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GWAS AGM and 20-year anniversary celebration a success!

On December 3rd 2022, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of GWAS with 40 members at Beaupre Hall! Many thanks to everyone who attended as well as those who volunteered to help organize the event. It was great to share GWAS's work over the past year as well as thank our founding members and volunteers for helping to make GWAS the organization it is today.


Copies of the presentations slides can be downloaded below:


- GWAS's work in 2022 (PDF, 17.6 MB)


- Education and Outreach in the Ghost Watershed 2022 (PDF, 9.5 MB)


- Financial Report Fiscal 2021/22 (PDF, 1 MB)

News & Events

NEWS:

Community Families Explore Aquatic Life - Friday, August 27th, 2021

The Ghost Watershed Alliance Society hosted this event to explore aquatic life. Do you know what lives in the wetlands? Have you seen what lives in the river? Explore life in and along the shore of the Ghost River! From amphibians to aquatic macroinvertebrates, there's lots of wriggling creatures to be found. During this event, participants will have a chance to play games, listen to stories, and use basic materials to better see and understand aquatic life. More events of this kind will take place in the future.


CreekWatch in the Ghost Watershed - opportunity to join a sampling day - July 6 & August 10, 2021

Participants learned how to conduct the testing and contribute to this citizen science effort along the Ghost River!


GWAS Water Monitoring Program Online Film Premiere - May 6, 2021

On May 6th, GWAS presented its film "Beneath the Surface" featuring the first season of its Water Monitoring Program field work. To watch the 20-minute film, please visit GWAS's Youtube Channel.



The Ghost Watershed Alliance Society (GWAS) online presentation - March 30, 2021:

Tours, toads, and stream setbacks in the Ghost Watershed

Three student groups from St. Mary’s University Biology 451 class have completed desktop projects on topics related to conservation biology within the Ghost Watershed. Come and learn more about (1) a scenic tour program showcasing the Ghost, (2) the western toad and its life cycle, and (3) stream buffers related to various land use activities.



Ghost Watershed Alliance Society Annual General Meeting - November 28th, 2020

The first virtual AGM was a success! Thank you so much to everyone who joined us online.

Please find below the links to download all presentation slides as presented at the AGM:  

- The Year in Review and Plans for 2021 (14.4 MB)

- Watershed Education and Related Outreach (5.7 MB)

- Random Camping and Shooting in the Ghost Watershed (9.9 MB)

- Watershed Monitoring Program (7.6 MB)

- Financial Report (0.9 MB)


August 2020 News - GWAS mourns the passing of Gus Yaki:

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Gus Yaki's passing with you.

Since 2007, Gus had led our popular plant ID walks at the Butters Ranch every spring.

Participants of all ages learned about the many different plants that can be found in the

Ghost Watershed through Gus's engaging presentations during these walks.

He will be sorely missed.


Ghost River Community Kids Water Walk, October 4 & 19, 2020 - SOLD OUT!

We had two very successful, sold out events. We are looking forward to resuming these events in 2021.

Theme: Awesome Autumn!

Looking through the lens of seasonal change, we will investigate life along the Ghost River before winter snow and freezing temperatures arrive. Through a pond study, scavenger hunt, and group storytelling, we will offer the following glimpses into nature:

Bustling bugs – bring your eye up close and see aquatic invertebrates!

Wetland wonders – investigate how water behaves in a wetland!

Change the channel – search for evidence of a moving riverbed!

Flood forensics – be a detective and look for clues of past flooding!

Riparian ramble – take a nature walk where the water meets the land!


2-day bioengineering workshop with Dave Polster, September 25 & 26, 2020 - SOLD OUT!

Great opportunity to learn from one of the best bio-engineering specialists in Canada in this free 2-day

workshop! Learn how to use native plants to restore disturbed sites and stabilize streambanks in the

Ghost Watershed.


5th Walk in the Watershed - Sunday, September 13th, 2020

This full-day hike to the Horse Lake area.


4th Walk in the Watershed - Saturday, August 29th, 2020 - Black Rock Mountain

Full day hike, back by popular demand. The trail up to the top of Black Rock gently meanders through the forest, then passing through alpine meadows, with only the last short stretch to the old Fire Lookout having some scree. The views from the top of Black Rock Mountain are amazing!


