Working with three area agriculture producers, riparian on-farm best management practice (BMP) demonstration sites were established – examples of how to mitigate agricultural impact on BMP locationriparian areas through controlled grazing practices.
The first in 2004 on Kirchner Farms (east side of Lac La Nonne NE¼-8-57-2-W5 see aerial photo). Volunteers erected new fencing and installed a shallow well, solar powered pumping system, elevated water storage and a gravity-fed livestock watering troughs to establish a riparian pasture. Objective – seasonal rotation between pastures to rest riparian areas spanning the Lake Nakamun – Lac La Nonne Interlake stream.
A second BMP demonstration site Fencing DugOutwas developed in 2005 on Norma and John Wood’s farm “an Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Program (AEFP) participant” east of highway #33, 2 km north of Lac La Nonne Road. Volunteers with assistance of owner fenced a section of Majeau Creek and an adjacent wetland riparian area to manage livestock access during vulnerable growth times. A 80 x 200 x 18 foot dugout with an off site well was excavated by Shuurman Dragline & Backhoe Services Ltd and then equipped a winter motion-sensitive solar system providing a year round watering source for a 60 cow-calf operation (a 3-year supply).
The third Riparian project demonstrated another completing constructionalternative watering source – a 30′ windmill system, shallow well and storage tank was erected in the summer of 2006 located on the DeZaeyer property southeast of Lac La Nonne. LEPA partnered with the Lac La Nonne Watershed Stewardship Society (LWSS) and land owners to protect a wetlands and pond.
Cows and Fish (Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society) conducted separate riparian health inventories: within the BMP project areas and the upstream riparian area unaffected by agricultural activities. These inventories will be used as a monitoring tool for change on these ongoing demonstration projects. A tour held on September 22, 2004 provided an opportunity for area agricultural producers and lake residents to visit the Kirchner project site, and included an official unveiling of signage by George VanderBurg, MLA Whitecourt-Ste Anne and Harvey Thompson, LEPA President (see bmp photos).In all instances, riparian areas were fenced to manage utilization during critical times allowing for regrowth of willow and natural grasses and healthy maintenance of riparian areas. The goal of these projects will be to reduce nutrient inputs to surface waters and promote riparian health.