SEAWA logo Hoizontal
Watershed News
December 2014

Click the links below 
to stay in the know.....

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

View our videos on YouTube

View our photos on flickr


The SEAWA office has had a street address for almost a year (at 1014 Allowance Avenue SE, in Medicine Hat)  and we are ready to open the doors and welcome the public to come see the space, meet the staff and Board members and enjoy a hot beverage and some snacks.

We encourage you to peruse our watershed resources, inquire about our education and outreach activities and in general, get to know us a bit better.

On Thursday, December 11th, you and yours are welcome to stop in for some holiday cheer. The Open House Come & Go will be held from 2 - 6 pm.

Hope to see you there!

Source Water Protection Recommendations are Released


The Battle River Watershed Alliance  (BRWA) has developed recommendations for source water protection planning in the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds of Alberta. Click on the links below to check them out! 

SWP Research Report:

-background information to inform policy advice and implementation guidelines

SWP Policy Advice

-overarching goals and objectives for source water protection planning in our watersheds

SWP Implementation Guidelines:

- concrete actions to implement source water protection planning in our watersheds


Christmas Hayride

Come Celebrate the beginning of the Christmas Season with a Free Hayride in Police Point Park.

Date: Sun, Dec 7
Time: 1 - 4 pm
at Police Point Park 

31 Years of Tradition!
Free Hayrides, Christmas Crafts, Hot Chocolate, Christmas Oranges and Candy Canes.

A Possible surprise visit by the Jolly Old Elf, himself!

**Donations to the Food Bank Gratefully Accepted

Winterlust Photos Prove Alberta is the Prettiest Province in Winter


It's been pretty cold in Alberta the past few weeksBut, instead of complaining, Travel Alberta is reminding you to embrace the frosty weather and appreciate the province's wintry beauty. The tourism group has been sharing some amazing photos by various photographers that showcase Alberta's beautiful snowy backdrop.

You can check out a sample of the photos below, and check out more by clicking here.


2015 Business Person 
of the Year

Nominations are now open at Medicine Hat College.  The candidate who is chosen will be recognized during the Connecting Students to Business Dinner on Thursday, March 19, 2015 and will have a scholarship named after them.
Stephen Finnagan, dean of the Division of Business and Enterprise and chair of the selection committee explains that the criteria for the award has changed a bit, "Our division places a large emphasis on social responsibility, so we felt it was important that this was reflected in the nomination package. In addition to the past qualifying criteria, we are also looking for someone who has demonstrated a commitment to environmental sustainability; a role model not only for students but underrepresented groups as well." 

The public is asked to nominate someone who is business savvy, has high ethical standards and is a leader in the community as well as in their industry.  

Nominations are accepted year-round; however the deadline to qualify for this year's award is January 14, 2015. Nomination packages received after that date will be considered for next year's award. 

An online nomination package can be downloaded here.

If you have any questions or would like more information on this award contact Marcella Van Slyke at 403.529.3976 or

Connect, Strengthen 
and Expand
SEAWA is gaining momentum with partners and collaborative activities. If you know of a group, business or individual who has a common interest with us, please forward this newsletter on to them!

Contact us through the
 or visit the office at 
1014 Allowance Avenue SE in Medicine Hat.
A Community Topic: Lions Park Berm
*Follow-up Member Report

SEAWA representatives attended the Parks and Recreation/Municipal Works information session on November 6th and have provided this summary report:


Facilitators stated clearly, right from the start, that the purpose of the meeting was to inform the organizations represented, about the berm configuration in Lion's and Strathcona Island Parks. It was not a forum for making and gathering comments or suggesting changes to the berm configuration. (The only possible change may be to the road realignment at the conjunction of Second Street SE and Minto Avenue SE. The Parks Department may consider deleting the realignment and terminating the roads.)


About 15 or 20 people browsed the information boards that were on display, providing a visual description of plans.The first board depicted the overall city map showing all eight areas along the river and creeks that need to be addressed, to prevent future floods. Another showed a cross section of the planned berm. Each side of the berm is designed with a 3-to-1 slope versus height ratio. For example, if the height is 1 meter then the overall width is 15 meters; or if it is 3 meters high then it is 27 meters wide. As it is apparent, the overall width can be significant.


Participants viewed a rendition of what the completed berms might look like, once planted with grass and with a paved, divided trail on the top. There was little mention of the value of natural spaces and retention of vegetation in the flood plain.


Some comments and observations made by those in attendance:


- The plan has been (and continues to be) revised as new information comes in.  For example, on a print version it was observed that rip rap was to be used at the corners. In the revised plan on the board, the corners had been rounded out so that the rip rap was no longer needed.  The intention is to make the curve of the berm as smooth as possible.


- There are no plans to vegetate the berm beyond planting grass, which will be mowed annually.  It was thought the trees and shrubs would compromise the berm and create leaks with their roots. The mowing is to make it possible to examine the berm for leaks.  One participant thought that in a high water event, the grassed berm is more likely to be washed out, than one which is vegetated with a mix of shrubs and trees, (which would not only hang on to the soil but also slow down the water flow.)


- Complementary to the berms, will be storm water retention ponds throughout the city. One person suggested public education about storm water on private properties to inform how retention ponds slow and reduce the run-off in heavy rain/snow melt events.