3rd Walk in the Watershed - Sunday, August 9th, 2020

This full-day hike to Horse Lake and the magnificent Aura wetlands complex.


2nd Walk in the Watershed - Saturday, July 25, 2020:

Fuller's Pass.


July 11, 2020 - Ghost Plublic Land Use Zone Clean-up Event

In partnership with the Alberta Backcountry Hunters and Anglers,

GWAS organized a clean-up event in the Ghost Public Land Use

Zone. A large part of the Ghost Watershed is located within the

Ghost Public Land Use Zone, which is a very popular area for

recreation and camping. 860kg plus a truck load of metal was

collected and removed by the volunteers! Many thanks to all the

volunteers, to Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and AEP for

helping to make this project happen!


July 1, 2020 - 1st GWAS Walk in the Watershed

Lesueur Ridge trail.


July 2020 News:

GWAS produced a virtual field tour of the Ghost Watershed, since actual field trips had been

cancelled due to COVID-19. You can watch the 30-minute video here.





To see News & Events from previous years, please visit or News & Events Archive


Pinned post - AB government amends Forest and Prairie Protection Act:  

In 2017, the Alberta government made changes to the Forest and Prairie Protection Act and associated regulations to improve public safety as they relate to preventing human-caused wildfires and protecting Albertans, their communities, natural resources, and infrastructure from wildfire damage. The Act’s regulations have been updated to reflect the legislation and are now in force (as of March 29, 2017). Under the legislation, target shooting involving incendiary targets is prohibited year-round in forested areas such as the Ghost Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ). For more information, please see the legislation document on the Government of Alberta website and the Alberta Wildfire website.

GWAS Walks in the Watershed:    

    •  July 13, 2024 - Plant ID walk with Biologist Emma Stroud, Friends of Fish Creek

     Join GWAS for a walk to see and learn about the plants growing in the Ghost Watershed!

     Time: 2 pm to 5 pm


     Our special guest, Ecologist Emma Stroud, will help us identify plants along the way.

     Emma is the team lead of ecology and conservation with the Friends of Fish Creek Provincal Parks Society.

     

     Registrations for this event are now open! Please visit Eventbrite for details and to register.


    •  August 10, 2024 - Beavers in the Ghost Watershed with Wildlife Biologist Holly Kinas, Miistakis Institute

     More details will be posted closer to the event date on this page.



Bow River Basin Council Quarterly Forum (virtual) - Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

Presentatons by:

    Richard Phillips: Bow River Irrigation District

    Flora Giesbrecht: Elbow River Watershed Partnership

    Marina Krainer: Ghost Watershed Alliance Society

    Reed Froklage: RiverWatch Institute of Alberta

    David Swann: Fish Creek Watershed Association

GWAS presented on its current projects at the virtual Educational and Networking Forum hosted by the BRBC.

You can download a copy of the presentation slides here (PDF, 8.8 MB).


GWAS Annual General Meeting - Saturday, November 27th, 2021

It has been an extraordinary year for GWAS. During the virtual AGM, we shared reports

on GWAS's water monitoring work, the bio-engineering workshop, education and

outreach efforts and more. Copies of teh presentation slides can be downloaded below:

GWAS Executive Director Report (PDF, 10.1 MB)

Report on Education and Outreach in 2021 (PDF, 3.9 MB)

Report on Water Monitoring Program (PDF, 6.9 MB)

Top Priorities for 2022 (PDF, 2.9 MB)

Financial Report (PDF, 937 KB)


September 2021 - 2-day bio-engineering workshop was a success!

GWAS successfully held the 2-day bio-engineering workshop with Dave Polster.

The weather was glorious and the fall colours were near their peak providing ideal

conditions for the field day. We would like to thank everyone involved for their support

and engagement in this project. Please see our Media Gallery for photos of the

workshop.


Recreational Stewardship Fair - Saturday, August 21, 2021

GWAS participated in the Recreational Stewardship Fair in the Ghost

Public Land-use Zone organized by Cows & Fish.

