Before the area along the Highwood River was settled in 1870, the Blackfoot Nation referred to it as “Ispitzee”, which means the “place of high trees along running water”. It is after this historical name we named the Spitzee Riparian Stewardship Society (SRSS).
The low lying area around the river was, and still is, a natural floodway. The floodway extends largely to the south of the river. Both the Highwood River and Baker Creek (a tributary connected to the Highwood River to the south) have multiple dikes along the shoreline to prevent flooding. However, water has periodically topped these barriers while seasonal flooding occurs.
In 2013, the Highwood River overflowed its banks and subsequently flooded several properties, mainly on the south side of the river. As many homes and other structures were damaged in the floodway, the Government of Alberta bought out several properties and placed Conservation Easements on them through the Foothills Land Trust.
We, the Spitzee Riparian Stewardship Society, were started by the Foothills Land Trust in 2017, and still operate under their direction. The Board of the Society is made up entirely of passionate volunteers, and our job is to ensure these properties are restored and maintained for all generations to come.
We invite you to join the conversation and find out how you have a part to play in protecting the Spitzee floodway.