RDRWA - InfoSheet #3


The third in a series of Infosheets on the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance’s Integrated Watershed Management Planning process is now available. All of the Infosheets are available on the Alliance’s website here: www.rdrwa.ca/node/53

The Red Deer River Watershed Alliance is currently working to develop an Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) with people from across the Red Deer River Watershed. The plan will identify problems and issues impacting the natural resources of the watershed and recommend management solutions that will benefit the community, the economy, and the environment. The plan is a cooperative effort that reflects the voices of many people passionate about our water and our future.

A watershed is a complex place and there is a lot going on. There are natural processes like flooding, erosion, droughts, and changing weather and climate. There are industrial activities, farming, new housing developments, municipal water withdrawals, and sewage treatment outfalls. There are different governments overseeing different issues (e.g., land use, water quality, species at risk), and a multitude of watershed stewardship and education groups helping people understand the value of our watershed. If we want to understand all the issues and all the players, we need to look at the full scope of these activities and envision a way forward. In other words, the right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing. With all of these things going on, an Integrated Watershed Management Plan will take us one big step closer to the future we hope for. By carefully managing and protecting the Red Deer River watershed we will ensure that it is healthy, dynamic, and sustainable for future generations.

How Does a Plan Come to Life?

The process to develop an IWMP began in 2010 and together we have come a long way. Pausing to look at some numbers, the IWMP process to date has included approximately 760 participants, 25 workshops, four background technical reports (BTRs), and countless emails, phone calls, and meetings. A Steering Committee, a Technical Advisory Committee, and several consulting groups have guided the process forward. Please consult Infosheets #1 and #2 for more information.

2015 is set to be the year where we put pen to paper and write a draft of the IWMP. Work is currently underway on the first phase of the IWMP, which focuses on surface and groundwater quality. Once complete, the plan will include recommendations for how to maintain or improve surface and groundwater quality in the Red Deer River watershed, based on information from previous engagement sessions and the background technical reports. A draft is expected in Spring-Summer 2015. Please stay tuned for opportunities to get involved in reviewing and implementing the plan (Phase One) to be announced later this year.

BTR #1 - Surface Water Quality (2012)
BTR #2 - Wetlands, Riparian Areas, Land Use (2012)
BTR #3 - Water Quantity & Groundwater (2013)
BTR #4 - Terrestrial and Aquatic Biodiversity (2014)

A Living Document

The IWMP is a living document that will grow and evolve, particularly as successive phases of the IWMP are completed. The RDRWA will also report back to the community on progress toward implementation annually. Successive phases in the IWMP process will address other issues relating to key watershed functions and indicators (e.g., land use, riparian areas, wetlands). The next phase is expected to commence in late 2015.

A Living Process

The RDRWA is pleased to announce a new initiative called Project Blue Thumb: Action on Water Quality Issues. Project Blue Thumb is a social lab led by the RDRWA with support from the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and the RBC Foundation. "Social labs" are a highly collaborative approach for developing solutions to complex, shared challenges. Through Project Blue Thumb, a group of invited participants from a variety of backgrounds will work together to tackle the issue of surface and groundwater quality in the Red Deer River Watershed. This work will complement and enhance the work to develop the IWMP (Phase One).

About the RDRWA

The Red Deer River Watershed Alliance is a multi-sector, non-profit organization that promotes the good use and proper management of water in the Red Deer River watershed. The Alliance was created in September 2005 and is one of 11 Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils that partner to deliver Alberta’s Water For Life Strategy. The RDRWA does not have legislative or regulatory authority around watersheds.Instead, the Alliance works to educate the community on the value and importance of watersheds, coordinate watershed planning processes, facilitate collaborative relationships among stakeholders, and advise the provincial government on watershed planning.

How can I get involved?

Get on the mailing list. Give us a call. Bookmark our website. Become a friend on facebook. And come to future workshops to get involved in IWMP development and implementation.

www.rdrwa.ca | iwmp@rdrwa.ca | 403-340-7379


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