Location. Waiparous Provincial Recreation Area (Staging Area)


Many organizations participating in this event including off-highway

vehicle clubs, Alberta Environment and Parks, Trout Unlimited Canada and

more. The event focussed on raising awareness about why stewardship is

so important when recreating in Alberta's Eastern Slopes. Topics covered

by GWAS included threatened fish species and their habitat as well as

bio-engineering using natural plant material to prevent erosion and sediment

from entering streams. Many thanks to Alberta Conservation Association for

their support of this initiative!

PAST NEWS & EVENTS:

May 2021 - GWAS Water Monitoring Program Film:

GWAS proudly presents its film "Beneath the Surface" featuring the first season of its Water Monitoring Program field work.

To watch the 20-minute film, please visit GWAS's Youtube Channel.

We would like to thank Alberta Ecotrust, the Bow River Basin Council and the Land Stewardship Centre for their generous support of the GWAS Water Monitoring Program in 2020.


May 2021 - GWAS educational resources on westslope cutthroat trout

Over the past year, GWAS's Education Coordinator developed digital resources on

westslope cutthroat trout, a threatened native fish species occuring in the Ghost

Watershed. The teacher's guide and a comprehensive educational slideshow are available for download from our website.

2-day Bio-engineering Workshop in the Ghost Watershed - October 13 & 15, 2022:

Participants learned how to use native plants to restore disturbed sites and stabilize streambanks in the Ghost Watershed.

This year's workshop was led by Jon Berlie of Burly Creations, a seasoned professional in environmental restoration. Jon has worked with GWAS on bio-engineering projects in the Ghost Watershed for a number of years and we are proud to carry on the legacy of sharing the knowledge we gained from restoration and plant ecologist David Polster, who has recently retired.


Bio-engineering Field Day in the Ghost Watershed - Saturday, October 1, 2022

The bio-engineering field day was a success! A keen group harvested and planted a large amount willow and poplar stakes on October 1, a beautifully sunny and warm day. On October 15, planting will continue on the remainder of the site.

Photos can be found here.


July 30, 2022: 3rd Walk in the Watershed - Wildflowers at the Butters Ranch

Special Guest: Kathryn Hull, Cows and Fish

An easier hike at the Butters Ranch to enjoy the scenary and learn about wildflowers and other plants.


June 2022 - Story Map on Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve released!

Over the past few months, GWAS supported the Forest Matters project to develop a Story Map on the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve. A large portion of the Ghost Watershed falls within the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve.


The Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve (RMFR) covers 23,180 km2 of land along the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains, an area larger than Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Waterton National Parks combined. The land in the RMFR sits within Treaty 7 territory—the traditional and ancestral territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Kainai, Piikani and Siksika) as well as the Tsuu T'ina Nation and Stoney Nakoda First Nation; Treaty 6 territory—the traditional and ancestral territory of the Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Saulteaux and Nakota Sioux; and the Metis Nation of Alberta, Regions 3 and 4. Today, the Government of Alberta manages the RMFR as public land on behalf of its citizens. While its boundaries have changed slightly from its creation in 1910 by the Dominion of Canada, the RMFR is still publicly owned for the public interest.


To find out more about the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve, please visit the Story Map.


June 14 & 15, 2022 Casino event successfully completed!

Thanks to all our volunteers, we were able to successfully complete our second chritable Casino event. Since our first Casino event in 2018, these funds have provided sustained multi-year funding which enabled GWAS to grow substantially. The funds from this year's Casino event will help us to continue our work over the coming years. Thank you!

2nd Walk in the Watershed - Lesueur Ridge and Listening for Toads: May 15, 2022

Evening hike up Lesueur Ridge with views of the Ghost River and front ranges of the Rocky Mountains.

Visit to a nearby breeding spot of the western toad afterwards to listen for the characteristic mating calls of the males that typically start after sunset at this time of year.


Native Trout Workshop - Steering Trout Towards Recovery: March 8, 2022

At the workshop, GWAS presented about the CABiN sampling program and bio-engineering at the virtual Native Trout workshop. The event included many great presentations on watershed health and native trout species with the opportunity to ask questions from the comfort of your home!


