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Riparian Monitoring Steward

The Friends have spearheaded projects aimed at improving the riparian health along Fish Creek since 2014; riparian health assessments are the first step in this important work as they provide benchmark measurements that help us to know if our work is actually making a difference.

In 2018, we created a new role that allowed volunteers to get involved in this important first step, and we are excited to offer this opportunity again this year!  Riparian Monitoring Stewards will learn how to use a riparian health scoring tool to assess ecosystem health along Fish Creek and help us to create a long-term plan for our ReWilding projects.  These volunteers will also be involved in monitoring our previous restoration sites to help determine if our past work has contributed to improved riparian health.

We are grateful to the Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society (more commonly known as Cows and Fish) for their knowledge and expertise in this area and willingness to work with us to train volunteers in this new position.

If you’d like to know more about this volunteer opportunity, please contact Shana Barbour, Program Coordinator, at shana@friendsoffishcreek.org or 403-238-3841, or click on the button below to create your volunteer account.


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Stewardship Crew Leader

Taking part in stewardship activities helps volunteers understand the issues that face this well-visited urban park landscape, and opportunities now exist for volunteers to independently lead these fieldwork outings. 

Training to become a Stewardship Crew Leader will allow you to lead small groups of adults in stewardship-related tasks, including tree wrapping, clean-ups, weed pulls and possibly restoration site monitoring and maintenance.  Volunteers will train by shadowing Friends’ staff in the field and then begin working towards leading their own outings.  Stewardship Crew Leaders are needed during our fieldwork season (between May and October).

We are actively recruiting for this position!  For more information, contact Katie Bakken at katie@friendsoffishcreek.org or call our office at 403-238-3841


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Litter Clean-Ups

Have you noticed any litter in Fish Creek Provincial Park? Do you know of a group that might be interested in taking part in a clean up?

The Friends of Fish Creek support groups hosting litter clean-ups in the park by providing equipment and safety checklist. After the clean up, the outing organizer returns the equipment along with the checklist to the Friends of Fish Creek. Volunteers helping with these independent projects will report on the number of participants, the number of hours the group picked up litter and the number of bags of garbage collected.

If you know of a group that might be interested in taking part in a clean up, please contact Katie Bakken, Program Coordinator by email  at katie@friendsoffishcreek.org.

There are also opportunities for experienced Volunteers to lead Clean-Up outings.  Please see Stewardship Crew Leader section above for more info.


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Riparian Stewardship Program

The Friends’ Riparian Stewardship Program is part of our larger, overarching Watershed Stewardship Project that provides a wide range of opportunities for people to lend a hand in the care of Fish Creek Provincial Park.  Since 2014, we have worked with a strong and dedicated team of community partners and keen volunteers to execute ReWilding projects (also known as riparian* restoration work) along the easternmost stretch of Fish Creek; ReWilding supports the overall health and functioning of the watershed while contributing to increased resiliency and flood mitigation. 
 
Thanks to the expertise of Cows and Fish, we now have a strong team of volunteers trained to complete Riparian Health Assessments; these reports will act as baseline measurements of riparian health along Fish Creek and help guide us in decision making and planning of our ReWilding fieldwork, which generally takes place in the fall each year.
 
Volunteers are needed each year to take on the role of Riparian Steward; this role entails a variety of tasks that may include tree and shrub planting, general digging and site preparation, spreading mulch and native seeds and installing temporary fencing.  Site monitoring, watering and maintenance throughout the season may also be involved in this role.
 
For more information on our Riparian Stewardship Program or questions about volunteer opportunities, please contact Katie Bakken, Program Coordinator, at katie@friendsoffishcreek.org or call our office at 403-238-3841.
 
We are grateful for the support from the following funders, allowing us to continue this important work in 2019:
 

*A Riparian area is the strip of vegetated land next to a water resource which provides numerous essential ecological services.  Acting as a natural buffer, it protects water from negative impacts associated with pollution, provides shoreline stability to prevent erosion, protects water quality and offers a movement corridor and wildlife habitat to the rich diversity of species who use it for parts or all of their life cycle.  At times, however, these areas can become so impacted by human activity that they lose their ability to provide these services, and the “health” of  the riparian area becomes compromised.  To learn more, visit the Cows and Fish Website.
 
 

A successful example of stewardship in action!

 

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Weed Whackers

Invasive plants find their way into Fish Creek Provincial Park in a variety of ways, including dispersal of seeds via wind and/or water from surrounding neighbourhoods and backyard gardens.  These plants out-compete native plant species for sunlight, soil and water resources, leaving less forage for native wildlife.  Our Weed Whackers program brings volunteers together to actively engage in pulling these “weeds”, giving our native plants a better chance at survival.  We focus on “winnable battles”, those species that have not yet become pervasive throughout the park and which we have a chance at controlling through this kind of hands-on effort!

Weed  Whacker outings typically take place between May and August each year at locations throughout the park, including the Heritage Native Grassland at the Bow Valley Ranch.  Please check back in the spring for more information on dates, locations and the species we’ll address this year.

There are also opportunities for experienced Volunteers to lead Weed Whacker outings.  Please see Stewardship Crew Leader section above for more info.

If you would like to know more about our Weed Whacker Program, please contact Katie Bakken, Program Coordinator, at katie@friendsoffishcreek.org or call our office at 403-238-3841.


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Tree Wrapping

Beavers are an important species that provides many ecological services such as slowing of water, absorption of water into the ground and creation of habitat for other species of wildlife.  Although their presence can be beneficial to natural ecosystems, infrastructure such as trails, water filtration systems and engineered stormwater wetlands can be damaged by their activity. 

In this program, volunteers wrap the base of poplar and cottonwood trees with stucco wire to deter beavers from moving into areas near sensitive park infrastructure. This proactive approach will decrease potential damage to trails, water filtration systems and engineered stormwater wetlands by encouraging beavers to inhabit more natural areas that will benefit from their presence.  Volunteers will also be trained to use our new Tree Damage app that allows us to map the location and condition of trees that require protection and monitoring. 

There are also opportunities for experienced Volunteers to lead Tree Wrapping Outings.  Please see Stewardship Crew Leader section above for more info.

We are grateful to Alberta Environment and Parks staff Julia Millen and Scott Jevons for their support and direction in creating this app!
 
If you would like to know more about our Tree Wrapping Program, please contact Katie Bakken at katie@friendsoffishcreek.org or at 403-238-3841