Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program

About the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP)

Alberta Environment and Parks' (AEP) WRRP aims to improve natural watershed functions in order to build greater long-term resiliency to droughts and floods through:

  • Conservation
  • Education and stewardship
  • Research and data
  • Restoration and Enhancement

WRRP Objectives

The primary objective of the program is to increase the natural ability of the province’s watersheds to reduce the intensity, magnitude, duration and effects of flooding and drought through watershed mitigation measures.

Additionally, the program aims to address impacts of past flooding and/or droughts through the restoration of degraded priority areas of watersheds which will enhance communities’ ability to withstand future flooding or droughts.

Finally, the program seeks to promote the ongoing stewardship and preservation of key components of Alberta’s watersheds.

WRRP Outcomes

Accepting the desire to increase the natural ability of the province’s watersheds to reduce the intensity, magnitude, duration and effects of flooding and drought to the benefit of Albertans, the WRRP will focus on the following outcomes:

  • Identification and ranking of priority areas for wetland and riparian restoration and conservation;
  • Advancing flood and drought resiliency in priority areas within watersheds in Alberta to enhance communities and improve environments;
  • Restoring and enhancing ecological connectivity and function in critical areas;
  • Increasing knowledge, awareness and participation by program participants and the public in activities that restore and sustain watershed functions; and,
  • Enhancing community capacity to restore and maintain critical watershed features for future generations

Find out more by reading our Progress Report:

Partnerships and Collaboration

The WRRP is being implemented with the help of partners who have expertise in watershed management, from habitat restoration and fisheries improvement, to natural hazard mitigation and wetland enhancement.

AEP will be looking to these partners to help identify priority projects and lead the implementation of the WRRP in collaboration with the Government of Alberta. Through collaboration with stakeholders, natural watershed functions are improved and sustained to build greater long term resiliency to droughts and floods utilizing an integrated watershed approach.

Collaboration with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry: AWEP

Under Growing Forward 2, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) is implementing the Agricultural Watershed Enhancement Program (AWEP) directed at local producers in partnerships to improve water quality within agricultural areas throughout the province.

While the AWEP has a different focus (water quality) versus the WRRP (drought and flood resiliency), it was recognized that collaborating and working together to support both programs ensures a more robust watershed approach that supports work at all scales of the watersheds.

AEP and AF developed a joint one-window application and review process in 2015. All applications will be considered under both programs and the two departments will be collaborating on the review and administration of grants to projects.

For details about this new application process, see the document: AWEP/WRRP Joint Programs Approach.

WRRP General Information

For a general overview of the WRRP, see:

Also see our About the WRRP section below for more information about the program.

Approved Grants

There have been three rounds of grant approvals through the WRRP. Below are grant approval fact sheets that list grant recipients, grant totals and a description of approved projects.

Screen-reader users: the following section uses links to control collapsible areas of content.

Round 3

Round 2

Round 1

Projects Eligible for Funding

Funding under the program must be applicable to one or more of the Program elements which include:

  • Conservation
  • Education and stewardship
  • Research and data
  • Restoration and Enhancement

Projects with a restoration and enhancement component to them will be given greater consideration.

Project Priorities

Priorities for short-term and long-term projects that improve flood and drought resiliency include but are not limited to:

  • High-risk/contributing areas at the watershed level;
  • Floodplain or channel naturalization;
  • Bank stabilization through riparian enhancements or approved bio-engineering techniques;
  • Wetland restoration and creation;
  • Protection of existing natural features and key areas;
  • Projects that provide a high benefit to flood or drought resiliency

Priority Areas Mapping and Summary Report

  • Priority areas maps - Jul 2016 (3 pages, <1 MB)

    This map provides information to applicants on flood, drought and water quality priority areas in Alberta. These maps were developed to inform the decisions made in allocation of grant funds for the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program and the Agricultural Watershed Enhancement Program. These priority areas maps do not represent the state of the watershed and should not be used for any purpose other than informing program applicants.
  • Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program Prioritization Project Summary Report - Jan 2015 (22 pages, 2.8 MB)

    The objective of the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program Prioritization project was to identify priority watersheds for allocation of program resources using an objective and scientifically rigorous approach. The Summary Report provides a description of the methodology used to identify priority areas.

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Updated: Aug 15, 2016