Help with environmental farm plans and grant info

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Farmers in the area can get help writing an agricultural farm plan from both the M.D. of Lesser Slave River ag department and Lesser Slave Watershed Council.

Mid-January, the M.D. of Lesser Slave River and two local watershed councils held a ‘lunch and learn’ event for agricultural producers in Flatbush.

Representatives from both watershed councils were at the workshop. Kendra Kozdroski, ag fieldman also presented.

One of the things they talked about was environmental farm plans, which are necessary for farmers to get many grants.

The LWCS helps people fill these out to “try to help remove administrative barriers,” says Kate Lovsin, LSWC watershed coordinator.

The watershed councils also talked about a grant that isn’t farm-specific. Both watershed councils have Watershed Resiliency Project grants.

With these, landowners can get a grant to help pay for projects which protect the watersheds.

Examples on the LWSC’s website include riparian (the land next to waterbodies) and wetland (swamps, fens, muskeg, etc.) enhancements. Wetland enhancements can include creation, enhancement, and restoration, stream crossings, onsite water retention efforts, and creation or increase of absorption capabilities. These types are available to all landowners from acreage owners to municipalities to farmers.

Two others are specific to agriculture – livestock watering systems and riparian fencing.

In 2023, LSWC funded several projects, says Lovsin. All of these are on the west side of the lake.

The LSWC office is in High Prairie, so it is easier for people to stop by and ask questions. One of the focuses of the Flatbush event was to be more visible on the Slave Lake side of the lake.

“We had about 17 folks that showed up plus our staff,” says Lovsin, which was a good turnout.

Slave Lake and the western side of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River fall within the Lesser Slave Watershed Council. East of the Athabasca River (Smith, Hondo, Chisholm, and Flatbush) are within the Athabasca Watershed Council’s area.

On February 17, LSWC is holding a free Kids Can Catch fishing event in Joussard. See details in the February 14th Leader.

In March, the LSWC and AWC will be hosting a local drought workshop. They are also taking part in a larger one in Grande Prairie soon, which is focused on municipal drought planning.

“It’s not restricted to municipalities,” says Lovsin, “but the whole point is municipal drought planning.”

The LSWC’s number is 780-523-9800. The AWC’s is 780-213-0343.

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