It’s been a very exciting month over at the OWC. We outgrew the space that had kindly been provided to us by the provincial government at the Lethbridge Research Centre, and have moved to the greener pastures of our new office downtown, 319 6th Street South. We have the City of Lethbridge to thank for our new office space! It is a beautiful, open concept office that we are using with Environment Lethbridge and setting up as the local “sustainability hub”, where we encourage everyone to come mix and mingle about all things watershed. We anticipate big things to come in 2016, including the expansion of our Watershed Legacy Program.
The WLP program manages the money donated to OWC for stewardship projects and allocates it to 'on-the-ground' remediation throughout the Oldman basin. To date, the WLP has funded over 30 beneficial watershed management projects, totaling over $110,000. It is an excellent resource for landowners and Watershed Stewardship Groups to accomplish projects that benefit the land and water quality. From the Skyline Valley vistas of the Porcupine Hills, to the northern flanks of Chief Mountain to the south, our potential recipients are stewarding their land in a way that benefits everyone downstream.
*We have extended our deadline for the WLP applications to Friday, February 12th*
to overlap the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s 11th annual Eat & Greet.
It is a gathering of ranchers, conservationists and folks who are interested in the well being of our watershed, held this year on February 5 th at the Twin Butte Community Hall. This year’s theme is the history of ranching in Alberta, and the Watershed Legacy Program will be in attendance to support the future of ranching in Alberta.
It’s interesting to note, that with the increased awareness of the concept of sustainability, that ranching is the oldest sustainable industry still in existence in our province and across the west today. When done properly, managed grazing of our grasslands provides an important product to society in the form of healthy red meat, while at the same time maintaining habitat for many species of native animals who have historically called these lands home. Of course, previous to European contact, these landscapes evolved with and supported large numbers of grazing animals such as bison and elk, who shaped the grasslands into what they are today.
Perhaps the greatest contribution ranching has to modern society is the preservation of intact grassland ecosystems. Without a land ethic of ranchers and land managers today, we stand to lose our invaluable landscapes to forms of “progress” such as oil & gas drilling, subdivision housing and all of the linear disturbances that come along with them. Grassland and forest systems act as a massive carbon sink, trapping untold amounts of carbon within the plants. We rely on the land for many things economical, environmental, recreational and spiritual. The value of the ecosystem services provided by intact landscapes is immense, to say the least.
The Watershed Legacy Program looks to promote and improve the quality of our landscapes and the people who love and maintain them. By providing funding and other resources to landowners to improve their piece of the landscape, we can make a difference in promoting the future of ranching and watershed health within the Oldman basin.
Watershed Legacy Program Manager
cell: 1-403-360-4572 <1-403-381-5145
fax: 1-403-381-5765 319, 6th St. S Lethbridge, AB T1J 2C7 http://www.oldmanwatershed.ca/