The Beaver River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) is the designated Watershed Planning and Advisory Council (WPAC) for the Beaver River basin in Alberta. The BRWA works to improve the health of the environment through a variety of ways – by gathering information on the watershed, working with stakeholders to improve it, and reach out the community to foster environmental literacy. The BRWA has maintained close ties with LARA for several years, and is proud to have partnered with them on many different occasions.
The BRWA was pleased to officially release their landmark State of the Watershed Report in the spring of 2014. This report was the culmination of four years’ worth of efforts from the BRWA and its partners. The State of the Watershed (SoW) provides a detailed look at the conditions of the Beaver River basin across a wide array of criteria. By using selected indicators (metrics which measure a given property), it allows for a proper assessment of the overall health of the watershed.
February was a busy month in at the BRWA! As part of the Watershed Management Plan (WMP) process, five stakeholder workshops were held over the course of the month, with each workshop having a specific sector focus. These included sessions for Industry, Agriculture, Non-Government Organizations, Municipal Government, and Provincial Government. The purpose of the workshops was to discuss new and existing issues in the watershed in order to determine the highest priorities for stakeholders as a whole. The BRWA also had the secondary opportunity to learn more about the groups represented at each workshop and learn how to work together in the future. There was plenty of debate and discussion about the highest priority issues for each sector – considering the wide range of land use and personal connections across the basin, this was to be expected! Some issues, however, stood out as relatively important priorities for all participant groups (riparian area degradation, groundwater quality, lake health). The BRWA will soon be moving forward on developing goals and recommendations based on this feedback.
Throughout 2014, the BRWA was active delivering environmental education to the community. Staff travelled from across the watershed to deliver free classroom programs to over 800 students. The BRWA also received 110 entries from students across the watershed for our 2015 Calendar Contest. BRWA staff also spoke to nearly 600 people this summer regarding topics such as water quality, pollution, and animal adaptations. The BRWA partnered with Alberta Parks for Parks Day at Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park, as well as for a campground presentation at Cold Lake Provincial Park. These events featured interactive displays on animals of the boreal forest, non-point source pollution, and information on the prevention of invasive species. Campers had the opportunity to feel animal pelts and skulls, take part in a hands-on watershed model, and learn how to prevent the spread of quagga and zebra mussels.