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Watershed council is pleased with progress

The Oldman Watershed Council is making progress.
Chairman Terry Kerkhoff said each year people begin to conserve water and take other steps to protect the watershed.
“Each year we educate people and provide them with the tools they need to make positive changes,” Kerkhoff noted. “This translates into clean water supplies and healthy, functioning natural ecosystems that provide us with the services and resources we depend on for a strong economy.”
Kerkhoff wrote Fort Macleod council to ask that the municipality contribute $921.60, or 30 cents per resident, to the watershed council’s finances for its 2012-’13 fiscal year.
The Oldman Watershed Council must raise $130,000 to keep its programs running.
“Your investment will provide the essential on-the-ground education and tools that people need to be good stewards of our watershed,” Kerkhoff added.
The watershed council depends on funding from individuals, municipalities and other partners.
The Oldman Watershed Council is also recruiting members.
“As the only organization in southwestern Alberta focused on water issues we know we play a vital role,” Kerkhoff said.
Kerkhoff pointed to some of the watershed council’s achievements and ongoing work:

  1. The watershed council released a long-term management plan with eight goals to address major issues in the watershed.
  2. The watershed council is working on a ground water study of Willow Creek that will be completed in February.
  3. The council’s urban team held a workshop to assist municipalities with writing and implementing a water conservation, efficiency and productivity plan.
  4. Twelve watershed legacy program projects were completed in the past year that removed 1,200 cows from riparian areas and streams, removed 500 bags of weeds and engaged 500 people in watershed stewardship.
  5. A tour of prairie urban gardens attracted 145 people, of which 92 per cent said they would use what they learned in their own gardens to reduce use of water, pesticides and fertilizers.
  6. The council produced the booklet “50 Best Plants for Prairie Urban Gardens in Southern Alberta,” which lists drought-resistant plants.
  7. Twenty-seven volunteers collected 15 bags of garbage, two bicycles, a shopping cart, six rafts, a chainsaw, two tires and a spear gun from the Oldman River during the Shoreline Cleanup event.
  8. The council launched a research and monitoring project directory listing 58 projects in the watershed.
  9. The council organized a watershed science tour of Elk Creek Dairy, Broxburn Vegetables, the Lethbridge waste water treatment plant, McCain’s Foods and a feedlot.

Council referred the watershed council’s request for funding to 2012 budget discussions.
For more about the Oldman Watershed Council visit www.oldmanbasin.org or call 403-382-4239.

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