- An observation was made about the stand of cottonwood trees that are on the dry side of the berm, near Strathcona Island Park. As cottonwood trees require flood conditions to thrive, questions arose as to how this area would receive enough water for the continued life of these trees.  


- Attendees made note that: a future flood could arise at the end of the berm and back flow through Strathcona on the old river/creek bed which would then necessitate some means of releasing flood waters from inside the berm; a possible bathtub effect may arise from excessive urban run-off and sewer backup, and; the baseball diamond in Strathcona Park will not be protected by the berm, but if needed, a temporary dike system would be erected.


- The Parks Department need to rip-rap the river bank on Strathcona Island to prevent further erosion, otherwise the road to the Heritage Building and baseball diamond, along with the new water park and playground, and any in-ground infrastructure such as sewer and water pipes, could very well be compromised.


- Creek side berming is envisioned for Phase 2 of the project.  Ross Creek and Seven Persons Creeks drain the entire north slope of the Cypress Hills and join near the common estuary into the river. Flooding of these creeks have occurred.


- The Trans Canada Trail Marker/ Pavilion will be moved to a new location because the trail will no longer extend to the marker's present site. That far end of the trail will be abandoned.

The General Managers from Parks and Recreation and Municipal Works provided an in-depth overview of the berm that is soon to be constructed and at the end of the evening meeting, participants were encouraged to report back to their organizations and stakeholders.


Thank you Martha for your report to the Board of Directors, and now to the membership!

EPCOR is a Canadian leader in installing and operating new water treatment technologies and Edmonton was the first major Canadian city to receive drinking water treated with ultraviolet light disinfection.
Through continual upgrades and innovations, EPCOR remains at the forefront of waste water treatment technology, which includes enhanced primary treatment, biological nutrient removal and ultraviolet disinfection. 


EPCOR supports on-site research facilities for both water and waste water process improvements.

See more at this link.


In April 2008, EPCOR produced a Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP). Edmonton's source water protection area covers the entire watershed upstream of the Rossdale Water Treatment Plant in Edmonton to the headwaters located in the Rocky Mountains. The SWPP identified potential hazards (like land uses and contaminant sources) that could have an effect on the North Saskatchewan River basin and / or water treatment plant process. The plan also evaluated the potential hazards level of risk to the drinking water system. Click here for the plan.


In a webinar, held on December 2 at the SEAWA office, the four participants heard how there are multiple, competing land and water planning and research initiatives in Alberta's watersheds, including Source Water Protection Planning. Integration within the existing regional plan frameworks (like the Land-Use Framework and Alberta Land Stewardship Act) and Regional Advisory Groups is an effective way to ensure source water objectives are achieved.


EPCOR's Approach:

Watershed Management 

- Working in partnership to set objectives and targets for the watershed, water quality and quantity, and develop water policies that influence management.



- Supporting programs and organizations that implement programs to reduce contaminants entering source waters and ensure healthy aquatic environments and watersheds.


Research and Monitoring 

- Gathering scientific data on water quality and quantity, fostering collaborative long-term monitoring programs, evaluating source waters and effluent impacts, and participating in research partnerships.


Education and Awareness 

- Educating and informing industry, stakeholders, and the public of the importance of watershed protection and best management practices through strategic partnerships.


Below are some links to resources on the topic of Source Water Protection:


These are some of the webinar highlights. If you'd like more information, please be in touch with us!
Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs)

are multi-stakeholder, non-profit organizations that assess the conditions of their watershed and develop plans and activities to address watershed issues. Currently, eleven watersheds have organizations formally recognized as WPACs in the province. For a complete list of them, follow this link.


Alberta's WPAC community is a skilled network of educated, responsible and dedicated organizations that all want the best for the future of Alberta water. The community is made up organizations that are run by volunteers and paid positions, varying in size from five to 300 members


SEAWA attends regular quarterly meetings and an annual event in conjunction with the WPACs and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD.)  The purpose of these meetings is to facilitate  discussion around areas of collaboration for the 2015/2016 funding cycle and build upon the performance evaluation work that was initiated as part of all the WPAC grant reports. 


SEAWA is a part of the collaborative work that continues in an effort to improve communication between the WPACs, the Ministry, and the Water for Life steering committee members.  

CP Rail Holiday Train

Each Holiday Train event features performances by professional musicians that include holiday-themed songs. There is no charge to attend a show but people are are asked to bring a cash or food donation. The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday train program is aiming to generate healthier donations this year, as it makes its way across North America raising food, money and awareness for the local food backs and food shelves. Patrons attending the Holiday Train events are encouraged to take a second glance when pulling food out of their cupboards to ensure their non-perishable donations are nutritious and heart-healthy. All money and food raised in a community stays in that community to help those in need locally.  The full CP Holiday Train schedule is available at
Stay Tuned! Upcoming Events and Activities
Open House Come & Go, December 11th  from 2-6 pm at the SEAWA Office
Steering and Technical Committee Meeting, January 8th, Medicine Hat College
Board of Director Meeting, January 15th, Environmental Utilities
Sunshine Home and Garden Trade Show, Feb 27 - March 1, 2015
Join the Conversation
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions you have about SEAWA, about land and water issues in the region, or about your personal connection to the watershed.
Get in Touch
Shanna Mohns
Communication Manager, SEAWA