Editor's Note: This post is from our Executive Director, Shannon Frank. The OWC attends many events and meetings throughout Alberta, reaching out to all stakeholders in watershed management and health.
Recently, the Livingstone Landowners Guild hosted a “Who’s Who and What they Do” event to introduce local landowners to the many non-profit organizations operating in their area.
It was my pleasure to speak about OWC along with other panel members from Western Ranchlands Corporation, Waldron Grazing Cooperative, Southern Alberta Land Trust Society and Porcupine Land Use Group.
Several other groups also joined in the open discussion - Cows and Fish, Multiple Species At Risk, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and Miistakis Institute. As you can see there are many non-profit organizations operating in the Oldman watershed in addition to landowner groups like LLG and we are proud to work with them all! Each group fills a vital niche and working collaboratively is a great way to share limited resources and tackle large, complex issues that require many different types of expertise. There is a positive culture of working together in Southern Alberta that we should be proud of.
Encouraging and facilitating collaborative efforts to improve the watershed is a critical part of our role as a Watershed Planning and Advisory Council so it is important that we know who the players are on the landscape and support their work. We are proud to have supported the LLG’s Mapping Project to identify sensitive, high value areas that need to be maintained in the face of multiple land use pressures, such as transmission lines and acreage developments.
At the event, much of the open discussion focused on headwaters management and what impact the Government of Alberta Livingstone and Porcupine Hills Land Footprint Management Plan and Recreation Management Plans that are currently underway will have. There were high hopes and expectations in the room that these plans will ultimately improve the health of the headwaters by supporting restoration and more careful management of all the multiple uses, including recreation, forestry, cattle grazing and other activities.
The OWC has been actively participating in these planning processes as well as the Castle Park Ecology Working Group. We regularly provide information and recommendations to the Government of Alberta and Minister of Environment and Parks regarding headwaters management. Our input is always well received and there are signs that these plans will result in big changes in how public land is managed. The draft documents are expected to be released this winter for public input and we will be carefully reviewing them and providing feedback as well as encouraging all stakeholders and citizens to also provide their own feedback.
OWC continues to advocate for recreational user fees to fund much needed enforcement, restoration, education and properly designed and constructed designated trails within a linear features density target of 0.6km/km2. This was the key recommendation that came out of our stakeholder and consensus based Headwaters Action Plan in 2013 and has been the cornerstone of our recommendations to Government ever since.
Stakeholder collaboration and consensus is the fundamental basis for Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils and we need your support to continue this work. If you believe in the power of partnerships please donate today. We work hard to ensure every dollar makes a difference.
Many thanks to the Livingstone Landowners Guild for organizing the event and allowing us to showcase our work. A special thanks to Norma for the beautiful thank you gift! Thank you to the Pincher Creek Echo for the photo of panel speakers.
See the Pincher Creek Echo's article about the event here: http://www.pinchercreekecho.com/2016/09/26/conservation-in-livingstone-land-area-top-priority.