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Saturday, 09 September 2017 07:00

TUC’s Angler Diary Program aims to gain better understanding of local watersheds

Written by  Demi Knight
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The new angler diary that is being given to anglers to fill out throughout the summer months. The new angler diary that is being given to anglers to fill out throughout the summer months. Photo courtesy Trout Unlimited Canada Oldman River Chapter

Trout Unlimited Canada Oldman River Chapter has boosted a new program to help gain more information on the watershed.

The new Angler Diary Program started this year by signing up people with these diaries to better collect information on the watershed from anglers’ perspectives.
Josh Markle, Chapter president, says this project was started by reaching out to anglers within the watershed who wanted to be a part of this diary process.
“We didn’t select people for these diaries, but instead said anglers who identify themselves and want this diary were the ones we gave it to.
We are looking for ideas that could combine outreach and engagement with ideas around citizen science.”
The angler diaries are an initiative sent out by members of the Trout Unlimited Canada Oldman River Chapter as a way to better understand and identify key information on the watershed from people who are actively out in it each day.
The initial idea for the diary is simple. Organizers set the plan in action by handing out 30 of them to anglers at the Lethbridge Flyfest. With these diaries the participants were also given a postmarked envelope to return the diary in once it is late fall/winter and a short letter that explained the nature of the program.
Throughout this diary process, organizers hope a steady stream of information will be documented, and then upon their return to the Oldman River Chapter, their content will be analyzed by professionals and volunteer scientists with the University of Lethbridge for qualitative data.
When asked about the desired results for these diaries, Markle says the immediate goals are to collect some informative data on the watershed, from those with daily experience and knowledge.
“Up front what we really want is more awareness and engagement in the watershed,” he adds. “There are things of interest to scientists that aren’t out there everyday and anglers are, so we want to collect qualitative data that will give better information on the watershed.”
Markle adds since their plans for this program extend into the next few years, the long-term hopes of this diary program are subject to change.
“I think our desired outcome from these diaries will evolve over the life of the program.”
Although at the beginning of the initiative only 30 diaries were handed out, word has been spreading of this new program and many anglers have expressed interest in claiming one for themselves.
“We’re probably up to 50 or 60 diaries now. I think 15 of those were given out to kids that we did a little fishing demonstration for and people from Calgary and Edmonton also showed some interest and have some diaries now,” Markle says.
Although there have been strategic moves so far in the distribution of these diaries, Markle says over the course of the program, there will be further efforts made to aid in their distribution.
“We’re going to have diaries in fly shops around southern Alberta and that will be ongoing for the next few years. Anyone who wants one can contact us and we can mail them out also.”
The diaries, which are of stellar quality with waterproof pages, will be collected this winter for workers to assess the enclosed data and draw knowledge from their contents before redistributing for another season.
Markle says this angler diary program is a long-haul process that will be carried out over the next three to five years so enough diverse and informative data can be collected, analyzed and used to provide better opportunities for stewardship, education and engagement within the watersheds.
Anyone who is interested in obtaining a diary can contact the program by email at: tuoldmanchapter@

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