The Amazing MRRRWQSI

The Milk River Ridge Reservoir Water Quality Stewardship Initiative (MRRRWQSI) is a project of the Habitat Legacy Partnership (HLP) which Pheasants Forever is a partner. This partnership works with stakeholders to improve upland game bird habitat in southern Alberta.

The project is named for and located next to the Milk River Ridge Reservoir, 44 kilometres south-east of Lethbridge, along Highway 506, west of Highway 4.

MRRRWQSI is a multi-year collaborative initiative that is overseen and managed by a working group consisting of Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (EPA), and the County of Warner, whose actions are guided by terms of reference. Pheasants Forever Calgary is proud to have this as one of our signature conservation initiatives.

The initiative consists of nine segments around the Waterton–St. Mary headworks inlet canal and along the shorelands of the Milk River Ridge Reservoir. These segments are predominantly focused on provincial Crown land, known as the provincial land corridor, surrounding the reservoir. 

The overall goal of this initiative is to improve water quality through the restoration of the vegetation community along shorelands and riparian areas. This restoration translates into the creation of vital wildlife habitat that also filters nutrients and reduces erosion. 

Approximately $2.2 million has been raised and invested to date, a significant portion of which was provided by Pheasants Forever Calgary. 

To date:

  • 61 kilometres of fencing has been erected to protect shoreland and riparian habitat
  • 25 off-site watering units have been installed in strategic areas surrounding the reservoir to redirect cattle away from fragile riparian zones 
  • 48,100 shrubs have been planted 
  • 566 acres has been seeded to perennial wildlife habitat
  • 6.18-acre wetland was developed on the west side of the reservoir, acting as a large filter for nutrients and a magnet for wildlife 
  • Parking areas, access points and educational signage has been strategically placed to allow public access and highlight the goals and accomplishments of the initiative

In the end, local wildlife and southern Albertans all win from this vastly improved landscape.

The Milk River Ridge Reservoir is now a premier destination for upland hunters.