How WRRP helps ALUS make a difference on the ground

In 2018, ALUS received a $720,000 donation from Alberta Environment and Parks’ Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP) for the Modeste Natural Infrastructure Project.

As Minister Shannon Phillips stated in her May 1 announcement, the funding is part of Alberta’s strategy for reducing the risk of flooding by making significant investments to increase floodwater storage capacity upstream of communities. In this case, the work will focus on the Modeste watershed, a sub-basin of the North Saskatchewan River basin located upstream of Alberta’s Capital Region, which the Government of Alberta has identified as a priority for flood and drought mitigation, as well as an important area affecting water quality in the province.

This WRRP funding will help ALUS make a difference on the ground in two broad ways:

First, participants in the ALUS Parkland, ALUS Brazeau, ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc programs will establish more than  650 acres of wetland and riparian area ALUS projects on agricultural land to help mitigate flooding, increase drought resilience and improve water quality for Albertans.

Second, the WRRP grant will fund research to evaluate the financial benefits of natural infrastructure and demonstrate how an investment in natural infrastructure can help communities improve water quality and mitigate flood and drought risks.

Dr. Wanhong Yang of the University of Guelph will lead a watershed modeling exercise to evaluate scenarios where natural infrastructure can be restored, enhanced and conserved to meet the needs of local and downstream communities. Dr. Marian Weber of Innotech Alberta will undertake a cost-benefit analysis comparing natural infrastructure and built infrastructure.

Download an informative one-pager on the Modeste natural infrastructure project here:

Road washout

ALUS projects will help prevent costly infrastructure damage due to major flooding, such as this road washout in the Modeste subwatershed in August 2016. (Photo: County of Wetaskiwin)

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