilitating coexistence with beavers so their benefits as a watershed resiliency and restoration tool are realized. In the recent decade, there has been a growing interest from landowners and land managers regarding how to manage and live with beavers. This signaled to us a real need for sharing information on how to coexist with beavers and using beavers as a watershed management tool.  Visit the Putting Beavers to Work website to learn more.  New factsheets on Beavers and Fish and Beaver Coexistence Tools can be found on the website. Look for two new videos posted on beaver coexistence tools including a Beaver Exclusion Fencing Installation Training Session video and a Beaver Pond Leveller Installation Training Session video

Cows and Fish Spring/Summer 2018 Newsletter is now available!  Read the June 2018 edition of the newsletter to learn how Cows and Fish has impact, meet the Cows and Fish Board of Directors, our work with westslope cutthroat trout, an update to some of our research on riparian area forage production, upcoming events and more.  You can view the June 2018 issue here

Cows and Fish Fall/Winter 2017 Newsletter is now available!  We are pleased to share with you our December 2017 issue of our newsletter.  This issue highlights some of our recent work on beavers and their linkages to watershed health, a salute to Lorne Fitch, our now retired (but still on the Board of Directors) Provincial Biologist, meet our Riparian Analysts and some useful grazing information. You can view the December 2017 issue here.

Beavers In Our Landscape - Ecology and Case Studies WEBINAR Recording.  On March 15, 2017 Cows and Fish hosted a webinar for the first time.  Downlaod the recording to view the slides and listen in. 

Cows and Fish Fall/Winter 2016 Newsletter now available! We are pleased to share with you our December 2016 issue of our newsletter.  This is a great way to keep informed of what Cows and Fish has been working on and will be working on in the future, and to keep informed of upcoming events and activities. You can view the December 2016 issue here.

Riparian Grazing – Strategies for Success factsheet.  This factsheet was developed by Cows and Fish for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, as part of the Growing Forward 2 On Farm Stewardship Program.  More  information on cost-share funding and other factsheets can be found on their website, including the Riparian Planting guidelines factsheet we developed as part of this factsheet series. 

Beaver - Our Watershed Partner booklet.  The long-awaited beaver document by our own Provincial Biologist Lorne Fitch (and contributors) is available digitally!  This booklet has been written for the people who can most effectively influence watersheds and riparian areas - landowners, municipalities, conservation groups and industry.  Beaver have been building and modifying watersheds for thousands of years.  This booklet will help you gain a better understanding of beaver biology and ecology, their role in watershed health and function, how beaver can help us adapt to a changing climate, beavers as a watershed restoration tool, and thoughts on beaver management.  Download your digital copy now (11MB).

Cows and Fish is pleased to share with you our first newsletter!  We know we were a little slow on the uptake of a digital newsletter, but now that we've launched this new and exciting way to keep you informed, please feel free to sign up to receive this twice yearly newsletter. You can view the December 2015 issue here

NEW Report:  2014 Riparian Health Inventory Project (Year 4) Westslope Cutthroat Trout Priority Streams.  In 2014, the Cows and Fish conducted 14 riparian health inventories in priority native Westslope Cutthroat Trout stream reaches along 12 stream systems, primarily in the Upper Oldman River Sub-basin. This project builds on prior riparian health inventories conducted by Cows and Fish since 2005 on 42 priority Westslope Cutthroat Trout streams in the Eastern Slopes within the Bow and Oldman River basins. Riparian health data collected as part of this project will be used to help further Westslope Cutthroat Trout habitat stewardship and recovery efforts in Alberta. Westslope Cutthroat Trout, a Threatened native fish species under Canada’s Species At Risk Act and Alberta’s Wildlife Act, has been reduced to less than 10% of its historic range in the province.  Download the full report to learn more. 

Ferry Point Riparian Restoration Program - Battle River Watershed.  Cows and Fish partnered with the Battle River Watershed Alliance in 2012-2014 to work with Battle River landowners on the Ferry Point Riparian Restoration Program.  A Project Journal tells the story of this Progam and all it's achievements. 

Farmers, Ranchers and other Landowners! Wondering about how to deal with beavers?  What are your management options and alternatives?  How about the costs and benefits of making different management choices?  This new tool will help you better understand the ecological and agricultural pros and cons of a variety of management choices.  Click here to see the NEW decision matrix:  An Overview of Beaver Management for Agricultural Producers

Rural Canada produces some of the world's best food, including Canadian beef. Check out Canada Beef's site for instructional videos, tasty recipes and stories about our very own farmers!

Interested in learning more about beavers, their impacts and the role that they play on our landscapes and in our watersheds. Leave It To Beavers Watershed Stewardship Group has great resources for teachers, students and landowners!

