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Shaganappi Park Habitat Restoration

As many of you know, the creek area in Shaganappi Park was selected by the City of Calgary and Trout Unlimited as a designated habitat restoration site several years ago.


We recently received a great note (below) from Patricia Striker, the City of Calgary Parks Ecologist for our area on behalf of the City of Calgary Parks Department to update our residents on significant and important restoration work being done in the area. This note also provides some guidelines for residents help the protect the ecological integrity of work done to date. For more information about habitat restoration within the City of Calgary, please visit www.calgary.ca/habitatrestoration

 

Have you been to Shaganappi Creek Park lately? One of the treasures in this park is a natural area with a ground water spring coming from a perched water table, that flows out as a small creek that eventually leads into the Bow River. Largely due to improper use, the health of this natural area had declined over time. Through a concerted effort by The City of Calgary, the Shaganappi Community Association, Trout Unlimited Canada, and local volunteers, this natural area is returning to a healthy state. With so many users of this small but significant area, it is important to use proper etiquette when enjoying the park, as well as to be aware of the habitat restoration that is taking place.


If you have ever strolled along the trails adjacent to the ground water stream in the ravine you have likely noticed the willow stakes. As they begin to establish, these shrubs provide soil stabilization and help prevent erosion along the banks of the creek. In the spring of 2023, over 500 native plants were added to this area, including red osier dogwood, saskatoon, balsam poplar, wild strawberry, silver buffaloberry and common wild rose. Not only do these plants act as a form of erosion control, they also provide habitat and resources for native songbirds, pollinators, and other wildlife.


The result of the collaborative efforts that have gone into restoring the habitat within the ravine are evident. The removal of non-native plants, such as cotoneaster and lilac have allowed for the regeneration of native species such as balsam polar, choke cherry, red osier dogwood and white spruce. Dense tree and shrub cover along this creek helps provide additional habitat for local wildlife and keeps non-native grasses and weeds at bay.


Historical use of the area (off-leash dogs, use of undesignated trails) resulted in soil compaction and human-caused bare ground in many areas of the park. The installation of interpretative signage, designated creek crossing signs, cut stump crossing structures and temporary fencing has limited improper recreational use, further promoting the natural regeneration of vegetation in the area.


Images showing creek obstructions before and during habitat restoration (Images courtesy: R. Goodfellow, Trout Unlimited, City of Calgary, Community Volunteers)


Images of willow staking and current state of the area post habitat restoration (Images courtesy: R. Goodfellow, Trout Unlimited, City of Calgary, Community Volunteers)




Extensive time and effort have gone into restoring the creek and banks in this area. To help protect the ecological integrity of this park and ensure it remains healthy for future generations, park users are asked to:

  • Respect the fencing that has been installed to protect willow stake plantings

  • Use designated creek access points to allow dogs entry into the creek

  • Do not allow dogs to move along the creek or onto the banks outside the designated access points

  • Respect designated trails and do not allow dogs off the main trail

  • Please abide by signage and pick up after your pet. Failure to pick up dog waste may result in a $500 fine

  • Moving rocks or altering the stream flow is prohibited by the Alberta Water Act

  • Follow proper etiquette when using the trail system and respect other park users


For more information about habitat restoration within the City of Calgary, please visit www.calgary.ca/habitatrestoration

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