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Riparian health measured at 51 sites in Red Deer County

Results of an eight-year project to be shared April 26
The ‘after photo’ at one of 51 Alternative Land Use Services sites in Red Deer County where the environmental health on farms and ranches was measured. (Contributed by Red Deer County)

Red Deer County is sharing the results of an eight-year project measuring how farmers benefit the environment at an event on April 26 at Crossroads Church.

The project measured environmental health on farms and ranches involved in Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS).

In 2015, the county contracted Cows and Fish to do Riparian Health Assessments (RHAs) on farms and ranches that were adopting environmentally beneficial agriculture practices.

Examples of environmentally beneficial agriculture practices that were part of this study include riparian management livestock fencing, alternative livestock watering systems, and rotational grazing practices.

Riparian areas are the ecologically important zones immediately beside lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. Healthy riparian areas benefit everyone by providing valuable ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water quality enhancement, flood protection and habitat for pollinators and wildlife.


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Baseline riparian health measurements were measured at 51 ALUS sites all over Red Deer County, from 2015 through to 2018. These same sites were re-measured again from 2019 through to 2022.

The county says this is one of the highest concentrations of “before and after” assessments of the impacts of environmentally beneficial agriculture practices in Alberta.

Initial RHAs measured baseline environmental health on these farms, where these practices were adopted with ALUS support. Four years later, Cows and Fish returned to the same sites to do Re-Visit Riparian Health Assessments.


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Kelsey Spicer-Rawe, a riparian specialist with Cows and Fish, will speak about the project results on behalf of ALUS Red Deer County.

The event will include a presentation and discussion at 1 p.m., following a lunch provided to those who pre-register.

Red Deer County farmers and ranchers, along with various stakeholders and agencies will be in attendance to hear the results.

For information, or to pre-register, contact Ken Lewis at, or call 403-342-8653.

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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