Operation Grassland Community has put together an innovative film called the Conservation Caravan through collaboration with land stewards in rural Alberta to protect and enhance prairie ecosystems! Check it out at Operation Grassland.

Check out this episode of the Beef Research School series How to assess riparian zones: Beef Research School video as Ken Lewis, conservation coordinator with Red Deer County, describes what to look for to assess the health of riparian zones on your land. Ken also explains where to find additional resources to help with riparian assessments.

Have a look at this video of Lorne Fitch, our Provincial Riparian Specialist, as he takes us on a tour of the wonders of the natural regions of Alberta, and links land and water, explaining some of the challenges we face in managing our landscapes for a quality environment.  View the video online here:

New article posted!  Prairie-fed Rivers: Appreciating Local Waters - A reality for many living in Alberta and across the Prairie Provinces is that for most their water comes from a local prairie-fed source. This differentiates these watersheds from headwater systems, whose flows come from our glaciers and mountains. This article provides some insight into these unique prairie systems.

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) has launched a new website,  The BCRC is Canada’s only national industry-led funding agency for beef research and plays an important role in identifying the industry’s research and development priorities and subsequently influencing public sector investment in beef cattle research. The BCRC operates as a division of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA). 

Rolling Down the River with the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) June 17 to 21, 2012 . A big thanks goes out to our friends at the BRWA for inviting Cows and Fish to "Roll Down the River" to raise awareness about watershed and human health. Cows and Fish staff, Kelsey Spicer-Rawe, joined staff from BRWA, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and Canadian Forces Base Wainwright, for two days of a five day journey to bike the Battle River watershed from headwaters to the confluence with the North Saskatchewan River.  Community events and classroom programs were included at stops along the way in Ponoka and Camrose. For more information visit the BRWA website

Check out our new women's grazing school and  It's a great way to stay connected to our upcoming grazing schools!  Hope to see you there!

REAL Beef Update.  Does the food on your plate conjure up images of healthy fescue grasslands, abundant wetlands and thick stands of aspen?  Connecting the food on our dinner plates to the landowners who produce our food and steward the land is easier than you think.   Learn more about the Cows and Fish REAL (Ranchers Enhancing Alberta's Landscapes) Beef initiative from a feature article just realesed on the Agriculture and Rural Development website. Or download the pdf version

Donate to Cows and Fish Online!  Visit the About section and then click on Supporting Cows and Fish to make an online donation.  Or Click Here.  You can join our Youth Education, Emission Reduction or Technology Team by making a donation today!

Blog Much?  A couple of interesting blogs you may wish to follow. Both are a great way to keep connected with some events and programs happening in central Alberta!  Red Deer County's "Off the Creek Program Blog" ( and the "Ladies Livestock Lessons Blog" ( 

Cows and Fish Strategic Plan.  August 2011.  To learn more about our current direction and vision, download the newly released Strategic Plan titled, "Setting Our Direction - 2011 to 2015". 

Beavers - Love 'Em, Hate 'Em Digital Story.  Have a peek at this humorous, informative and engaging story created by one of our Cows and Fish Riparian Specialists.  You make the decision - do you love 'em or hate 'em?  Click here to watch the story on You Tube. 

REAL Beef - Ranchers Enhancing Alberta's Landscapes 

Cows and Fish has launched an initiative called REAL Beef (Ranchers Enhancing Alberta’s Landscapes). The objective of REAL Beef is to help rural communities and agricultural producers link to urban, consumer communities by promoting sustainable food production. Read more...

Waterlution's Canadian Water Innovation Lab Unconference (October 21-24, 2010).  Engaged young Canadian leaders, including a few Cows and Fish staff, representing every corner of the country are exhilarated after a once-in-a-lifetime learning event focused on protecting our most precious natural resource: water.  Download the press release to learn more or visit   


250 water-passionate Canadians aged 18 to 35 from all over the country demonstrate their commitment to a healthy water future with a photographic message from the Rockies showing the Canadian flag with a drop of water instead of the maple leaf. Taken Saturday, October 23 at YMCA Camp Chief Hector in Exshaw, Alberta as a part of the inaugural Canadian Water Innovation Lab.

Community Engagement for Watershed Protection - NEW Partnership Project Funded by RBC Blue Water Project

Cows and Fish has teamed up with the Alberta Water Matters Society to promote local stewardship in Alberta.  The RBC Foundation recently granted Water Matters a 2010 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant in the amount of $100,000 to support community based stewardship and the grassroots work of watershed groups in Alberta. The new program, Partnering to Promote Local Stewardship, will allow Cows and Fish staff and Water Matters staff to work together to achieve greater impact.  More...

NEW Fact Sheet!  A Pond of Gold.  Storing Water Naturally. 

