Thursday, 29 June 2017 08:00

Oldman Watershed Council hosts AGM to celebrate work done

Written by  Demi Knight
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Awards are given to volunteers and new partners at the Oldman Watershed Council AGM. Awards are given to volunteers and new partners at the Oldman Watershed Council AGM. Photo by Demi Knight

The Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) took some time to go over the previous year and hopes for the future with members of the public in June at the annual general meeting. 

On June 15 members of the public were invited to join the Oldman Watershed Council while they took some time to rejoice over their previous year’s accomplishments.
Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips was in attendance at the meeting. She said she was thrilled with the turnout and the important work the OWC does each year and vowed to continue to help with such matters to the best of her ability.
“It’s fantastic to see enthusiasm from the public and this kind of turnout for these incredibly important councils,” she said.
“My commitment to these councils is to ensure  these organizations flourish. We want to ensure that water infrastructures are resilient to challenges that we will face in the future as water becomes a challenge due to issues like climate change.”
With the Minister’s full support of their work, during this annual general meeting an overview of what the council has achieved over the last year was presented to the audience.
Volunteers, partners and interested onlookers watched the afternoon presentations with a sense of hope for what has been achieved by the Oldman Watershed Council and even better what they are hoping to achieve in the future.
The meeting began at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge, with the introduction of the board of directors for the OWC. Financial statements for the past year were presented and the new proposed bylaw amendment by the governance committee was detailed, all while highlighting the movements that were made possible thanks to volunteers and donations from many people in attendance.
Anna Garleff, communications specialist and a speaker throughout the meeting, was quick to highlight the importance of volunteers and members of the OWC on various occasions.
“What we do with the council and with your help is moving from talk to action. We are dependant on water, oil and gas, fish and forestry — it’s the root of our economy,” she said. “We have over 40 participants in this council showing up and showing the world that southern Alberta cares about the environment and our watersheds.”
With the help of these participants, OWC officials were able to set and continue several plans into motion throughout the past year, all of which were highlighted during this meeting.
The first of these was the Headwaters Action Plan. Although this plan was first written and set into motion in 2014, the second priority action of this plan was just pushed forward in 2016 and is being continued into this year.
The second part of this plan is to complete a fine scale cumulative effects assessment of fish populations and habitat streams. The Alberta Conservation Association has been studying 18 watersheds in the headwaters of Oldman to document and collect data. 
Another project that was brought to light was the Engaging Recreationists project. This project was piloted in 2015 and has continued its work throughout the last few years to reduce threats to headwaters and help educate, engage and build strong partnerships with other organizations.
The meeting then moved on to the Alberta Water Charter Project Showcase, where new signatories talked about their hopeful involvements and signed the official 2017 charter (see the story on this page).
Doug Kaupp, president of the Oldman Watershed Council, says the OWC is grateful to everyone who attended the meeting and vowed to work with the council to help protect drinking water in the past and upcoming years.
“We are very fortunate to have so many partners, they make it possible for our work to continue by contributing their time, money or both to the Oldman Watershed Council.”

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