Gull Lake group not giving up on wetlands projects

Gull Lake Watershed Society plans to meet again with Lacombe County in bid for support

Gull Lake Watershed Society’s Craig MacLeod remains determined to undertake wetlands projects despite Lacombe County’s recent decision not to get involved.

The society had requested Lacombe County provide equipment and crew for two weeks to help with construction of wetlands on the southeast corner of the lake this year, and again next year.

County council debated the request last week and opted not to make any commitment. Council referred the society to ALUS, a non-profit group that compensates landowners for environmental projects.

MacLeod said ALUS does not provide funding for the construction needed for the wetlands projects the society plans to undertake.

“Certainly the construction part is a necessary part of this project,” he said. “I think we’ll just put our heads together and we plan to go back to the county and look for another solution here.

“The bottom line is we do need construction equipment and work,” he said. “We do see Lacombe County as wanting to show leadership and environmental stewardship.

“We believe there is an opportunity here still. We just need to find something that works for both parties on the equipment side.”

The society is looking at creating about half a dozen settling ponds, as well as the restoration of stream beds, wetlands and natural grasses in a number of different areas. The work is intended to create a natural filtration system to keep algae-causing nutrients out of the lake.

MacLeod said a number of landowners are enthusiastic about supporting projects on their land. The Alberta government, Red Deer Watershed Alliance, Crestomere School and Stantec have also offered support.

Planning work will continue as the society looks at its options.

“One thing I’ve learned in life is when you believe in something you just don’t take “no” for an answer,” he said.

pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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