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Watershed News
April 2015

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Meet Brian Frey, Chair 
of the 2015/16 
Board of Directors 

Brian Frey, started his journey with SEAWA in 2014 and brings expertise he's gained over the past 30 years in the facility management business, (the last 17 of them at Prairie Rose School Division No. 8, the rural district that surrounds Medicine Hat.) Brian is in charge of utilities, including water, at all Division sites throughout southeast Alberta. Higher costs and lower grants are forcing efficient management of utilities and, like many others, Brian has come to realize that water in this area is a limited commodity and places high priority on its management.

'I'm really excited to serve on the SEAWA Board for another term and in the Chair capacity for the next year. I intend to continue with the fine work done by past SEAWA Boards, Committees, and the staff. The upcoming year will have its unique challenges but I am looking forward it -  we have a great group of people."

Interested in assisting with an 

upcoming project?

SEAWA is looking for volunteers for a project related to Residential Outdoor Water Use Efficiency. 


As part of this project, SEAWA will be hiring a student to conduct free residential outdoor water use efficiency assessments this summer with interested home owners in the city. Other related activities may include workshops, tours, and educational events.


To make this project a success - SEAWA needs some extra helping hands!! Specifically, SEAWA is looking for volunteers for:
  • A small project in April to develop a residential outdoor water use efficiency/landscaping assessment tool
  • Assistance with promoting the project and organizing the sign-up process (especially in April and May)
  • Potentially, assistance with organizing workshops, tours, and events
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Shanna at or Craig at 

New flood mitigation projects are a natural choice for Alberta


From conserving and creating wetlands to restoring shorelines, twelve new projects are using the power of nature to protect Alberta communities from natural disasters. 


"Healthy watersheds play a critical role in reducing the impact of both flood and drought. The projects funded through these grants will create and restore wetlands, rehabilitate riparian areas, and allow our natural environment to play a key role in improving the flood and drought resiliency of our communities."

Kyle Fawcett, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

For the full announcement from the Government of Alberta and other related information links, click here.  
Great Ideas

Have you experienced Pinterest yet? Visit this site for 'Cool Ideas for Easter' and start your adventure 'down the rabbit hole!'

Angling and Hunting 

Levy Increase 


The Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) has introduced a levy increase as of April 1, 2015. Hunting and angling licences in Alberta will be affected. The majority of hunters and anglers expressed support for this levy increase during the consultation process, which occurred over the last two years. Stakeholders indicated clearly that they are willing to provide more financial support to ACA, as long as funds are used for increased conservation efforts.


Based on feedback from stakeholders and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, the majority of the increase in levy funds will go towards fish stocking, lake aeration, rehabilitation of native fisheries, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, pheasant release programs, and hunting and angling mentoring events like Kids Can Catch and the Taber Pheasant Festival 

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! 


Registration is now open for the Alberta Lake Management Society's Alberta Water Quality Awareness (AWQA) Program.  AWQA is an exciting opportunity for Albertans to get outside and test the quality of their local waterways.  The program equips participants with a free water quality test kit, which you can use to explore waterways near your house, in your favourite park or at your summer job.  Register early to secure your kit!

Welcome new members and thank you for joining us at our Annual General Meeting and connecting with us this month!

Annual Easter Celebration

Sponsored by the Medicine Hat Kinsmen, this annual event is sure to please all ages! Join the Medicine Hat Interpretive Program for this popular Easter celebration in Police Point Park Nature Centre. Have a fabulously fun spring frolic with chicks and bunnies and Ukrainian egg decorating. 
The program runs from 

Friday, April 3 to Monday, April 6.Hours are: 

Fri - Sun 10-4 

Mon 10 -2 

Please note that egg sales end one hour before closing and there will be no food service on Monday.


For more great activities please visit this website.
Upcoming SEAWA Events and Activities
  • Website updates are imminent.
  • New office will be opening this month! Stay tuned for details.
Technical Committee meets on May 7 at Medicine Hat College.

SEAWA Board of Directors meets on May 21.
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.
Shanna Mohns
Communication Manager, SEAWA
Peter Wallis addresses those who attended the SEAWA
Annual General Meeting on March 31, 2015.



