Conservation/Community Workshop: Nov 27, 2012

Conservation / Community
Stakeholder Workshop Meeting Notes
Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 10 am – 3 pm
iHotel - 6500, 67th St, Red Deer, AB

Welcome & Introductions

RDRWA introduction - Dug Major (RDRWA Board of Directors)

Background on watershed planning process - Presentation by Alan Dolan, Project Manager

  1. Surface Water Quality - published July 2012
  2. Land Use, Riparian Areas, and Wetlands - published February 2013
  3. Water Quantity and Ground Water - to be published August 2013
  4. Terrestrial and Aquatic Biodiversity - to be published December 2013

Draft IWMP – March 2014

Four Background Technical Reports are being produced; one for each category above as appendices to the Integrated Watershed Management Plan. The reports are being authored by professional experts in each field and draw on background technical information to help determine final targets for the IWMP. The reports make recommendations on actions, present socio-economic analysis, and inform the development of an implementation framework for best management practices in the Red Deer River Watershed.

Government, industry, agriculture, and conservation groups are the implementers of the IWMP and implementation will be ongoing with the direction of multi-stakeholder teams with scientific and technical support.

Workshop objectives

  • To seek input and have discussions on the wetlands, riparian areas and land use Background Technical Report for the Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP)
  • To find out what stakeholders are doing in the areas of wetlands, riparian areas & land use
  • To build collaborative relationships with stakeholders so they will assist in the implementation of the IWMP to ensure everyone has an opportunity to be heard
  • To document the proceedings
  • To evaluate the process so that subsequent meetings can better meet participants’ needs

Link to Intro presentation

Wetlands, Riparian Areas and Land Use (George Roman - O2 Planning + Design)

George Roman presented on the “Draft Background Technical Report on Riparian Areas, Wetlands, and Land Use” produced by O2 Planning + Design. The Executive Summary and the full report can be downloaded from the RDRWA website.

Link to O2 Presentation

Questions and discussion on presentation

  • Lacombe County - intellectual data is plentiful and referenced regularly; need RDRWA to provide current baseline information in the form of executive summaries, report briefs, etc.
  • Need for distilled, usable guidelines for use by county staff to work with landowners and for council members to use with public as well.
  • Re: Draft Management Goals & Outcomes for Wetlands - how is the “feasible and beneficial” criteria determined – through the implementation process? Yes.
    • Re: “no net-loss” of wetlands – does that include all classification of wetlands. Yes.
    • Suggestion: avoid using the terms “feasible and beneficial” unless they are defined somewhere in the report
    • Comment on tone of report - re: use of the term “threats” with regard to agriculture sharing the cost of land development (e.g., drainage of sloughs for agricultural uses) 98% of the population is telling the remaining 2% how to farm – to participate there needs to be investment or resources brought forward to share the cost of sustainable agriculture practices, not leaving up to the farmers to pay the bill. This is a huge political problem.
    • On the other hand, rights of landowners are not paramount and Crown owns most of the wetlands, not the landowners
  • Where can I get the Lotic DEM-derived riparian areas referred to in the report? Answer: Accessible via Alberta Geodiscover
  • Riparian area is different than a riparian setback (particular to slopes)
  • Where are the report numbers coming from? (e.g., 3600 vs. 4800 farms with buffered strips along waterways) Answer: AgCanada numbers
  • Suggested representing numbers in percentage increase
  • Lots of targets for municipalities; why no targets for industry around wetlands and riparian? Why just referring to chemical plant at Joffre and not other chemical plants? Answer: It is one of the largest in the world.
  • Gravel pit regulations are not really regulations
  • Re: the presence of ephemeral streams – where does that fit into the reporting? Answer: Grass buffers, rotational cultivating
  • Oil and gas, forestry, (between Sundre & Glennifer Lake – there are 88 pipeline crossings, gravel extraction)
  • In practice, manure (phosphorus) loading gets much higher than the presented report numbers indicate (in the southeast); due to lack of available farmland, farmers over-apply
  • Regulations may be in place but are not enforced; watch the presentation / wording
  • Need to include the importance of alluvial aquifers to the entire watershed
  • “Reclaimed” is not the same as “restored” (e.g., gravel pits reclaimed back to constructed wetland)
  • How much protection actually comes with parks?
  • Land use indicators table – change “form” to “from”
  • Need more land use targets for industry

Lunch

Questions and discussion on presentation (cont’d)