Native Trout Workshop - Technical Session: March 15, 2022

The fourth native trout workshop session was an all-day exploration of the

technical side of native trout recovery. Participants joined virtually for an

in-depth workshop on the science behind native trout rehabilitation from

stream to lab.


Morning (9am-12pm MST)

Topics included: Ecohydraulics, Data Mapping, Habitat Restoration Feasibility,

Defining Critical Habitat, and Reassessing Electrofishing Sampling Lengths


Afternoon: (1pm-4pm MST)

Topics included: Brook Trout Suppression project update, Brook Trout and Yellowstone Cutthroat rotenone, Beneficial Management Practices (BMP), Native trout response to habitat restoration, Return of Bull Trout and missing Arctic Grayling, and In-Stream Incubation


1st Hike in the Watershed - Sunday, February 13, 2022

The group enjoyed a winter hike to Mockingbird Fire Lookout in the Ghost Watershed on a warm and surprisingly calm Chinook day. An easy hike on fire road up Mockingbird Hill to a fire lookout where you are treated to a 360 degree panorama of the Rocky Mountains and Foothills.


January 2022 - Bio-engineering video now available to watch online!

Over the last couple of months, GWAS has been working on a video on

bio-engineering. The video entitled, “Working Together to Restore our

Watersheds,” is now complete. Following the very well attended online

screening premiere on January 25, the video is now available for viewing on

the GWAS YouTube channel.


Thanks to the generous funding from the City of Calgary, GWAS was able to

document this important restoration work.


The 2-day bio-engineering workshop featured in this video was generously funded by the Alberta Conservation Association.


Many thanks to Story Brokers Media House for putting this video together for GWAS, to all the volunteers and speakers as well as our partners on the project!

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Clean-up Days in the Ghost Watershed a success!

This year, GWAS partnered with the Alberta Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the BP Retirees to host two clean-up days in the Ghost Public Land-use Zone. We cleaned up two popular target shooting sites near Four Mile Creek collecting the staggering amount of 1,060 kg of gun shells, target and other debris! We can't thank all our volunteers enough for helping to keep our watershed clean!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Bio-engineering workshop - June 13 & 14, 2024:    

The workshop was a great success! 10 people joined our vitual workshop and during the field day a keen group of volunteers planted all 1,700 willow and poplar stakes we had harvested in March!


GWAS Hike in the Watershed - Geology of the Ghost:    

A groups of 20 people enjoyed a full day hike up onto the Anti-Ghost Ridge. GWAS welcomed Dr. Eva Enkelmann, a geoscientist from the University of Calgary, who accompanied the group to provide geological interpretation along the way.


GWAS Walk in the Watershed: Tour of restoration site - June 2, 2024

Completed 5km walk visiting restoration projects undertaken since 2019 by Trout Unlimited Canada, Cows and Fish and GWAS along Waiparous Creek and one of its tributaries.


GWAS Willow Harvesting Workshop - March 16, 2024, 10am - 3pm:    

To be ready for restoration projects this spring, we harvested willows while they are still dormant. A big thank you to our volunteers and to our Bio-engineering Specialist Jon Berlie who helped us collect 1,700 willow and balsam poplar stakes that day! Many thanks also to Alberta Conservation Association for their support of our work! We are looking forward to planting them later this spring!


Cows and Fish -  Native Trout workshops - March 14 and 21, 2024:    

Cows and Fish successfully hosted an online session and an in-person session on Native Trout this year. The online session took place on March 14 and the in-person session on March 21. GWAS presented on its collaborative restoration work in the Ghost Watershed at the workshops, providing an online presentation in partnership with Trout Unlimited Canada for the virtual session and showing the 9-minute bio-engineering video at the in-person event.


March 2024: Walks in the Watershed Questionnaire - Seeking your feedback!  

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey! The results of the survey helped us plan our Walks in the Watershed for the 2024 season.


October 2023: Bio-engineering field days a success!  

