Eastridge Uplands – the final phase of the MRRRWQSI.
The Milk River Ridge Reservoir Water Quality Stewardship Initiative (MRRRWQSI) was a multi-year collaborative initiative in the County of Warner that started in 2013. The stewardship initiative is overseen and managed by a working group consisting of Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Conservation Association and the County of Warner whose actions are guided by terms of reference.
The overall goal of this stewardship initiative is the improvement of water quality through the restoration of impacted shorelands and riparian areas. Water quality declines in Ridge Reservoir in previous years are attributed in part to a degradation of the provincial land corridor which surrounds the Reservoir and the inlet canal. This corridor was heavily impacted by trespass farming. By returning ecological function to compromised corridor lands they serve as environmental buffers to intercept and slow runoff from Milk River Ridge, and better anchor riparian areas and shorelands with desired vegetation communities. Pheasants Forever is proud to be the largest donor to this conservation project.
By establishing permanent cover, and planting shelter-belts, we are providing wildlife many of the food, shelter and security needs essential during critical life stages. By reclaiming habitat around the reservoirs and canals, we are providing connectivity and travel corridors which allows wildlife to emigrate and immigrate from critical habitat areas, allowing populations to increase their ranges, increase numbers and help moderate extremes of population cycles. The development of habitat along reservoirs and canals is occurring on crown land, which provides recreationalists additional opportunities without access limitations.
Once completed the 1,100-acre parcel will feature 550 acres of native prairie and 550 acres of perennial cover and shrubs. Even better is the fact that all of the land has water on one side and cereal grain – or a big food plot on the other side.
The current project is the naturalization of 80 acres of previously cultivated land on the east shore of Milk River Ridge Reservoir. It involves fencing the property, planting perennial cover and planting approximately 30,000 shrubs.
The Milk River Ridge Reservoir is now a premier destination for upland hunters. Thanks to Chinook Pheasants Forever and Alberta Conservation Association for their support in this final piece of the puzzle