By Kara Rapke, NCC communications coordinator for the Alberta Region
Working as a Communications Coordinator for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is a great way to learn about science, nature and everything NCC does to conserve land for wildlife and future generations of Canadians. I often focus on land when talking and writing about NCC, but conserving and managing water is also a hugely important priority for the organization.
The Waterton Park Front (WPF) in southern Alberta is a shining example of how NCC works with local communities to conserve land and protect water. A lot of the land that makes up the WPF is working landscapes; livestock graze the area to maintain an overall healthy ecosystem, which helps us reach our conservation goals.
I didn’t know how innovative conservation methods were at NCC a little over a year ago when I started my new position. Luckily, I’m surrounded by intelligent and ambitious conservation experts, who make the task of sharing success stories a whole lot easier!
NCC recently launched a new project to help maintain and improve the overall health of rivers and wetlands within the WPF. The lush green areas that surround waterways are referred to as riparian areas. Healthy riparian areas are important to the overall health of water, and these areas are sensitive to heavy use.
Recently, NCC purchased 18 solar powered off-site watering systems aimed at protecting sensitive waterways and riparian areas by providing an alternative and consistent source of water for livestock. Through the use of a solar pump, water is moved to a separate tank, allowing livestock to avoid sensitive areas such as wetlands and riparian areas.
The watering systems were purchased in 2013 and distributed throughout eight properties within the WPF. We’ve also installed over six kilometres of riparian fencing. Purchasing the new watering systems is an example of a win-win solution. Access to fresh water leads to healthier livestock, and NCC is taking an important step towards maintaining and improving water in the area.