In 2008, Environment Canada provided four years of core funding to help support biosphere reserves across Canada. The Waterton Biosphere Reserve (WBR) received a portion of this funding through June 2012 to manage the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Coordination Project. This funding provided the impetus for rejuvenation of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve committee. It allowed the hiring of a part-time coordinator and completion of several communication initiatives including launching of the www.watertonbiosphere.com website, publication of information leaflets and creation of a portable display. It was during this time, that WBR began working with the local community on several important projects including the Carnivores and Communities Program, the South West Alberta Cooperative Weed Management Area (now called South West Invasive Managers), Wetlands Field Day, and Digital Stewardship Stories.
This project also enabled the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association (WBRA) to provide support to a number of local initiatives including:
The WBRA would like to thank the Chinook Area Land Users Association for administrative support during the start-up of this project.
From June 2011 to January 2014, Waterton Biosphere Reserve had the opportunity to participate in a national biosphere reserve project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The grant supported a partnership between the University of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) which provided the opportunity for 15 biosphere reserves across Canada to share best practices and complete a number of cooperative projects.
In addition, funding from the SSHRC grant allowed delegates from Waterton Biosphere Reserve to attend several national meetings during the period of the project including the EuroMAB 2013 meeting in Ontario in the fall of 2013. EuroMAB is a subset of the world network of biosphere reserves consisting of all members in Europe and North America. The EuroMAB 2013 meeting was the first ever held in Canada and welcomed more than 190 delegates from 27 countries.
In 2012, Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association undertook a cooperative project with the Waterton Natural History Association (WNHA) and Parks Canada to create a new roadside exhibit at Pine Ridge, a vantage point overlooking the entrance to Waterton Lakes National Park. The exhibit has a central panel that features a labeled panorama of the mountains and text that highlights the “tradition of stewardship” that supports this landscape. Side panels feature Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association and the Waterton Natural History Association.
Contributing to this project:
Residents of Waterton Biosphere Reserve (WBR) have been working together for more than 30 years to balance biodiversity conservation with sustainable use of the land in southwestern Alberta. Over the last three decades, they have been supported by an increasing number of groups and agencies working to promote stewardship. Many successful projects have been completed; however, not all of these groups are rooted within the community. The importance of place-based conservation and sustainability is becoming more apparent. A strong local constituency, with shared ideas and motivation for collaborative action is what makes biosphere reserves unique. This will ensure the long term success and survival of WBR and the benefits that it brings to the citizens of southwestern Alberta.
This project has allowed Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association (WBRA) to reach out to people in southwestern Alberta in order to build constituency for conservation and sustainability. We have been working to:
1) Inform residents, businesses, organizations, governments, and other stakeholders about WBR and raise awareness about the advantages of biosphere reserve designation at the regional scale.
2) Formalize working relationships with other agencies, organizations, and governments and confirm at the administrative (government) level the boundaries for WBR and the core, buffer, and transition zones.
3) Engage stakeholders in discussion about the future of WBR and work together to develop a Cooperation Plan which will guide the future work and direction of the WBR.
Project funded by:
Project supported by: