Ten Year Anniversary Float Down the River

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On Sunday, September 27, we were able to get around 45 people to take in the riverside, from the river; to see what impacts this vital water body, what impacts the river has on its surroundings, to feel the river, and to sense the beautiful flora and fauna. Coupled with this we had some excellent presentations on the past, present and future of the Alliance. It was a beautiful fall day with great food and great company!

RDRWA Anniversary RaftsIt was wonderful to see a number of partners in attendance at this event including Andrew Schoepf with Alberta Environment & Parks and representatives from some of the municipalities that make up our watershed. A Big Thank You to all the volunteers, RiverWatch for partnering with us and supplying the rafts, the City of Red Deer for providing the transportation, Parkland Party & Equipment Rentals for supplying the tables & chairs for this event, Special Event Rentals for providing the canopy tent at a discounted rate, and Little Jon’s for supplying the toilets and hand washing station for the event.

The day started with a brisk morning at the river's edge. The RDRWA celebrated the kick off of its 10th Anniversary as a Watershed Planning and Advisory Council (WPAC) with a float down the river - casting off from the McKenzie Trail Boat Launch and traveling to the Riverbend Boat Launch a few kilometeres away. Forty-five hearty souls with the help of Alberta RiverWatch headed off in rafts floating down the Red Deer River to enjoy the day and learn about the water quality in this stretch of the river.

The morning warmed up as we floated down towards the Riverbend Golf Course. The shores were spectacular all dressed in their fall colours; yellows, oranges, reds and purples hugged the banks.  In the sky, flocks of Canada Geese could be seen in their 'V' formations. Other birds seen along the stretch included Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Mallard Ducks in their new fall plumage, and White Pelican taking advantage of the air currents to leisurely and effortlessly fly above the river in search of a midday snack.

By the time we landed on the island by the Riverbend boat launch to do some water testing, the sky was blue and the sun was shining, making for some breathtaking scenery. Participants took part in testing the water around the island in different locations. Looking at the physical, chemical, and biological health of the water, many became enchanted in learning about the health of our river and the creatures that share it with us. After testing was complete, we all loaded back onto the rafts and headed on to the take out point where warm drink and food awaited along with presentations from Watershed staff and volunteers. This was a great fall day to spend in nature and celebrate RDRWA's 10th Anniversary!

- submitted by Jeff Hanger - Executive Director and Joey Temple - Outreach Coordinator

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