Riparian Area Assessments
Riparian habitats are located along the shorelines of all water bodies, and are transition zones between aquatic and upland habitats. Riparian areas are widely recognized as being important because they support a diverse range of wildlife species, and because they supply important ecosystem services, such as soil stabilization and water quality improvement. As a result, riparian habitat restoration and conservation is increasingly becoming a high priority for land managers.
Aerial view of a riparian area long the shoreline of Islet Lake, taken from our UAV during a riparian condition assessment.
At Fiera Biological, we have recognized that the first step in improving riparian management is to evaluate the extent to which these areas have been previously impacted, and to communicate the current status of these areas to land managers, such that this information can be used to target restoration or conservation activities.
To do this, we have developed a standardized method for assessing and mapping the status of riparian habitats across large areas using remote sensing and GIS (geographic information systems) methods. To date, we have assessed over 6,000 km of riparian area along the shorelines of lakes and streams in central Alberta.
To learn more about the Riparian Area Assessments, you may be interested in reading our Case Study. The following riparian assessment reports have been made available by the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance and the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society:
Modeste Watershed Riparian Area Assessment
Sturgeon Watershed Riparian Area Assessment
Strawberry Watershed Riparian Area Assessment
Blindman River Riparian Assessment
If you would like to have us come and speak about this work at a conference, or at your municipality, or watershed management group, we would be happy to do so. Please contact us to make arrangements.
Dr. Shari Clare (Fiera Biological) speaks to the Bow River Basin Council about emerging methods for riparian area management in Alberta.