The areas surrounding rivers, creeks and streams are known as riparian areas. They include riverbanks and floodplains, and can range from a few metres to several hundred metres in size. Healthy riparian areas provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including:
- Preventing excessive erosion
- Stabilizing riverbanks
- Slowing floodwaters through natural floodplains
- Improving water quality
- Providing habitat for fish and wildlife
- Offering aesthetic, recreational and economic benefits to Calgarians
Calgary's Riparian Strategy
Click the picture for a full size diagram
The City is moving forward with a formal strategy to protect and restore riparian areas.
TheRiparian Strategy, supported by the Standing Policy Committee on Utilities and Corporate Services, contains a high level framework that provides direction for the protection, restoration and management of riparian ecosystems within Calgary's watersheds. The strategy also supports Calgary's Municipal Development Plan.
Implementing the Riparian Strategy
Now that the strategy is in place, an implementation plan is being prepared that includes indicators, targets, specific actions and timelines.
Riparian areas mapping and background reports
As part of the strategy, maps along major rivers and streams were created to highlight the location and health of specific riparian areas, land uses and regulatory issues and considerations.
A set ofRiparian Management Category Maps are also available. These provide a cohesive framework and a geospatial "vision" for the protection, management and use of riparian areas in Calgary.
TheDesign Guidelines for Erosion and Flood Control for Streambank and Riparian Stability Restoration have recently been developed. This document is currently being used by The City of Calgary for the analysis, design, tendering and construction of erosion control, slope stability, and restoration for streambank and riparian areas.