Calgary River Valleys (CRV) is a volunteer-led, non-profit organization dedicated to building a strong and effective voice for river valley protection and water quality in Calgary. We consider ourselves “the voice of our rivers.” We are currently working on Phase 2 of our Riverbank Makeover Project. This project’s goal is to work directly with homeowners toward stabilizing their riverbank by planting native plant species along the shore, as well as to educate the general public about riparian function, and why it is important these areas are kept in healthy condition. This project is funded mainly by City of Calgary Water Resources. In 2018, CRV partnered with a river-adjacent homeowner to restore a section of the Elbow River riparian area for Phase 1 of our Riverbank Makeover Project. This year, Phase 2 involves monitoring the success of the 2018 restored site, as well as restoring another riparian area along the Elbow River.
What Is a Riparian Area and What Does It Do?
Riparian is from the Latin root, ripa, meaning bank, i.e. riverbank. A riparian area is the transition zone between the river and the rest of the land. It is a specialized area that has wetter soil than the surrounding land and will support water-loving vegetation. It can vary in width, depending on the width of the river or water body, as well as the slope of the surrounding lands. When the riparian area is healthy, with a variety of deep-rooted vegetation, it will prevent erosion of the riverbank, improve water quality by filtering run-off from the land and absorbing excess river sediment, reduce river energy during high water events, absorb high water and later release it (like a sponge), and provide excellent habitat for wildlife including shade for fish.
Phase 2 Gardening Volunteer Opportunity
We are recruiting volunteers to help plant riparian plants at this year’s selected Riverbank Makeover site. Working alongside CRV representatives and riparian plant experts, volunteers will learn about riparian plants and planting techniques. The volunteer planting day will take place in September, with the “Riverbank Makeover reveal” shortly thereafter. The exact dates were still being finalized as of the newsletter deadline, so contact us for full details. To participate in the volunteer planting date, or attend the “Riverbank Makeover reveal” date, or for more information about CRV, contact us by phone at (403) 268-4632, or email at [email protected]. You can also find more information on our website at CalgaryRiverValleys.org.
Elbow River Brown Trout Redd Count Volunteer Opportunity
Calgary River Valleys is also offering an additional unique volunteer opportunity, which would allow you to participate in our annual citizen science project to count the “redds” (spawning nests) of Brown Trout in the Elbow River. This redd data is one indicator of river health over time. Brown Trout Redd Counts take place in November, after the river is cold enough to trigger spawning. This project will be under the direction of CRV’s volunteer biologist advisors, and involves walking and rafting in the river, identifying, geo-locating and counting the redds. Everything will be provided for volunteers, including chest waders, PFDs (lifejackets), and a hot lunch on shore. Contact us by phone or email (see above) to express your interest, or to get more information. Limited spots are available.