Alberta’s native trout, and their Eastern Slopes habitats, are a huge part of what makes Alberta’s backcountry so incredible. The “big three” as we like to call them — Bull Trout, Westslope Cutthroat Trout, and Athabasca Rainbow Trout — live in the cold, clean, clear, and connected waterways that Alberta is famous for. When these native trout are thriving, it shows that we’re taking good care of our lands and waters.
But Alberta’s native trout aren’t thriving. In fact, they’re some of the most threatened species in the province. This is not a good indicator for the health of our streams in the Eastern Slopes.
We all have a role to play in protecting Alberta’s native trout and their habitats. No matter how we use the land in the Eastern Slopes — camping, hiking, fishing, off-roading, farming, ranching — we have a responsibility to pursue our activities in ways that keep our waters cold, clean, clear, and connected. To find out how you can help protect Alberta native trout, visit albertanativetrout.com.
Cows and Fish is a member of The Alberta Native Trout Collaborative — a group of partner organizations working to advance native trout recovery in Alberta via habitat restoration, restoration stocking, land use planning, watershed and fish population assessments, and public education.
This public focused video highlights the compatibility of ranching with a healthy watershed. Sustainable grazing practices play a vital role in protecting our water sources.
This producer focused video highlights some success stories from ranchers in the foothills who have been able to maintain or improve riparian health over time.
Cows and Fish and the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society (SALTS) worked with ranchers in 2 headwater streams of the Bow and Oldman Rivers to look at riparian health trends where grazing was the main land use. The sites had been assessed twice before over the last 20 years.
The goal of the project was to compare historical baseline riparian health data collected by Cows and Fish (15‐20 years ago) with new information at the same sites. In addition, as part of the project we collected information from landowners and partners regarding their management practices during this time along with other range or riparian health reports. In some cases, this information was also enhanced by the completion of detailed grazing management plans. With the updated riparian health alongside the management information, the idea was to explore trends and the factors that influenced them.
Overall, the project results were very positive!
The study has shown that:
Funding for this project was provided by the Samuel Hanen Society for Resource Conservation. A huge thank-you to SALTS for partnering on this project with us, and another thank-you to the Jumpingpound Creek Watershed Partnership for being one of our key partners and providing support and information for the project.
Maintaining and improving riparian areas within the Eastern Slopes of Alberta’s Rockies is critical for drought and flood resiliency; providing habitat for many species, including several species at risk in Alberta; and preserving the headwaters of many major rivers, which provide a source of drinking water for many Albertans. Cumulative impacts from multiple land uses, such as mining, logging, oil and gas, agriculture, and recreation, are putting pressure on this vital landscape. With the support of Alberta Environment and Parks and our other members and supporters, Cows and Fish will focus on stewardship of riparian areas within the Eastern Slopes to increase sustainable landscape management by having more knowledgeable, skilled, and motivated land users and managers.
To learn more visit our East Slopes Story Map
Roofs and roads change the character of water, and our waterways pay. And you pay too – in the cost to treat water; in flooding and flood repair, in erosion, in pollution, in recreational opportunities, and in the health of the landscape overall. We all have a role to play in mitigating these impacts in our homes, yards, neighbourhoods and communities. What works in Alberta? In a real estate transaction, what are these features worth? This collaborative initiative is helping tie the riparian and upland (non-riparian) area of our developed landscape together.
Cows & Fish and the ALIDP (Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership) have been working together on this initiative, developing new tools and providing outreach. As part of this work, we have worked to gather stories, technical expertise, research, and reach out to the public. There are multiple components to our work, including:
From February to April 2015, six workshops were held, from as far south as Lethbridge through central Alberta and up to Edmonton. The workshops focused on building awareness with citizens, realtors, community leaders, decision makers, builders, and anyone with an interest in sustainability related to stormwater, greening, housing, and landscapes.
This initiative is funded by Alberta Real Estate Foundation, The Calgary Foundation, RBC’s Bluewater Fund, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, in addition to support from our Members and Supporters. Local partners help with venues and support refreshment breaks at some of the workshops, and many partners have spread the word about the workshops, leading to better than anticipated attendance and more requests for these new tools. We thank all those already involved and look forward to more collaboration.
View our most recent Newsletter for a glimpse into some of our recent projects and to see what has been keeping our staff busy: Summer 2021 Newsletter.
Download our 2017-2018 Cows and Fish Program Highlights to learn more about our work in Alberta. Did you know we spoke to over 6500 people last year, assessed nearly 150 riparian sites for health and delivered and recorded 7 new webinars? Our highlights report will provide you a snapshot of our work over the last year.
Our Cows and Fish 2017-2018 Year End Report provides more detail on the work we do throughout Alberta to foster a better understanding of how improvements in management of riparian areas can enhance landscape health and productivity, for the benefit of all landowners and land users in Alberta.