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Athabasca Healthy Shorelines Initiative

The Athabasca Watershed Council (AWC) has been working to improve shorelines in the Athabasca Watershed.

5 Years of Healthy Shorelines Infographic

The AWC partnered with Fiera Biological Consulting (Fiera) to apply a method to rapidly map and assess the shorelines in the Pembina River Watershed and the Tawatinaw River Watershed. This method has been applied to almost 35,000 km of shorelines in Alberta to date in the North Saskatchewan watershed, Lesser Slave watershed, Battle River watershed, Red Deer watershed, and Beaver River watershed, see this infographic.

Shorelines (also known as riparian areas) have considerable ecological, economic, and social value. There is a need to effectively manage riparian habitat because these areas are essential to mitigating flood and drought along water bodies. To learn more about riparian areas and to see results from this initiative, visit the Riparian Web Portal.

We’ve developed shoreline information packages to provide information and resources for people who live and/or work near shorelines:

Pembina River Watershed Shoreline Assessments

Fiera assessed a total of 3708 km of shorelines in the Upper, Mid, and Lower regions of the Pembina River Watershed. This includes 28 creeks, streams, and rivers, along with 11 lakes. The Pembina River Watershed covers an area of 14,324 km2 within Treaty 6 Territory. It is a major tributary of the Athabasca River in west-central Alberta. Originating at Redcap Mountain, it flows northeast before entering the Athabasca River northwest of Flatbush, Alberta. 

To watch a presentation about this assessment and available reports, visit this page.




Tawatinaw River Riparian Assessment

Approximately 226 km of shorelines was assessed in the Tawatinaw River Watershed by Fiera. This includes the Tawatinaw River, Helliwell Lake, Tawatinaw Lake, and two unnamed lakes. The Tawatinaw River is a tributary of the Athabasca River. It begins at Helliwell Lake near Highway 2 in Westlock County before flowing northward to meet the Athabasca River in the Town of Athabasca.


Additional Shoreline Initiatives

The AWC recognizes the vast amount of work conducted by other groups in the Athabasca Watershed on shoreline habitats. Please see the following reports for more information. 

West Central Forage Association Reports:

Chip Lake

Lobstick River

Paddle River

Additional Reports:

Alberta Conservation Association Owl River Report

Shoreline Partners
  • AGROFORESTRY AND WOODLOT EXTENSION SOCIETY – Are you a landowner or manager who needs tree-related assistance? AWES has extensive experience in agriculture, tree planting, horticulture, and tree health.
  • The Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society, also known as Cows and Fish, is a non-profit organization with the aim to foster a better understanding of how improvements in grazing and other management of riparian areas can enhance landscape health and productivity for the benefit of landowners, agricultural producers, communities, and others who use and value riparian areas. 
  • ALTERNATIVE LAND USE SERVICES (ALUS) BRAZEAU COUNTY – Are you a farmer or rancher with some marginal or ecologically sensitive areas? ALUS can help you establish wetlands, native prairie, pollinator habitat and other projects on your land.
  • ALUS LAC STE. ANNE COUNTY – This initiative is a grant program where a coordinator works with farmers to complete environmental projects on private farmland.
  • ALUS PARKLAND – This program works with farmers and ranchers to establish ALUS projects by providing support and annual per-acre payments for the maintenance and management of these projects.
  • HIGHWAY 2 CONSERVATION – H2C aims to provide residents with assistance in managing these special areas for cropping, grazing and recreation purposes.
  • LAC LE NONNE ENHANCEMENT AND PROTECTION ASSOCIATION – LEPA is dedicated to engaging their members in projects and activities aimed at improving the lake and watershed. In addition, they strive to educate their members and the public on the importance of responsible management of our natural areas through workshops, tours and newsletters. 
  • NORTHERN LIGHTS FLY FISHERS – This group is considered a chapter of TROUT UNLIMITED CANADA and is made up of dedicated, concerned anglers, and cold-water conservationists that meet regularly throughout the year to discuss fishing and conservation. 
  • WEST CENTRAL FORAGE ASSOCIATION – WCFA is a non-profit, membership based, producer driven, agricultural research and extension organization that serves forage and livestock producers in the West-central region of Alberta. 

Thank you to our funders and supporters including the Canada Summer Jobs program, Eco-Canada, Pembina Pipeline Corporation, Plains Midstream, Trans Mountain, and the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program