Bow River Phosphorus Management Plan Implementation Update & Video Series

Editor's Note: Following BACKWARDS from the Hudson Bay, the South Saskatchewan meanders through the tip of Lake Winnipeg, and through Saskatchewan, and into Alberta. Just outside Taber is where the South Saskatchewan splits into the Bow and the Oldman rivers. What happens in the headwaters of these two rivers has economic and ecological consequences for many, many miles downstream.

Here's a report from the Bow River watershed that includes Calgary. Where does all the phosphorous come from? Naturally ocurring? Well not exactly ...rock weathering and the natural decomposition of plants and animals are natural sources of phosphorus ... but that's not enough to cause problems. Phosphorus and nitrogen from human activity enters waterways through municipal and industrial wastewaters, agricultural runoff, and air pollution. it kills fish, makes it so you can't swim there and you wouldn't want to drink it.

“Phosphorus inputs to the Bow River are managed to provide a healthy aquatic ecosystem while meeting the needs of stakeholders.” (Project Outcome)

The Bow River Phosphorus Management Plan (PMP) is a strategic plan to address phosphorus sources, establish goals and objectives, and recommend strategies and actions to manage phosphorus in the middle reach of the Bow River between the Bearspaw and Bassano Dams. The initial planning phase and the PMP report was completed in 2014 and the implementation phase is now underway and includes a number of on-the-ground projects and activities that have been identified through PMP strategies and actions.

 Bow River Phosphorus Management Plan - Planning Area

Bow River Phosphorus Management Plan - Planning Area

 Phosphorus Management Plan Implementation Committee

Phosphorus Management Plan Implementation Committee

The PMP Implementation Committee has made a great deal of progress over the last two years.  Of the 51 total actions contained in the plan, 35% are considered either as sustainable progress (progress underway and will be completed in the next few years) or completed.  Further work is required for the 33 actions that are still listed as progress. 

If you are interested in learning more about the PMP, a future Stakeholder Advisory Group workshop is planned for May 4, 2017.  Please contact to register for this workshop.

In addition, the PMP has developed a series of short videos (3 – 4 minutes each) highlighting various aspects of the project.  Please click on the links below to view the videos.

—  Overview

—  Water Quality Management

—  Urban Stormwater Management

—  Managing Phosphorus Through Wastewater Treatment

—  Phosphorus and Irrigation Management

—  The Role of Stewardship in Phosphorus Management

—  Livestock Management to Address Phosphorus

—  A Municipal Approach to Phosphorus Management

For more information, please check out the Bow River Phosphorus Management Plan website at: