Wednesday, 18 July 2012 07:48

Oldman Watershed Council sets course for coming months

Written by  Susan Quinlan
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This shot was taken 20 kilometres from the headwaters. The Oldman Watershed Council is currently developing an action plan to protect and manage the integrity of the headwaters and source water. This shot was taken 20 kilometres from the headwaters. The Oldman Watershed Council is currently developing an action plan to protect and manage the integrity of the headwaters and source water. Photo courtesy Rochelle Coffey

The Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) recently held its annual general meeting, where members settled on their next priority, as they continue to manage the Oldman watershed.


“We’ve set eight goals to be achieved through integrated watershed management planning,” said OWC Executive Director, Shannon Frank.
The council will now focus on the third of those goals — protecting and managing the integrity of the headwaters and source water.
 “We’ll be developing an action plan to meet that goal, to be finished by March.”
Frank explained the accomplishment of that goal will be a collaborative process among industry, government and recreational users.
“We’ll ask them what they’re going to do to support the plan.
“We’ll be undertaking a lot of public education, workshops, dialogue and forums to educate as well as get feedback and people’s opinions.”
Frank said private meetings as well will be held with individual recreational groups to build relationships, encouraging them to participate and take action to help reach the overall goal.
The public as well will be invited to provide input through various mediums including through the Oldman Watershed Council website, and by attending meetings advertised and held in towns throughout the region.
Frank said the OWC has a really good relationship with Water Matters who have partnered with the council to conduct the workshops.
“We’ll have an online forum and dialogue to make sure people understand what and why we’re doing this action plan. We’ll learn together, gather feedback, and tell folks what we’re hearing and what we came up with. It’ll build on these meetings, what people told us, what action needs to be taken.”
Frank said the OWC will take the lead with some actions, making recommendations to government as to what they need to endorse and include in the broader Land-use Framework and South Saskatchewan Regional Plans.
“We’ve hired a planning manager to help out.”
That individual will begin work in mid-July and will host the meetings.
“People will get to know her,” added Frank.
The annual general meeting, Frank said went well with about 60 in attendance and $2,200 raised to put toward stewardship activities in the headwaters.
“It’s always nice to kick back with people you work with in an informal setting.”
Among the presenters at the annual general meeting were Lorne Fitch, fisheries biologist and founder of Cows and Fish. Fitch lectured on Thoughts from the Heart, about the health of the headwaters and the need to protect them for practical reasons, as well as for their spiritual connection, said Frank.
MLA Brigitte Pastoor (Lethbridge-East) as well spoke on behalf of the provincial government, acknowledging the good work of the OWC and other watershed councils in the region, and promising government’s continued support to work with the OWC on preservation and management of the headwaters.

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