Red Arrow
Tuesday May 15th, 2012  
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Quote of the Week
"Kathy was a big part of the golf tournament. She impacted a lot of people."
- Joan Koinberg  
Alberta Health Services   


John Kinnear photo
Norine Ambrose of Cows and Fish and Debbie MacGarva Watershed Assistant Coordinator conduct open discussion.
This is the moniker that was put forward by the Crowsnest Conservation Society at a special watershed meeting held Monday, May 7th at the Blairmore Public Library. Crowsnest Conservation has been contemplating for some time probing the community to gauge interest in forming a subcommittee of community stakeholders that have interests in and are concerned about the state of the Crowsnest River watershed.
Discussions on this important issue were front and center at recent Alberta provincial election candidate forums and the Oldman River Watershed Council has directed a lot of its recent efforts towards developing an integrated watershed management plan.
Karen Rendall of Crowsnest Conservation facilitated the gathering of interested parties and brought in two guest speakers to educate stakeholders on watershed issues.  One of the society’s main goals for the next few years is to support measures to improve the health of the local watershed and riparian areas and the society has been busy with several important related programs
 Rendall outlined that this will be the second year that CCS has coordinated a Crowsnest River maintenance and restoration program on riparian areas with Kim Lutz, Agricultural Fieldman for the Municipality who acted as Project Manager. Funding from the Alberta Conservation  Association (ACA) allowed them to hire two students last year to do riparian work which included a fall planting of 150 native trees/shrubs , custom native reclamation grass seed and four different weed pulls. Funding has come through for this work to continue this year with additional support from the Land Stewardship Center.
The society also worked with the ACA to conduct an amphibian survey last year that specifically targeted boreal toads at 45 transect sites throughout the Crowsnest and Castle areas. This study will also carry on this year. Thirdly CCS has applied for funding to have Streamkeepers from the Living Lakes Network Canada conduct a two day program that will train and certify twelve volunteers in such areas as stream habitat, water quality and stream invertebrate surveys and streamside planting.

Lastly she indicated that they will be participating in the Alberta Water Quality Awareness program designed to give a province-wide snapshot of water quality. CCS will be using test kits to check water temperature, dissolved oxygen, ph and turbidity on the river.
The forum’s first guest speaker was Norine Ambrose, Executive Director of Cows and Fish, a Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society. This group, formed in 1992, strives to foster a better understanding of how improvements in grazing and other management of riparian areas can enhance landscape health and productivity, for the benefit of landowners, agricultural producers, communities and others who use and value riparian areas. Participants got a real up close look at riparian issues and how they can be mitigated.
The second speaker was Shannon Frank, executive director of the Oldman River Watershed Council, who updated attendees on the council’s mandate and recent focuses. Frank indicated there are over twenty active watershed groups in the west that they work with to protect and restore watersheds and that they are looking to partner with the Crowsnest Conservation subcommittee.
The meeting then broke into sub-groups to discuss specific issues facing the Crowsnest River watershed and held an open discussion about addressing some of the issues. The attendees contained a good cross section of stakeholders with specific interests and qualifications. An invitation was extended to anyone who is interested in joining the group for its first structuring meeting which will be held on May 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm in the Blairmore Library. The invitation was also extended to the community as CCS is looking for volunteers for their boreal toad study, for the Streamkeepers’ training program and for anyone interested in joining the new watershed group.  Contact information can be found on their website (http://www. or by contacting society members themselves. 
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