Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project

Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project
(Click the image to visit the project Facebook page with lots of pictures and video!)

Location: east side of 40th Ave - south Red Deer, past the landfill, before the Clearview Industrial Park (along Piper Creek)

Parcel Description: SW34-37-27W4

52.216996, -113.790065 (map coordinates)

ReThink Red Deer and supporting organizations have secured funds from Environment Canada's Environmental Damages fund (EDF) to restore a roughly 25-acre section of Piper Creek immediately south of the City of Red Deer Landfill. Over the course of five years, the “Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project” will repair and improve the historical impacts on an important riparian (land next to water) and agricultural area in the Red Deer River watershed by regenerating and enhancing Red Deerians' understanding of, and relationship with, the natural world.

“This project approaches the restoration of an important ecology and historical site in an integrated way. The neighbouring land uses - landfill and industrial park - have direct impact on the ecosystem health of the project site and we can work together to manage these uses in a sustainable way.”, says Kathy Parsons, Past President of ReThink Red Deer.

Project partner Cows and Fish (Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society) will complete three “Riparian Health Inventories” (RHI) over the course of the five-year project to collect comprehensive information about the structure and function of the vegetation, soil, and hydrology within the project area.

According to Cows & Fish Range and Riparian Specialist, Kathryn Hull, “By repeating the riparian health inventory in years three and five we will have a means to monitor the level of impact of the restoration efforts along Piper Creek.” This includes photographic monitoring to capture visual changes to riparian parameters such as reduced invasive weed cover and improved native tree and shrub cover. Comprehensive pre- and post-monitoring is a key part of understanding the effectiveness of proposed restoration and riparian management plans.

Among the project partners are The Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, The Red Deer River Naturalists, and Trout Unlimited. Supporting organizations include The Waskasoo Environmental Education Society, Alberta Food Matters, the Canadian Association for Rainwater Management - Prairie Chapter, Red Deer County, and The City of Red Deer as landowner holding observer status.

Since confirming EDF funding in 2014 we have accomplished the following:

2015

  1. Completed the first of three Riparian Health Inventories with Cows & Fish (AB Riparian Habitat Management Society) to assess the health of the creek and riparian areas
  2. Delivered workshops and field days to build skills and repair ecological function at the project site
  3. Hosted Steering Committee meetings, site tours and delivered presentations to inform project partners and community members of the project

2016

  1. Assessed creek crossing removal strategies and site-wide weed control opportunities with goats and brushcutters with help from Olds College Land and Water Resources Program students
  2. Delivered workshops and field days to build skills and repair ecological function at the project site including water quality and soil testing and live staking of woody plant species
  3. Hosted Steering Committee meetings, site tours and delivered presentations to inform project partners and community members of the project

2017

  1. Planted the 15,000 sq.ft Canada 150 Food Forest & Pollinator Garden with support from Heritage Canada, Tree Canada, and Peavey Mart
  2. Removed the non-conforming creek crossing with support from Trout Unlimited Canada and Cows & Fish
  3. Completed the second of three Riparian Health Inventories with Cows & Fish (AB Riparian Habitat Management Society) to assess the health of the creek and riparian areas
  4. Delivered workshops and field days to build skills and repair ecological function at the project site including water quality and soil testing and live staking of woody plant species with help from Olds College Land and Water Resources Program students
  5. Hosted goats at the site over multiple days and occasions for invasive and noxious weed management
  6. Salvaged barn wood siding from the historic barn on site (removed by the City of Red Deer mid-2017 for safety reasons)
  7. Hosted Steering Committee meetings, site tours and delivered presentations to inform project partners and community members of the project

2018

  1. Delivered workshops and field days to build skills and repair ecological function at the project site including water quality testing and live staking of woody plant species with support from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation
  2. Hosted Steering Committee meetings, site tours and delivered presentations to inform project partners and community members of the project

 

Project Partners and Supporting Organizations

Red Deer River Naturalists

Trout Unlimited Canada

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance

The City of Red Deer

The Government of Alberta

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Heritage Canada

UN Association in Canada - Green Corps

Tree Canada - Edible Tree Program

Alberta Conservation Association

Peavey Industries Ltd. (Peavey Mart)

Valhalla Pure Outfitters - Red Deer

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Central Alberta Realtors Association

Alberta Food Matters

Canadian Association for Rainwater Management

The Timber Framers Guild

Top Peg Timber Frame Construction

Living Lands Landscape & Design

Red Deer Industrial Leasing

For more information and pictures of the site development please visit the project Facebook page

This project was made possible thanks to funding from Environment Canada's Environmental Damages Fund.

 

Restoration AgricultureThe Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project is based on the book Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard