Walks in the Watershed:
Every year, the GWAS organizes several walks and hikes in the Ghost Watershed led by volunteers. The Walks are not only educational, but they are also fun events showing you the beauty of the watershed and the challenges it is facing. The Ghost Watershed encompasses two protected areas: Don Getty Wildland Park and Ghost Wilderness. A large portion of the Watershed lies within the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve. About half of the Ghost Public Land-use Zone (PLUZ) overlaps the Ghost Watershed. The protected areas as well as the Crown Lands within the Watershed provide for great walking and hiking opportunities. While there are no marked hiking trails in the Watershed at this time, you can take join us for our guided walks and hikes to enjoy this beautiful area of Alberta's Eastern Slopes.
Please check our News & Events page for frequent updates.
GWAS’s mission is to protect the integrity of the Ghost Watershed through:
• identifying ecosystem and environmental issues,
• raising public awareness,
• providing advice to decision makers,
• and taking action to resolve issues.
GWAS activities include three main pillars: Education & Outreach, Committees & Collaboration and Research & Data collection. This includes:
• Walks in the Watershed
• School field trips
• Taking part in environmental fairs at local schools and the Calgary Mayor’s Environmental Expo
• Bio-engineering workshops
• Presentations at various forums and conferences
• Taking part in government input processes providing input based on research commissioned by GWAS and local knowledge of the watershed.
• Commission studies and data collection.
School field trips and environmental fairs:
Attention teachers! Would you like to take your students out into the Ghost Watershed? We are here to help! There are many educational opportunities to be found in this watershed. GWAS may also be able to support transportation costs for school groups. Please contact us to discuss your ideas and needs.
With the help of our volunteers, we also attend environmental fairs at schools and the Calgary Mayor's Environmental Expo. We employ easy to use hands-on models to educate students about water quality and timing of flow.
Another important part of GWAS work is to develop a science-based understanding of this watershed. Understanding its composition, structure and function as well as its thresholds to maintaining ecological integrity. Over the past few years GWAS has engaged several highly respected Scientists and Professionals, such as Dr. Brad Stelfox and Forester & Ecologist Herb Hammond, helping us to achieve this goal. In 2018 we also completed the first Ghost River State of the Watershed report.
More information on the studies is available on our Research & Data page.
Under the Water for Life Strategy, WSGs are tasked to promote best management practices, collaborate with land-use managers, undertake on-the-ground actions to protect the watershed, develop State of the Watershed reports and collaboratively work towards the development of adaptive watershed management plans.
In 2011, a person was charged and convicted under the Fisheries Act for getting his truck stuck in Waiparous Creek, which is home to one of the few remaining pure-strain Westslope Cutthroat Trout populations in Alberta. The driver said that he was not aware of the damage he was doing when driving his truck into the river bed.
This triggered the idea with GWAS to initiate an awareness and education campaign. GWAS initiated a partnership with the Elbow River Watershed Partnership (ERWP) to develop educational materials and an awareness campaign for recreational use in these sensitive watershed areas. Four brainstorming session were held over the Fall/Winter 2011/12 by the project committee, which consisted of the following groups/organizations: City of Calgary, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Cows & Fish, Trout Unlimited, Alberta Conservation Association, Alberta Wilderness Association, Bow River Basin Council and the Ghost Stewardship Monitoring Group's Communications Committee.
With funding support from the ERWP and a grant by Alberta Ecotrust, a graphic designer was hired to develop draft designs for educational signage. Draft designs were reviewed by several recreational user group members and presented at the BRBC Quarterly Forum in December 2012 as well as the Westslope Cutthroat Trout workshop in February 2013 and February 2014. Some design changes were subsequently made based on the feedback received from users. Two signs were developed: "Steer Clear" and "Thank you for using the bridge".
Since the summer of 2014 these two signs have been in service in many areas of Alberta's Eastern Slopes including the Ghost, Elbow and Oldman watersheds. Based on monitoring results the signs have been accepted very well. It has been observed at one site that 25% more users decided to use the bridge when the "Thank you for using the bridge" sign was present.