Watermark with Rachel Schoeler

North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper is excited to be partnering in the Watermark Project in 2016!

The Watermark Project is a digital archive that preserves and protects Canada’s water heritage through storytelling. It acts both as a registry for the waters that Canadians love to use, as well as a unique clearinghouse for people’s powerful and personal experiences on those waterbodies.

Check out this awesome video featuring a Watermark from Rachel Schoeler with our friends at Fraser Riverkeeper in Vancouver, BC. Back in August of 2014, Rachel took on the challenge of swimming solo across the Georgia Strait without a wet-suit to raise awareness of recreational water quality issues; becoming the first woman in over 40 years to make the crossing!

 

Be sure to keep an eye on our blog for news about the launch of the Watermark Project website and more Watermarks from North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper’s Directors and other great Canadian water leaders coming in the new year!

 

Source: Fraser Riverkeeper – http://www.fraserriverkeeper.ca/watermark_rachel_schoeler

Federal Government Declares Proposed Mine Site To Be Critical Habitat

Last week, the federal government declared that dozens of streams and rivers in southwestern Alberta are critical habitat for endangered trout species.

On December 2nd, the Alberta Wilderness Association said that it would drop a lawsuit against Ottawa which sought to force the federal government to issue the order. Under law, critical habitat for native cutthroat trout was supposed to have been declared more than a year ago under the previous Conservative government.

“We’re happy that we likely do not have to follow through with it,” said Brittany Verbeek, the association’s conservation director.

Verbeek said the order lends protection to the creeks, streams and tributaries draining into the Oldman and Crowsnest rivers that are home to the trout. The fish were already protected under the Fisheries Act; now their home is protected under the Species At Risk Act.

“It just means that the area surrounding where the fish live has that increased protection.”

Changes to the stream, such as increasing its sediment load, are now forbidden.

The Alberta government is considering an application from a subsidiary of an Australian company to build a coal mine on a mountaintop in the protected habitat. Benga Mining proposes to turn 12 square kilometres on the top of Grassy Mountain near Blairmore into a terraced site.

At the same time, the province’s energy regulator is investigating the company for a release of coal into Gold Creek, one of the streams included in the critical habitat declaration.

A recent survey by a fisheries biologist found virtually all southern Alberta streams that spawn native trout are threatened by industrial development or overuse.

Lorne Fitch studied 54 small rivers and streams that flow into the Oldman River and which hold bull and cutthroat trout, largely in the area now considered critical habitat. He found nearly all of them face damage from logging roads, energy development and off-highway vehicle trails.

Scientists suggest land that contains trout streams shouldn’t have more than just over half a kilometre of trail, cutline or road per square kilometre. The disturbance density in parts of the Oldman watershed is nearly 10 times that.

Cutthroat populations are estimated at five per cent of historic levels.

 

From Bob Weber – The Canadian Press

Source: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/feds-say-proposed-alberta-coal-mine-site-a-key-fish-habitat-1.2684688

Photo credit: Robert Berdan

 

 

“Stand Up for The River” on Saturday, August 16

Posted in: Case Studies | 0

Saturday morning, August 16, is your chance to join the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper and “Stand Up for the River”.

Come check out the Easy Rider Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) race and tour from Hawrelak/Laurier Park bridge or other viewing points along the the North SK River down to Rafter’s Landing. Other good spots include the LRT bridge and the trail west of Groat Bridge in MacKinnon Ravine Park.

There are few things that capture our connection to our North Saskatchewan River like a regatta of Stand Up Paddleboarders cruising down the water in unison. Come check out the recreational and aesthetic value of our river and paddleboarding.

The paddleboarders can be viewed from Hawrelak/Laurier Bridge around 10AM.  May vary depending on river flow status that day.

If you are an experienced river paddleboarder and are interested in entering the 7th Annual Easy Rider SUP Cup, click here for the race and touring details.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, August 16!