Thinking about World Water Day

Water trough at Waterton Park Front, AB (Photo by NCC)

Water trough at Waterton Park Front, AB (Photo by NCC)

March 22, 2015 | by Kara Rapke

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!

Watering systems being transported to Waterton Park Front (Photo by NCC)

Watering systems being transported to Waterton Park Front (Photo by NCC)

Being a part of NCC also means I’m thinking a lot more about different world wide initiatives to protect and conserve nature. March 22nd is World Water Day. This is a day meant to celebrate a vital resource, while also thinking about how to manage water in the future.

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.

Cattle drinking from water system (Photo by NCC)

Cattle drinking from water system (Photo by NCC)

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.

Visit the Waterton Park Front!

Like the initiatives being taken at WPF? Come and visit us! The Weston Family Conservation Centre gives visitors the opportunity to discover what makes this area so special and features a one-kilometre self-guided hike. Bring your camera; the WPF is prime habitat for grizzly and black bear, cougar, wolf, moose, elk, white-tailed and mule deer. 

Kara Rapke (Photo by NCC)

About the Author

Kara Rapke is NCC's former communications coordinator for NCC's Alberta Region.

Read more about Kara Rapke.

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