March 31, 2015


Thank you to all who attended the eighth SEAWA Annual General Meeting. There were twenty nine people in attendance to enjoy the informative presentations. 

Hyland Armstrong, who grew up and worked on a family ranch just east of Elkwater, gave a presentation on the Armstrong West Field Project, and other work that he participated in with various partners.  Hyland implements a number of range management projects involving the management of Fescue grassland, endangered species habitat, large ungulate habitat and the restoration of wetlands. Consequently, he has worked with Ducks Unlimited, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Sustainable Resource Development (Public Lands), Cows and Fish, Alberta Conservation Association, Alberta Fish and Wildlife and Alberta Parks and Recreation.

Peter Wallis, recently retired Dean of Science from the Medicine Hat College and owner of Hyperion Research Ltd., gave a summary presentation on the Trace Organics Study he conducted.  His active research interests include the development and testing of new techniques for the detection and elimination of waterborne protozoan pathogens, the evaluation of well water for potential surface water contamination and antibiotic resistance in aquatic bacteria.   Peter enjoys the chance to carry out research on real problems in the preservation and utilization of water resources. The opportunity to share his experience with students through teaching and volunteer activities (such as his involvement in SEAWA!) has also been highly rewarding for him.  


Election 2015 Summary -  NEW or Returning


Land Resource Industry, Industry

Jody Magill, Manager Government and Public Affairs, Methanex Corporation


Land Resource Industry, Agriculture

Stuart Murray, (VICE-CHAIR) Triple M Farm


Licensee Member, Irrigator

Gary Franz, St. Mary River Irrigation District


Municipal Government, Urban

John Michalopoulos, Manager Water Treatment Plants, City of Medicine Hat


Municipal Government, Rural

Garry Lentz, Councilor, Cypress County


Regulatory, Administrative, Provincial (2)

Janelle Villeneuve, Field Services Supervisor, Agriculture and Rural Development


Heather Sinton, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development


Member at Large, General Public (2)

James Dillman, (SECRETARY) Student, Individual Public


Gordon Wright, Alberta Health Services


Academic Institutions and Non-Government Organizations (2)

Brian Frey, (CHAIR) Prairie Rose School Division #8

Allison Campbell, (TREASURER) Strategic Research and Analysis, Medicine Hat College


Aboriginal Member (2)

Jeannette Hansen, Executive Director Miywasin Centre


Eco-Tourism and Environmental Groups (2)

Ron Linowski, Ecotourism and Environmental Science, Medicine Hat College

Currently vacant:

Non-Irrigator, Licensee

Aboriginal Member (1)

Eco-Tourism and Environmental Groups (1)

Although many new directors were inducted into the Board for SEAWA, there is always room for your involvement in committees and projects.  We invite you to be a part of a group who is involved in the development and management of a sustainable watershed! 


Thank you to all who were involved in SEAWA this year and special thanks goes to three Directors who have completed their term limit: Dan Davies, Melinda Arthur and Jennifer Nitschelm. You will be sadly missed and fondly remembered for your time with the SEAWA crew.

Alberta WaterSMART has a successful track record of providing innovative water management solutions for key industries in the province. Oil sands, river management, water reuse and hydraulic fracturing are a few areas Alberta WaterSMART specializes in.


With their partners and clients, Alberta WaterSMART identifies opportunities and innovative solutions to work toward a vision of improved water management in Alberta. One of the featured projects on the website is The South Saskatchewan River Basin (SSRB) - Adaptation to Climate Variability Project.

Water is fundamental to community sustainability and growth and the way water is managed in the South Saskatchewan River Basin (SSRB) will be critical in the face of changing weather patterns. The SSRB Adaption to Climate Variability Project will harness the energy and creativity of southern Albertans to explore practical options for adapting to climate variability and change.


In 2010, Alberta WaterSMART stated that, "water is a significant limiting factor to population growth and economic development in the SSRB." Much work has already been done, specifically the Bow River Project, on improving surface water management and increasing access to water supplies, all while protecting and enhancing environmental flows throughout the watershed. However, opportunities still exist to reduce the role of water as a barrier to population growth and economic development.


