Friday, March 24, 2017

Oldman Watershed Council kicks off Southern Alberta Water Charter 2017 commitments

Oldman Watershed Council - Community organizations and individuals from all walks of life will celebrate their pledge to preserving southern Alberta’s watershed at noon on Friday, April 7, 2017 in Lethbridge City Hall’s main foyer.  The event will highlight the Oldman Watershed Council’s (OWC) new Water Charter, a voluntary pact encouraging individuals and organizations in the region to plan and perform their own watershed protection initiatives. Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman, Lethbridge MLA Maria Fitzpatrick, University of Lethbridge President Mike Mahon and Taber MD Reeve Brian Brewin will attend the event to celebrate their organizations’ planned activities.

Thus far, proposed activities for the Charter have ranged from installing riparian fencing, to planting willow stakes to prevent erosion, to screening the OWC’s educational videos in schools. For their part, University of Lethbridge student Antoine Gendron and five of his colleagues will collect garbage, conduct soil and water tests, document plants and take note of vandalism along the Oldman River near Taber.

“We’ve entitled our project, ‘Adopt a River,” says the 20-year-old General Science/Pre-Education student. He and his team plan to work for eight hours on their designated section of the river on April 8, “doing what we can to clean it up and help in whatever way possible.

“According to the OWC, the Oldman Watershed is under significant threat, with fresh water content decreasing and downstream pollution increasing. We’re hoping our project will help bring awareness of local watershed issues to people in the region so they might become more careful in their use of water at home, at work and in their recreational activities.”

To date, the Southern Alberta Water Charter has received a heartwarming amount of attention from a wide variety of citizens, notes OWC Communications Specialist Anna Garleff. “Over two dozen businesses, towns and schools have signed our Charter and pledged to carry out meaningful restoration or educational activities in the watershed. This spring and summer, like Antoine and his fellow students, they’ll be carrying out those initiatives.”

Activities will commence May long weekend, continue throughout the summer and wrap up September long weekend. “OWC looks forward to showcasing everyone’s watershed initiatives through photos, blogs and social media postings,” says Garleff. “Anyone can take part – we’ll help you frame your ideas and come up with an action that’s fun and rewarding for you and your team.”

Garleff says the OWC is especially heartened by the enthusiasm that people have for showcasing the good work they’re doing. “We’re very proud of southern Albertans and that watershed health is a shared value of those who live, work and play here. We look forward to welcoming both signatories and the public to the ceremony on April 7.”

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