  • Check report chart referrals – Joey Temple will forward the instances
  • Draft management goals – how to measure “unacceptable impacts”?, oil & gas sector and gravel extraction need to have specified indicators and targets as other industry sectors do (e.g., linear density vs. underground)
  • Leak detection was missed in the report (re: oil & gas) – add as a recommended BMP
  • Re: municipal targets – level of hard surfacing in a subdivision; should have a limit on the amount of hard surfacing they can have on the lot (addressed in urban settings as “parcel coverage”, not addressed in rural areas / counties but impervious surfaces in rural developments could be an important local problem) - e.g., small-scale stormwater management – functional landscaping
  • Density needs to be increased in both residential and commercial settings
  • Lacombe area development – a “floating parking lot built on a wetland area” (120ft water table) - remedy is only found post-mortem through the courts once the municipality is confronted about it via public complaint
  • Need more wording in the report re: more attention to nutrient loading in sensitive areas - this is regulated by the Agricultural Operations Protection Act (AOPA)
  • The earlier we can begin talk of implementation the better (e.g., Bow River Basin Council planning)
  • Municipalities will be leading implementation of the IWMP, relationships with them need to be developed (e.g., Central Alberta Inter-municipal Mayors Meeting – meets quarterly, opportunity to present)
  • Sewage treatment plant in Red Deer will soon be receiving wastewater from Lacombe and Ponoka
  • Re: imperviousness targets – each municipality should set its own
  • Water quality guidelines – case histories would be useful to help guide stakeholder understanding of how the IWMP can progress / be implemented
  • Specificity needs to be maximized re: goals, targets and outcomes
  • A target that 100% of municipalities will have a “___” policy is meaningless / unrealistic if there isn't appropriate administering and enforcement of the policy
  • Municipalities are looking / asking for definitive guidelines to follow
  • Population growth – land use changes (source / receptor / pathway)
  • Need to implement low impact development (LID) measures... sometimes can reduce footprint but still increase density (by going up!)
  • Are there set-backs for manure spreading? Yes but people can ask to have the “rule” waived. Some people just don’t ask
  • Provincial government needs to release its wetlands policy

What are you or your organization doing in this area?

  • Red Deer River Naturalists – monitoring river system and contributing to area structure plans (erosion, invasive species, etc.)
  • Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society – cumulative effects study – a micro version of the IWMP . . . developing an action plan
  • Rocky View County – Ag Services dep't – keeping up to date on provincial incentive programs (e.g., Growing Forward, Environmental Farm Plan), created an Agri-Environmental incentive grant program (e.g., capping unused or abandoned water wells, using LEDs while transporting on roadways), helped develop the Bow River Basin Council watershed management plan and the Nose Creek sub-watershed plan, Jumping Pound sub-watershed plan (no net-loss of wetlands), riparian conservation policy, developing procedures to implement (riparian, variable rate setbacks), trying to cooperate with the Urban Development lobby, good uptake on Best Mgmt Practices (BMPs) with farmers
  • Landcrafter Technologies - working with municipalities to set up stormwater management systems, constructed wetlands and other environment friendly developments
  • Wheatland County – Ag dept – water protection initiative (funding program) available to producers, education program and provide assistance with Growing Forward and Environmental Farm Plan, phosphorus mgmt committee, water quality monitoring and watershed surveys, riparian health inventory for Rosebud River, upgrades to water treatment facilities
  • Cows & Fish – riparian health inventory and assessment, best management practices for producers (working one-on-one with them), education extension and data collection arms, Medicine River, Rosebud, Adams Lake
  • Special Areas Board – 20-year policy requiring industrial and oil and gas development setback a minimum of 30m from any water body and no seismic drilling allowed, in recognition of species at risk in special areas – reduction of cultivated land in sensitive areas, developing a business case for the acquisition of surplus Ducks Unlimited land to oversee its protection and long-term health
  • Sylvan Lake Management Committee (8 municipalities) – partnered with AESRD to do a cumulative effects management study (CEMS), also have non-profit orgs and agencies, three main goals: water quality, diverse recreation, and collaborative planning,
  • Summer Villages (Norglenwold) - growth strategy, revised municipal development plan, updated land-use bylaws
  • RDRWA Outreach – education and stewardship, working with schools – project-based learning,
  • Dickson Dam – erosion control, setbacks, tree planting, wildlife corridors, wetland creation for wildlife, water management operations – backflood areas with Ducks Unlimited near Alix, Buffalo Lake pumphouse
  • Lacombe County – plans for residential and commercial along Highway 2, service agreements with City of Lacombe and Town of Blackfalds, commercial and residential development, environmental plan development, represent three lake – Buffalo / Gull / Sylvan
  • Gull Lake Water Quality Mgmt Society – monitoring water quality with Alberta Lake Management Society, provide input in municipal development plans
  • Concerned Citizen – contributing to development and implementation of efficient land use practices

Next steps

Visit RDRWA website to stay up to date on IWMP planning and subscribe to the IWMP Newsletter.

Meeting adjourned at 2:30pm

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