Following successful stakeholder workshops in High Prairie and Slave Lake in November, the Lesser Slave Watershed Council is beginning development of its Integrated Watershed Management Plan.
The council is engaging with consultants with expertise in watershed planning and community consultation to develop the draft plan and then seek input from the community.
“The next few months will involve a lot of technical work,” says Meghan Payne, executive director of the watershed council. “In the fall of 2016, we will host a series of workshops at several locations in the watershed to present the draft plan and seek input from stakeholders.”
Payne noted there will be an online response form for those unable to attend the workshops. The council expects to complete the plan in the spring of 2017.
“At the stakeholder workshops last November,” says Payne, “participants discussed the main issues in the watershed, such as increased algae in the lakes, riverbank erosion and increased sedimentation, unauthorized stream crossing, increased water withdrawal, and shoreline development. They discussed what actions should be taken about the issues and in many cases presented examples of actions their group or sector had already taken.”
She adds the information from those workshops and previous consultations will be reviewed in detail during the development of the watershed plan.
The plan identifies problems and issues impacting the natural resources of the watershed and recommends management solutions. It directs that advice to the agencies and organizations most appropriate to implement them. The plan also is developed co-operatively, so the recommendations consider the needs of everyone.
The watershed planning process will be assisted by a Technical Advisory Committee, which consists of members from government, industry, academia, conservation and other sectors to provide technical and professional advice in support of the development of the plan.
The council is also holding meetings with First Nations and Métis communities who have an interest in the watershed.
For more information, members of the community are encouraged to visit the council’s website at www.lswc.ca, call  523-9800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org