A handshake agreement started Cows and Fish in 1992 - a recognition that livestock producers needed a voluntary, proactive approach to manage riparian issues. Although Cows and Fish earned its name for work in riparian areas influenced by grazing, we work across the landscape, being about more than cattle grazing and fish and all about landscape health. Think of Cows and Fish in terms of partnerships, communities, stewardship, biodiversity, and sustainability, for urban and rural areas. Our work increases awareness about riparian areas and watersheds, and how management can enhance health and productivity, benefitting landowners, communities and others who use and value these areas.
The Cows and Fish Process is based on five elements: awareness, team building, tool building, community-based action, and monitoring and evaluation. This process fosters stewardship, builds ecological literacy and management skills, and promotes ownership of management actions to those who own, manage or use the land.
We deliver extension events, develop tools (e.g. videos and guides), evaluate riparian health and offer management advice. Cows and Fish relies on the support of many groups and individuals, particularly our members: Alberta Beef Producers, Trout Unlimited Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Alberta Environment and Parks and Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.