News & Events Archive



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".


Saturday, November 18th, 2017:

GWAS Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Membership Forum.

Thank you to everyone who attended! We had a full house at the AGM! In case you did not make it to the AGM, you can download the presentation on GWAS work in 2017 (pdf-file: 9.3MB): GWAS AGM presentation 2017.

A presentation on the financial statements can be downloaded here: Finance report 2017

Thanks also to our keynote speaker Mark Bennett, Executive Director of the Bow River Basin Council, and to The Crossing at Ghost River for hosting us.

Tuesday September 26th, 2017:

Campsite clean-up event in the Ghost PLUZ with the BP Retirees.

A big Thank You to all our volunteers for the event. We collected 330kg of garbage in 3 hours this year, which was less than in previous years. Due to a fire ban and OHV closure due to the extreme fire risk over this past summer, the number of campers was a lot less than in other years.

Friday, September 15th & Saturday, September 16th, 2017:

2-day workshop with bio-engineering specialist Dave Polster from BC.

Dave Polster, one of the best bio-engineering specialists in Canada, led this free 2-day workshop for over 30 participants. GWAS would like to thank everyone, who joined us for the workshop and helping us to restore some of the critical fish habitat in the Ghost Watershed. Please visit our photo gallery to see photos taken at the event.

Sunday, August 13th, 2017:  Hike in the Watershed to Bastion Ridge

Despite some smoke from the BC forest fires and a little bit of rain, this hike was enjoyed by a group of 12 people.

Saturday, July 8th, 2017:  Hike in the Watershed to Hidden Canyon

A group of 10 enjoyed a full-day hike to Hidden Pass in Banff National Park accessed from the Ghost River valley on a beautiful summer day.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017:  2nd Walk in the Watershed

For the 10th year we had another successful Plant ID walk with guide Gus Yaki at the Butters Ranch with Beef BBQ lunch. Thank you to everyone who attended, a big Thank You to our guide Gus Yaki and our hosts Erik Butters and Laura Procunier!

May 26th, 2017:  GWAS Benefit Concert with The Wardens at Beaupre Hall:

The event was a great success! We had a full house, great raffle prizes and wonderful music

by The Wardens. Thank you to everyone who joined us that evening to celebrate our beautiful

outdoors. Big thanks to all the volunteers who made the event run so smoothly, to our caterer

Mona Kadri of the Cookie Queen for the wonderful food and to The Wardens for their great


May 20th, 2017:  1st Walk in the Watershed

60 people enjoyed Butters Ranch history & walk along the historic Tote Road.


Saturday, November 12th 2016: Annual General Meeting and Membership Forum

We had another great turn-out for our AGM and Membership Forum this year. Thank you to everyone who attended!

In case you did not make it to the AGM, you can download the presentation on GWAS work in 2016 here (pdf-file, 2.6MB): AGM2016s.pdf  

A presentation on the financial statements can be downloaded here:

AGM GWAS Finance Nov 2016.pdf

Annual campsite clean-up with the BP Retirees group: Tuesday, September 27th 2016

Sunday, September 18th 2016: Hike in the Watershed to the Sand Hills

Saturday, September 17th 2016: GWAS Bio-engineering project

On Saturday, September 17th we undertook a bioengineering

project in collaboration with the Alberta Government's Backcountry Trails Flood

Rehabilitation Team (BTFR) at the location of a new bridge on Meadow Creek.

Meadow Creek is home to some of the few remaining Westslope Cutthroat Trout populations in Alberta. These fish thrive in cold and clean water and are sensitive to sediment being washed

into streams. A big Thank You to all the volunteers who came out on a beautiful Saturday to plant the willows

and to the BTFR Team for all their work and support! We got so much done that day and are looking forward to seeing the willows grow next year. Thank you also to the Land Stewardship Centre, who generously funded this project to help to improve water quality and fish habitat in the Ghost.

Photos of the project can be seen in our photo gallery

Sunday, August 21st 2016: Hussey's Hill: Full day hike into Don Getty Wildland Park.

Sunday, August 7, 2016: Black Rock Mountain - Full day hike

Sunday July 10, 2016: Hidden Pass - Day hike to new destination in the Black Rock Mountain area.

Sunday June 26, 2016: Butters Ranch Walk with Gus Yaki

We had a great turn-out for both the historic Walk in the Watershed on June 18th and

the Plant & Bird ID Walk on June 26th with a fabulous BBQ courtesy of Butters Ranching.

Thank you to everyone who attended the events, the generous donations made towards our Education & Outreach program and a big thank you to our hosts and guides, Jennifer Fraser, Gus Yaki, Erik Butters and Laura Procunier as well as all the volunteers who helped to make the events such a success.

Saturday June 18, 2016: Historic Walk - Long-time resident Jenny Fraser shares stories about First Nations, fur traders and ranchers in the Ghost Valley. 1-hour easy walk ideal for families.

Please bring your own lunch for a picnic enjoying the beautiful view over the Ghost River valley after the walk.

Sunday May 29, 2016: Walk in the Watershed: Meadow Creek/Brewster's Meadow - Easy, level walk to a large wetland area.

News April 2016: Benefit event was a big success!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who attended our benefit event on April 15th! The event was sold out and it was a big success. We have not only received lots of positive feedback on the event, but also met our funding goal.

Funds raised will support GWAS Education & Outreach program and liability insurance costs to run our popular Walks in the Watershed program and school field trips, connecting people with the natural environment of the Ghost Watershed in Alberta's Eastern Slopes.

GWAS Spring 2016 Newsletter: Please click on image to the left to download the Spring 2016 Newsletter as pdf version (File size: 1.5MB).


- Upcoming event: An evening of music, storie, humour and images featuring The Wardens & local author Kathy Calvert.

- State of the Watershed report - update

- Collaborative projects - report

- GWAS - Who we are & where we stand

Friday, April 15th 2016: An evening of music, stories humour & images featuring The Wardens & local author Kathy Calvert.

The sold out event brought June Mickle’s story back to life with stage readings from Kathy Calvert’s book about June’s life in the Eastern Slopes of Southern Alberta. Musical performances by

The Wardens, a popular Banff National Park-based Trio known for their storytelling, great music and humour, rounded out the evening.

A big thank you to everyone who attended, all the volunteers and The Wardens!

Proceeds will support GWAS Education & Outreach program and liability insurance costs to run our popular Walks in the Watershed program and school field trips, connecting people with the natural environment of the Ghost Watershed in Alberta's Eastern Slopes.