RDRWA 2014 Fall Forum Results

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On Tuesday, October 28, 2014 the Alliance held its Fall Forum in Drumheller at the Canalta Jurassic Hotel & Cretaceous Center with 41 people attending, including Councillors, Municipality staff, industry staff and representatives of different environmental groups. Clearwater Land Care, ReThink Red Deer and the Land Stewardship Centre also brought displays to the event. The Forum was opened by Drumheller Deputy Mayor Tom Zariski who welcomed us all to the town. The first presentation was by Tim Chute of the ATCO Sheerness Power Station. Tim described the process of drawing water from the Red Deer River, how it is used in the Power Station, and how it is passed to the cooling pond where it is monitored by ATCO who sends reports to Alberta ESRD. The presentation was very well received with a number of participants commenting on how they appreciated learning more about the power station.

The second presentation was by Tom Daniels of Sundre Forest Products. Tom is also a Board member with the RDRWA. Tom explained the role that the forestry industry plays in protecting the headwaters, in recovering from natural forest fires, and in preventing Mountain Pine Beetle from expanding into Alberta. The presentation gave the members the opportunity to discuss issues such as clear cutting, linear development, ATV use and mixed forests. Tom also made reference to the “Sundre Forest Products Public Involvement Round Table” (click link for PDF). The presentation and opportunity to ask questions were very well received and one member commented on how it “met and exceeded expectations”.

The third presentation was by Rick Friedl of Alberta ESRD to discuss the role of the Dickson Dam and other key water infrastructure in the watershed. Rick explained that the primary purpose of the Dickson Dam is to regulate the quantity of water downstream and to ensure a consistent flow to areas such as Drumheller. While the Dam wasn’t built expressly to protect communities from floods, recent upgrades have helped to ensure that the Dickson Dam and associated infrastructure can respond to flood situations better in the future. When asked about a proposed Dam to the West of Calgary, Rick explained that this proposed Dam would be a flood mitigation measure. The question of expanding the Dickson Dam to reduce the impact of flooding in the future was asked, but Rick stated this wasn’t the key purpose of the Dam and hence this would be a very large and costly undertaking. Rick also tackled questions of sediment testing in Glennifer Lake. Although a number of members had seen this presentation before, feedback from the event indicates that people appreciated the attention given to floods and drought in the watershed.

Josée Methot , the RDRWA’s Watershed Planning Coordinator, also gave an update on progress toward the development of an Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the watershed. A number of members mentioned how they are looking forward to seeing and participating in the roll-out of the first phase of the IWMP on water quality.

Overall it was a very successful event with good opportunities to learn, to network, and to take new ideas and information back to municipalities and organizations across the watershed. We thank all those who presented and all who attended for their ongoing support of the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance. A big thank you also goes out to my staff for helping with the organization of the event.

Thanks,

Jeff Hanger
Executive Director
RDRWA

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