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Update on Integrated Watershed Management Planning
Here is a quick recap of what we have been working on over the past few months related to the IWMP:
Key subject matter expert meetings: Between March and September 2015, we met with a variety of individuals and groups to discuss a rough draft of the IWMP (Phase One) and to refine content. By meeting with the experts – including people from government, industry, academia, and watershed stewardship groups – we were able to refine specific recommendations, better understand “who is doing what”, and build relationships with key implementers.
Public workshops: In mid-September, the RDRWA hosted two workshops in Red Deer and Olds titled “Ripples in our Watershed: From Plan to Action.” These workshops were widely publicized and open to anyone with an interest in the future of water quality. Participants had an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft IWMP, while also learning more about the watershed, water quality, and solutions moving forward. Over 60 people attended in total.
Online survey: The RDRWA released the draft IWMP (Phase One) online on September 23rd, 2015 alongside a web survey. People from across the watershed (and Alberta!) were invited to comment on the goals, targets, and recommendations in the draft plan. In total, 53 survey responses were received over three weeks.
We are extremely thankful to all those who have taken the time to comment on the draft IWMP (Phase One) – whether in a meeting, at a workshop, or online. Over the coming weeks, the RDRWA will be working to process the comments we received and to incorporate key feedback into a final version of the IWMP (Phase One). We will also be working with a graphic designer in the hopes of releasing the final IWMP (Phase One) in early 2016.
Of course, watershed management is about much more than writing a plan. It is about growing a vibrant community of people working for a healthy and resilient watershed. In the coming months, we will need to collectively move from plan to action. This is where the rubber hits the road, and we ask you to please join in.
For inspiration, please stay tuned in the coming weeks as we share an insider’s view from Project Blue Thumb: Action on Water Quality Issues, a “social innovation lab” that brings diverse people together to actively prototype solutions to water quality issues. The Project Blue Thumb lab team met for the third time on October 28th and 29th in Red Deer, and they are already working to actively implement initiatives to improve watershed health. Our next newsletter will feature some exciting updates from the lab team!
To learn more about Project Blue Thumb:
Please contact Josée Méthot, the RDRWA’s Watershed Planning Coordinator, with any questions at 403-340-7379.