Under Alberta's Water for Life strategy, Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) have been established for each of Alberta's major watershed basins. These councils are regional, multi-stakeholder, not-for-profit organizations that assess watershed health and work with their greater watershed community (partners, citizens, governments, First Nations, academia, industry and non-government organizations) to develop plans, make recommendations for policy to decision-makers, and engage in adaptive management actions to benefit the health and sustainability of the watershed.
Alberta WPACs do not have regulatory authority, but through deeper engagement and sharing of information with their watershed communities, they build support for and provide recommendations to decision-makers for water and watershed policy improvements. These groups are tasked with preparing a State of the Watershed report, highlighting the current conditions of their watersheds. They will also prepare Integrated Watershed Management Plans which will achieve the goals set out in the Water for Life Strategy.
The Oldman Watershed Council is one of eleven Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) located across Alberta. The other WPACs are:
Watershed Stewardship Groups
Unlike the regional scope of WPACs, Watershed Stewardship Groups (WSGs) have a local focus on protecting the watershed. WSGs are volunteer-led community groups actively involved in environmental stewardship of the watershed. Members include individuals, organizations, industry, agriculture, municipal and other forms of local government that are participating in grass roots projects which are making a very positive impact on the quality and quantity of our water and are demonstrating good land use practices.
Watershed stewardship groups in the Oldman River watershed are made up of volunteer citizens who take the initiative to protect their local creek, stream, stretch of river or lake. Watershed stewardship groups proactively develop on-the-ground solutions to ensure the protection of the Oldman River watershed.
WSGs in the Oldman watershed include:
- Battersea Drain Watershed Group
- Beaver Creek Watershed Group
- Beehive Conservation Natural Area
- Bobcreek Wildland Watershed Group
- Boundary Creek Landowners Group
- Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition
- Chaffen Creek Watershed Group
- Chief Mountain Landowner Information Network
- Chinook Area Land Users Association
- Crowsnest Conservation Society
- Drywood/Yarrow Conservation Partnership
- Lee Creek Watershed Group
- Livingstone Landowners Group
- Lower Mosquito Creek Water Users Association
- Lyndon Creek Watershed Conservation Partnership
- Peigan Friends Along the River
- Pekisko Group
- Pincher Creek Watershed Group
- South Porcupine Hills Landowners Group
- Upper Todd Creek Watershed Group
- Waldron Watershed Group
- Waterton Biosphere Reserve and Belly River Watershed
- Waterton Watershed Stewardship Group
- West Trout Creek Watershed Group
- Willow Creek Watershed Group
If you are interested in joining or forming a watershed group in your area, please contact us for more information.
The 2016 WPAC Summit in Calgary showcased the valuable and diverse work occurring across the province to improve the health of our watersheds. This booklet highlights some of the vital projects WPACs are leading: WPACs of Alberta Booklet
On June 6th, 2012 Alberta Environment and Parks hosted a forum for Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) to hear what progress has been made on implementing the Water for Life Action Plan, learn about projects the Government of Alberta is working on, provide information that will assist WPACs with developing and implementing Integrated Watershed Management Plans, and strengthen our relationship as partners under Water for Life.
A number of presentations from the forum are available:
Conversations Around the Water-Table
Conversations Around the Water Table is a six-part interview and blog series led by the Project Blue Thumb team. They reached out to thirteen multi-stakeholder practitioners to hear their thoughts about the future of water in Alberta and potential directions.
Project Blue Thumb is a multi-stakeholder social lab co-convened by the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance and Alberta Ecotrust Foundation that takes a whole system approach to protecting water quality in the Red Deer River watershed.
The series features our own Shannon Frank and Sofie Forsström:
Part Two: New Water Paradigms
by Amy Spark and Josée Méthot
"We’re speaking with people in their comfort zone. It’s about knowing your audience, instead of making assumptions about them." - Shannon Frank
Part Five: Municipalities
by Amy Spark
"There have been some very successful environmental campaigns to get people to think about responsible home and garden use, but it hasn’t translated to backcountry recreation yet." - Sofie Forsström