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.

News & Events



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)

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.

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!

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.

September 2019 - GWAS completes aquatic biomonitoring training

In July 2019, 4 members of GWAS completed the CABiN and eDNA training in Canmore.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is an emerging tool for monitoring present biodiversity. It uses

gene sequencing linked to DNA/RNA barcode libraries to allow for faster, more complete

profile of biodiversity content from very small samples.

GWAS members learned about the updated version of the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring

Network (CABIN) protocol, developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada to

collect eDNA samples using biomonitoring of benthic invertebrates, or the small animals on

the bottom of the stream. Benthic invertebrates are strong indicators of water quality since the

small organisms included in that group are highly sensitive to pollutants and other changes that

impact aquatic ecosystem health.

A Blog post written by one of our team members can be found here.

U of C Environmental Science 502 - Virtual Open House, April 16:

Due to COVID-19, the Open House at Beaupre Hall, where students of the

ENVS 502 class were going to present the results of their work in the Ghost

Watershed, had to be cancelled. However, a virtual Open House was held

instead. Visit our page on the project to find out more and to view the students' work.

November 2019 - GWAS AGM and 3-year Operations Plan

On November 23rd, 2019 GWAS held its Annual General Meeting. We had a great turn-out and

received excellent feedback on our work in 2019 and plans for 2020 from our membership.

You can download the reports presented at the AGM here:

- Annual Report presentation (pdf-file,18.5MB)

- Financial Report (pdf-file,1.1MB)

If you have any questions about these reports, please contact us by email:

As reported at the AGM, GWAS recently completed its latest 3-year Operations Plan.

To find out more, please download the Operations Plan document (pdf-file. 3.8MB)

July 2019 - Report on GWAS Education Activities in 2019:

GWAS Volunteers have been very busy this year to increase our education efforts with

schools. Please see our web page for a report on the activites undertaken between

February and June of 2019.  

Walks in the Watershed completed in 2019:  

Thanks to everyone who joined us on the Walks in the Watershed program this year:

Friday, May 10, 2019: Ghost River Escarpment (west of Richards Rd)

Sunday, June 23, 2019: Butters Ranch - Plant ID Walk with Gus Yaki with BBQ

Saturday, July 6, 2019: Meadow Creek Loop

Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019: Brewster's Meadow Loop Walk in the Watershed

Sunday, August 26, 2019: Black Rock Mountain

Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019: Sand Hills, Aura Creek and Horse Lake

We are looking forward to another great Walks in the Watershed season in 2020.

Calgary Mayor's Environment Expo - Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Ghost Watershed Alliance Society Annual General Meeting, Saturday, November 24th, 2018:

GWAS AGM took place on Saturday, November 24th, 2018 at The Crossing at Ghost River in Pine Loft.

Presentation topics included the Ghost River SOW report and its dissemination, the year in review and plans for the coming year. You can download the following presentations here:

The year in review (pdf-file, 12.1MB)

Presentation on the Ghost River SOW Report (pdf-file, 13.7MB)

Financial report for the fiscal year 2017/18 (pdf-file, 1.1MB)

2-day Bioengineering workshop with Dave Polster - October 1st & 2nd, 2018

GWAS held a very successful classroom workshop with Dave Polster on Monday, October 1st.

For the field day on Tuesday, October 2nd, we unfortunately got snowed out! 25 cm of fresh snow

in less than 24 hours put an abrupt stop to our plans, but we will try to reschedule the field day to

the spring of 2019. We would like to thank all participants and our funder, the Alberta Conservation

Assocation, for their interst and support of the workshop.

Walks in the Watershed completed in 2018:

Thanks to the Walks in the Watershed Committee and the financial support

received from the MD of Bighorn as well as donations, we have been able to

complete another exciting walks and hikes program in 2018.

-   Saturday, April 28 (afternoon): Walk in the Back 40 area

-   Saturday, May 12 (afternoon): Walk to Mockingbird Lookout

-   Sunday, June 3: Plant ID Walk at Butters Ranch with guide Gus Yaki

-   Saturday, July 29 (full-day): Orient Point full day hike

-   Sunday, September 2: Lake Minnewanka hike (app. 35km)

-   Sunday, September 30: Meadow Creek Loop

Bow River Basin Council (BRBC) Science Forum - May 2, 2018:

8:30am to 4pm at the University of Calgary Mac Hall.

Ryan MacDonald of the ALCES Group delivered a successful presentation on the topic of "Data limitations in state of the watershed reporting - Learnings from the Ghost River State of the Watershed report".

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.


None at this time.

Please stay tuned for new event announcements!


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.