In partnership with Swim Drink Fish Canada, the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper’s has this year’s water literacy programs well underway. Our new Water Literacy Manager, Hans Asfeldt, is leading the programs and of the many engagements he will pursue this year here are some key highlights.
Water quality monitoring program set to launch this July
In the coming weeks, Edmontonians will for the first time be able to access ongoing recreational water quality information about the North Sasakatchewan River throughout the summer. The program is now in its final stages of development and is set to begin this July. While there is a variety of water quality monitoring conducted by utility providers and government agencies, there is currently no monitoring of the river that specifically supports recreational access.
With the aim to promote river recreation in the Edmonton area, weekly testing for bacterial indicators will be conducted near Sir Wilfred Laurier Park and Capilano Park boat launches. Water quality information will be made available to the public on an ongoing basis through the Swim Guide platform, an interactive tool and smartphone app developed by Swim Drink Fish Canada. The program is designed both to promote and encourage recreational activities on the North Saskatchewan River and to ensure that users know when it’s safe to be in the water.
Keep posted for more details about the monitoring program in the coming weeks! In the meantime, download our Swim Guide app to find a beach near you and view the latest water quality updates.
Swim Guide tool used by more and more Albertans
Since 2011, Swim Guide has remained the single most comprehensive beach water quality service in Canada and its global reach continues to extend throughout the United States, Baja Mexico, and New Zealand. Of all jurisdictions in which Swim Guide operates, Alberta boasts the second highest level of engagement. While there are many contributing factors, this is partly a reflection of the love we have for our lakes. It also indicates a widespread interest and demand for water quality information. Lastly, it is a reminder that water quality problems remain a real challenge in Alberta and there is a need for ongoing advocacy and conservation efforts.
Historically, North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper has been heavily involved in promoting awareness of water quality issues in Alberta’s lakes and given trends that indicate increasing levels of public engagement about beach water quality, we will continue to direct much of our work toward better access to water quality information, more widely implemented monitoring programs, and above all, the protection of our lakes and rivers so that the number of water advisories decreases over the long term.
Look for an upcoming blog post that will explore the effects of climate change on lake water quality, algal blooms, and beach closures.
Watershed Education will engage Edmonton area highschool students
North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper is expanding its water literacy program to work directly with high school students and youth in the Edmonton region. We envision a watershed where everyone knows the source of their drinking water and where everyone has a voice in decisions that impact our water bodies. Our youth education program is designed to strengthen the connections between our river and the youth in our community – both of which are essential for a prosperous future.
Classroom engagement will begin in September with the new school year and additional literacy events will be hosted in the community throughout the year. If you are a teacher or a member of a community organisation and are interested in working with the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper to host a watershed literacy seminar or workshop we would love to hear from you!
Watermark Project celebrates stories from the North Saskatchewan River Basin
Everyone has story about water. What’s yours?
Developed by our partner, Swim Drink Fish Canada, the Watermark Project is a national database that documents Canadians’ stories about water. By sharing “watermarks”, Canadians from across the country can register a precious waterbody and tell their stories about why it’s worth protecting. There are many watermarks in the North Saskatchewan River Basin and with a number of them collected already, we look forward to hearing more stories over the coming year. Click here to read and watch the watermarks that your fellow watershed stewards have contributed and consider submitting one of your own!