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Common Goal, Diverse Approach

Posted September 16, 2019 by LSC

Within Alberta there are currently eleven Watershed Stewardship Advisory Councils (WPACs) representing the major river basins. WPACs were established to directly support the Water for Life Strategy and they are important stewards of Alberta’s major watersheds.

Through their efforts, these organizations engage communities, organize information and implement projects in their watersheds – all while continuously collaborating with and supporting local, community-based watershed groups.

Understanding what they do

WPACs may have a common goal – caring for and managing Alberta’s water resources – but when you really take the time to look at it, there are many different approaches currently being taken by WPAC’s across Alberta. This summer, Kelsie Norton, Land Stewardship Centre’s Program Assistant, attended both the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA) AGM and the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) AGM. Both events showcased the work they are doing and unique opportunities to interconnect with WPACs, and highlighted the significant impacts these organizations create in their respective areas.

“While attending these two WPAC annual general meetings, I was able to get a much better understanding of both NSWA’s and BRWA’s amazing teams, and how they are able to accomplish such a diverse array of projects and initiatives that involve many stakeholders and improve watershed health,” shares Kelsie. “From technical and science-based work to education and outreach projects, the amount of work these organizations do is incredible.”

A diversity of projects

For example, over the last year, NSWA completed twelve technical watershed projects, had over 180 people attend education forums focused on riparian health and groundwater, launched an informative new website and received grants for their Riparian Health Action Plan. In addition, they are in the second year of a four-year water quality monitoring program funded by EPCOR. Looking ahead, they are also establishing eight new water quality monitoring stations and updating 10 existing stations to advance the North Saskatchewan river testing areas.

BRWA is also very active. Their current efforts focus on watershed education and citizen science, offering youth programs such as X-Stream Science, Discover your Wetland and Waste in our Watersheds. Recently, BRWA also hosted a World Water Day at which local residents were invited to talk about what biodiversity and stewardship in their watershed means to them. Another triumph for BRWA was the documentary project Finding Common Ground that tells the story of a 2017 bike tour that explored energy opportunities and resilience in the Battle River watershed of Alberta. In October 2019, BRWA will be following this up by offering Finding Common Ground 2.0, a tour and professional development/training opportunity that enables participants to gain first-hand experience in energy production, distribution and efficient use.

Partnerships and sharing are key

In order to strengthen watershed stewardship outcomes, combining efforts and sharing resources is essential for both WPACs. NSWA and BRWA are working hard to bring people together and protect Alberta’s previous water resources. Land Stewardship Centre is a proud supporter of all the great work all WPACs have accomplished over the years.

Learn more about Alberta’s WPACs. Learn how you can get involved and keep up to date with events and current initiatives offered by BRWA and NSWA.

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