The City of Calgary Riparian Monitoring Program

By: The City of Calgary

The City of Calgary’s Riparian Monitoring Program (RMP) embodies a steadfast commitment to the conservation and enhancement of riparian areas along water bodies. Initiated in response to key actions in The City’s Riparian Action Program, the RMP endeavours to translate strategy into action, fostering flood and drought resilience, water quality protection, and biodiversity preservation. The RMP assesses riparian health, striving to elevate the city-wide average riparian score from a baseline of 60% to 72% by 2026.

Comprising three phases, the RMP has made significant strides since its inception in 2017. Phase 1 focused on developing a Monitoring Plan, while Phase 2 spanned five years, assessing the long-term trend of riparian health improvement and the efficacy of bioengineering and riparian planting techniques. Phase 3, initiated in 2023, extends the trend monitoring work and monitoring of a major demonstration site along the Bow River (i.e., the Bow River Bioengineering Demonstration and Education Project) to 2026.

Led by The City’s Climate and Environment business unit and delivered by Kerr Wood Leidal Associates Ltd. with support from Cows and Fish, Terra Erosion Control Ltd., Longview Ecological, and INRA,, the RMP serves both the citizens of Calgary and the wider riparian community. By promoting nature-based solutions in civil engineering projects, the RMP addresses urbanization’s adverse effects while fostering community resilience against flood, drought and biodiversity issues. Moreover, the program’s transparency and educational outreach benefit practitioners, researchers, and the public, facilitating knowledge sharing and informed decision-making.