On October 15 and 22, volunteers joined us to help restore two new sites in the Ghost Public Land-use Zone adjacent to designated OHV trails. Under the guidance of bio-engineering specialist, Jon Berlie, we spent the first part of the day harvesting willow and poplar stakes. After a hearty lunch, the afternoon was spent planting the stakes at our restoration sites.


Many thanks to our volunteers for all their help and their enthusiasm and to Jon Berlie for being such a great guide and teacher. You can find photos of the bio-engineering field days in our Photo Gallery for the project.


MD of Bighorn -  Living in the Natural Environment event - Friday, February 2, 2024:    

GWAS had a booth at the event's trade show. Our bio-engineering video was shown on the big screen at the event. Thanks to the MD of Bighorn for having us!


Bow River Basin Council - Quarterly Educational and Netowrking Forum - Wednesday, December 13, 2023:    

The BRBC held its Quarterly Educational and Networking Forum at the Glencoe Golf and Country Club on December 13, 2023. Together with the Elbow River Watershed Partnership, GWAS presented on its collaborative project "Taking Action on Native Trout Recovery".


GWAS Annual General Meeting - Saturday, November 25, 2023:  

Thank you to everyone who joined our AGM at The Crossing at Ghost River! We had a full house and received great feedback. Many thanks also to The Crossing at Ghost River for hosting us!


Below you can download PDF version copies of the presentations given at the AGM:

Report on GWAS Work on 2023

Education & Outreach in the Ghost River Watershed in 2023

Financial Update for 2022/23 fiscal year


Bio-engineering field days on October 15 & 22, 2023:     

Participants learned how to use native plants for erosion control to improve fish habitat and recreational trail systems in the Ghost Watershed.


3rd Annual Recreational Stewardship Fair on Saturday, August 12, 2023

Hosted by Cows and Fish, this drop-in event was geared towards recreational users of all kinds, non-motorized and motorized, featuring booths from a number of local stewardship, watershed, and recreation groups. A family-friendly event with a lot of interactive content, bear safety skills, how we can improve trails and tread lightly. GWAS had a booth at the event to highlight the benefits of bio-engineering and how it can be used to improve trail systems.


GWAS Family Event on July 14 and August 18, 2023 :

Bug Buddies - Discover Water Creatures in the Ghost River Watershed!   

Curious about what lives in and along the Ghost River? GWAS took families to the river to explore this fascinating world of bustling bugs.


Hike to Hoodoo Hall - Wednesday, July 5, 2023   

Full day hike hike to the spectacular Hoodoo Hall. This hike leads into a canyon in the mountains walking along a creek bed where incredible hoodoos can be found.


Plant ID Walk in th Watershed- Sunday, June 18, 2023  

Botanist Karel Bergman led us on a tour of the Butters Ranch identifying plants along the way. A BBQ lunch was served by our hosts with Butters Ranching. Our sincere thanks to Karel for sharing his wealth of knowledge and to Butters Ranching for the fabulous lunch!


Hike to Horse Lake - Saturday, May 13, 2023   

Set in a pocket of foothills east of Waiparous Creek, Horse Lake connects a wetland complex and drains into Aura Creek, a thin aquatic ribbon of habitat for westslope cutthroat trout.


Monday, April 24 Walk in the Watershed - Eau Claire Tote Road

Walk on a portion of an historic trail, the Eau Claire Lumber Company Tote Road.


Sustainable Trails workshop (virtual) - Wednesday, March 29, 2023

GWAS, the Riparian Habitat Management Society (Cows and Fish), and the Elbow River Watershed Partnership (ERWP), hosted the virtual Sustainable Trails Workshop on March 29th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.


The event featured presentations by GWAS, the Calgary ATV Riders Association CARA), Trails 4 Tomorrow and McElhanney (an engineering company with extensive knowledge on trail engineering) and was attended by 56 people.


Winter Hike in the Watershed: Sunday, January 29, 2023

Hike on the frozen Waiparous Creek.

DONATE

June 2024: Volunteer Opportunities!  

From CreekWatch sampling in the Ghost Watershed and helping with installig and maintaining stream temperature loggers, we need your help to successfully run our programs! For more information on the volunteer opportunties, please contact us by email to:

Please contact GWAS by email for questions about any of our events: