Watershed alliance workshop seeks input on surface water quality

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held the final of four workshops designed to seek input on their surface water quality component of the Intergrated Watershed Management Plan.

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held the final of four workshops designed to seek input on their surface water quality component of the Intergrated Watershed Management Plan.

Over 30 people attended the meeting Wednesday at Quality Inn North Hill. The meeting helped to build collaborative relationships with stakeholders so they will assist in the implementation of the recommended actions of the IWMP.

Executive director of RDRWA Gerard Aldridge said it is all part of a process to involve stakeholders in future planning regarding surface water quality and other components of the IWMP.

RDRWA also held meetings Feb. 13, 14, and 21. Each meeting was focused towards a different group but all were for the same thing, to help the development of the IWMP.

“A very dedicated group was here today with a lot of great insights provided to us,” said Aldridge. “We were heartened by the attendance but also the degree of dedication to the planning process. The RDRWA is only leading in the development process of this plan. It is really these stakeholders that are going to make the plan come to be.”

This isn’t the only component of the IWMA that RDRWA is taking to the stakeholders. After gathering the feedback on the water quality component they will then hold another series of meetings this October about land use, riparian areas and wetlands. They will then meet about water quantity and ground water in April 2013, and terrestial and aquatic biodiversity in November 2013.

By doing this in parts they hope to take an organized approach to the development of the plan during the early stages and connect the links so the IWMP can be competed by March 2014.

Aldridge added people that didn’t get a chance to make the surface water quality stakeholder meetings still have a chance to comment by visiting their website. They have the information from the meetings available to view then people are invited to fill out an online response form.

“Some of the things we heard at the meetings throughout February was whether we were looking at the right water quality components and ‘how are my issues reflected’ in the IWMP,” said Aldridge.

Aldridge added they had a diverse group attend the meetings and their focus is to try and get the message across to all levels. At the meeting Wednesday there were representatives from the provincial government, other watershed groups, conservation groups, naturalists and the general public. Aldridge said he sees further questions arising from the meetings and they are hoping to adress those over the next month.

Aldridge felt the meetings so far were predominantly positive but other concerns that have come forward are regarding the quickness of the process. The original timeline for the plan was a lot shorter in duration but it was realized that with all the facets involved the RDRWA would have to take a little more time to develop the IWMP.

“I think we seen a lot of the problems, issues and what the public felt were solutions have been highlighted,” said Aldridge. “It is a matter of now setting some priority to some gaps in information that we would require to make a report more complete.”

Aldridge said anybody is welcome to find more information on the watershed alliance’s IWMP or the stakeholder meetings which is available on the RDRWA website at www.rdrwa.ca

cpapke@bprda.wpengine.com