Riparian areas are the green spaces near bodies of water, such as wetlands and river valleys, among others. SUBMITTED PHOTO, Emily Purvis.

Original Published 09:17 Mar 29, 2022

By KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Cows and Fish, an Alberta non-profit organization which works to improve the health of riparian areas through community engagement and awareness efforts, is hoping to partner with landholders and producers in the southeast region of the province for a variety of stewardship activities.

The organization, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, received a two-year federal grant in 2021 to fund the stewardship activities.

“Our goals for this funding are as varied as our partner’s goals,” Emily Purvis, riparian/range specialist with Cows and Fish, told the News. “Sometimes it’s just a conversation about the current state of riparian health or the landowner or manager’s objectives; sometimes if the landowner or manager wants, it could be a more involved project, like riparian planting or off-site water development for cattle.”

Such activities, Purvis believes, are intrinsic to maintaining the overall health of the region’s ecosystem.

“When riparian areas are healthy, they are able to perform functions that benefit ecosystems, and ultimately, people,” Purvis said. “This includes a variety of functions, such as filtering sediment and nutrients from runoff before it enters a waterbody, stabilizing banks to prevent erosion, slowing the speed of water to keep it on the landscape longer, providing habitat for wildlife and much more.”

Specialists with Cows and Fish typically work with ranchers, however they encourage all interested parties to reach out, even those located outside of southeast Alberta.

“If you are not located in the southeast, but still live, work or play in Alberta’s riparian areas, I encourage you to still contact me to learn about additional opportunities to collaborate with Cows and Fish,” she said.

Purvis can be contacted through email at epurvis@cowsandfish.org or by phone at 403-635-9013. She also recommends those interested visit the Cows and Fish website.

This item reprinted from the Medicine Hat News, Medicine Hat, Alberta