More water quality monitoring urged

More monitoring needs to be done along the Red Deer River to maintain the watershed for years to come, suggests a report. Red Deer River Watershed Alliance released its report on surface water quality on Wednesday.

More monitoring needs to be done along the Red Deer River to maintain the watershed for years to come, suggests a report. Red Deer River Watershed Alliance released its report on surface water quality on Wednesday.

Executive director Gerard Aldridge said additional monitoring stations are planned to go along the river later this fall.

“Those help us to establish more long-term water quality data,” said Aldridge. “More water research is always necessary in any jurisdiction and the Red Deer River basin is the same.”

Recommendations are forwarded onto the project steering committee as well as the alliance, which represents about 400 members including the City of Red Deer. The alliance is a multi-sector, non-profit organization promoting the good use and proper management of water within the Red Deer River watershed.

This is the first of several reports that will be done to create a fully integrated watershed management plan for the Red Deer River basin. The plan will identify problems and issues impacting the natural resources of the watershed and recommends management solutions that will benefit the community, economy and environment.

Surface water quality was discussed at length by the public as well as stakeholders in a consultation process that took place earlier this year, Aldridge said.

The report was done by Anne-Marie Anderson, with scientific and technical input from the alliance’s technical advisory committee.

“We got started in 2010 and we won’t have a final report produced until sometime in 2014,” said Aldridge. “So you really have to break the project down into components.”

The next component will look at riparian areas, wetlands and land use. It’s expected that the report will be brought to the public and stakeholders in November.

“After that, we expect to be addressing water quantity and ground water, with a plan to bring that report to the public later in the spring of 2013,” said Aldridge.

“The more people that we can involve in its input towards its development, I think the better buy-in we’ll have from people on its recommendations and potential implementation,” said Aldridge.

Aldridge estimates that financial and in-kind support for preparing this management plan is in the order of about $200,000 annually. It’s a significant investment, but will help to illuminate good practices that might be undertaken to improve watershed management over time, said Aldridge.

The surface quality report can be found online at www.rdrwa.ca

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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