In Robert Frosts poem “Mending Wall” he states that good fences make for good neighbors. In this case fences along sections of a number of streams located in the Rocky Mountain House area are demonstrating their worth when it comes to protecting habitat.
Recently I took a trip the Rocky Mountain House area and joined Alberta Conservation Association Biologist Kevin Gardiner to get a better understanding of the work the ACA and other conservation groups are doing along the Raven and North Raven River. Specifically addressing the issue of maintaining fence lines along the banks of the river system in order to protect the all-important riparian zone. A riparian zone is the interface between land and a river or stream.
As far back as the early 70's the Alberta Fish and Game Association recognized the importance of establishing and maintaining fences to protect stream banks. And so the Buck For Wildlife Stream Bank (BFW) Fencing Program was established. For the most part this resulted in building a fence for livestock exclusion in order to protect stream banks from erosion and other issues resulting from livestock having direct access to streams.
By the 1990’s concerns were being raised over the cost of maintaining these fence lines — so the Alberta Government asked the Alberta Conservation Association to get involved.
Looking to reduce fence maintence costs the ACA is working with Public Lands to ensure that the BFW Streambank Fencing program will continue on Crown Properties, by engaging grazing lease owners to take up maintenance commitments.
It’s on the private land where the ACA is making progress to encourage land-owners to take an active role in protecting the protection of local fisheries and habitat.