Many people believe that water will be the new gold of the future. As the reality of climate change becomes ever more apparent, we will need to catch and store water more effectively. We’ve given water lots of advice, in the form of expensive dams and big reservoirs but is that always the best solution? Likely not. Have we overlooked a natural ally in our efforts to conserve and manage water? Yes, consider the beaver!

French Language Fact Sheets!  We have translated three additional fact sheets into French language.  To view the fact sheets available in French visit our publications pages. 

New Pilot Project - Ecological Goods and Services in County of Vermilion River. On January 20, 2010, the ALUS Partnership Advisory Committee, in cooperation with the County of Vermilion River launched the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) Pilot Project.  ALUS is a concept pioneered by grassroots farm organizations across Canada to help meet the growing demand for environmental products, such as clean air and greenhouse gas reductions, clean water, fish and wildlife habitat, conservation of species at risk and development and maintenance of appealing agricultural landscapes.  To date partner organizations that support ALUS, with funding or direction, include the Alberta Conservation Association, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, County of Vermilion River, Cows and Fish, Delta Waterfowl, and Wildlife Habitat Canada. PAC producer members include Doug and Cheryl Livingstone, Sean McGrath, Trent Selte, Ed Parke and Ralph Chamberlain.  View the recent press release here

Cows and Fish Gala and Appreciation Event. On Dec 3, 2008, we held our Cows and Fish Appreciation Gala, to celebrate nearly 18 years working on riparian areas in Alberta.  It was a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the support provided by landowners, watershed groups, partners and members, to celebrate our successes, and share our experiences.   The evening gave us a chance to reflect on our past, visit with friends and look forward to many future years to come.  In early 2009, check back on our website for a video of the event, including the opening address from Hon. Ted Morton, Minister, Sustainable Resource Development.


"It was rejuvenating to see the passion and dedication of individual landowners and staff to make a difference. It is truly worthy of a celebration and much is owing by Albertans to the efforts of Cows and Fish staffers to not only get the message out, but show that individual action can safeguard our riparian systems on a very busy landscape. Well done. "     


Ken Crutchfield,

Executive Director, Fisheries Management Branch, Fish and Wildlife Division


Looking for a riparian image? Check out the NEW Cows and Fish Photo Gallery for a selection of riparian images available for download.

Cows and Fish Has Won the Alberta Emerald Award in Education!
We are very honoured to accept this award for Cows and Fish.  The Emerald Awards recognize "outstanding initiatives and achievements in dealing with many environmental challenges".  We are very proud on behalf of our hard-working staff and our program to have been included in this prestigious event.  This Emerald Award, coupled with the national Canadian Environment Gold Award in the "Environmental Learning" category (2003), provides a tangible sense that our role, as a stewardship program providing education and awareness, is being increasingly recognized for its utility, focus and high standards.  These awards are recognition that education, a process of conveying information in a way that changes beliefs, can also change the way we interact with, and care for the world.  Perhaps this is also an acknowledgement that education is a process that takes time, and to be effective requires patience and persistence.

We recognize that our accomplishments result from the help of many individuals, organizations and agencies over a broad range of time, beginning with the formation of our program in 1992.  Our funding, which fuels the engine of Cows and Fish, comes from a wide range of sources.  Our support network includes: Alberta Beef Producers, Trout Unlimited Canada, Alberta Conservation Association, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Environment, Alberta Community Development, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (PFRA), Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (AESA) program, Canada-Alberta Rural Development Fund (Ag and Food Canada), Canada-Alberta Beef Industry Development Fund, FortisAlberta, Wildlife Habitat Canada and Canada's Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program and Habitat Stewardship Program. [see Members and Supporters and Donors]  Especially important are the open, willing landowners and community groups that allow us to work with them to achieve their riparian goals.  We are most grateful for the support provided.  In a real sense, this Emerald Award is shared with those organisations, agencies and individuals, in recognition and acknowledgement of their role and continued support of the program and what it represents.

How is the water you drink related to a cattail growing in your backyard? Are you concerned about the quality of water you're drinking? Did you know riparian areas can improve water quality? Click here to find out more about the link between riparian areas and water quality and what you can do to improve water quality.

What do a white-tailed deer, tiger salamander, piping plover, and a brook trout have in common? Of course they're all species found right here in Alberta but another common thread, actually a green ribbon, ties all of these species together... click here to find out more.

Are you curious what other communities in Alberta are doing in their riparian areas? What are people saying about working together on riparian issues? Is there any good news in the agriculture industry? Our Community Stories fact sheet series highlights the "good news stories" of some local communities. Click here to look over the fence at what some of your neighbours are doing.

Want to find out what the health of your riparian area is? Check out our new Alberta Riparian Health Assessment and Inventory Forms and User Manuals. We also offer workshops and training sessions in using the Riparian Health Assessments for streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands.

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