The SSRB Adaption to Climate Variability Project will build on and integrate existing data, tools, capacity and knowledge of water users and decision makers to improve understanding and explore how to manage for the range of potential impacts of climate variability throughout the SSRB's river systems. Using existing analytical and decision-support tools, the project will engage many people and groups to build:

  • a common understanding of feasible and practical mechanisms for adapting to climate variability and change, and
  • increased capacity for an informed, collaborative and adaptive approach to water resource management throughout the SSRB. This will enable organizations, communities and individuals to assess their risks in near real-time and determine their most suitable responses to climate variability within the physical realities of SSRB river flows, requirements and infrastructure.
The project should significantly advance climate adaptation resilience in the SSRB, leave a legacy of data, information and tools, and inform similar future work throughout the rest of the SSRB.
Charlotte Wasylik, Prairie Birder
Prairie Birder












Meet Charlotte, a young birder who decided in late 2010 to start a blog to record and write about her sightings.

She  lives on the prairies in Alberta, where she couldn't be happier, with a big open sky, prairie, and lots of open water. She lives on a farm with many animals - rabbits, chickens, cattle, horses, and a dog (who sometimes comes birding with her) and many varieties of birds, including Western Meadowlarks, Mountain Bluebirds, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Cinnamon Teals, Sprague's Pipits, Le Conte's Sparrows, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. 


Charlotte has birded on the island on Nevis in the West Indies, in New York City, and in Washington, DC. In August 2012, she was selected to be part of the Young Ornithologists' Workshop at the Long Point Bird Observatory in Ontario. In April 2013, she helped the Edmonton Nature Club with the Young Naturalists' Corner at the Snow Goose Chase in Tofield, Alberta. By August 2013, Charlotte was back at the Long Point Bird Observatory for a four-week Young Ornithologists' Internship, helping with migration monitoring, and her own research project, a Monarch Butterfly census.


Check out her FaceBook group "Alberta Birds", where birders post photographs or videos), ask questions, and just generally discuss the birds in this province. If you bird in Alberta, or plan to bird here on a visit, or would just like to see the wonderful avian species we have in our province, please join.


Charlotte is starting Grade 12 this fall, and her favorite subjects are history and natural history/science. This year, she's also finishing the last three chapters in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's home study course in bird biology.

Spring is approaching and birds are preparing to fly north to their nesting grounds, so it's time to start expecting the arrival of feathered spring migrants.

For Charlotte's bird lists, blog posts, and perspective on the 2013 Tofield Snow Goose Chase visit her website.

For those yard and garden enthusiasts who share a love of digging in the dirt, but also live busy lives, here are a few ideas to allow your yard and garden to thrive without a lot of watering, weeding and fertilizing. 


If you want a beautiful yard without a lot of fuss, here are six low-maintenance landscaping tips that will keep your yard looking great with minimal effort. The Family Handyman offers some do-it-yourself advice, in an article written by Elisa Bernick.


1. Replace some of your turf with ground covers

A lot of folks love their lawns, but frankly, a good-looking lawn requires a lot of care. If you replace some of your grass with an appropriate ground cover, you'll slash your chore time without sacrificing a lovely yard. 


2. Use drought tolerant plants

Watering restrictions are a reality in many areas, and it makes sense to reduce watering chores whenever possible. Choose plants, trees and shrubs that require less water to thrive. There are many beautiful options that will work in a variety of soils and climates. Once it establishes a good root system, it will mature with minimal watering.

3. Select carefree shrubs and trees

Plant shrubs and trees that won't require a lot of your attention as they grow. There are many new plants specifically bred for their smaller stature as well as disease and pest resistance. Dwarf conifers, smaller shrubs and yard trees that reach 10 to 15 ft. at maturity mean reduced pruning chores and less chance that you'll have to remove them when they outgrow their sites or become diseased.

4. Hardscape with permeable materials

Patios, walkways, courtyards and other hardscape elements add a bit of magic to any yard and reduce landscaping chores. Choose materials and designs that allow rainwater to permeate the soil to irrigate plantings, minimize erosion and prevent runoff. 


5. Mulch heavily, turn soil rarely and plant densely 

Keep weeding chores to a minimum by mulching heavily with compost and shredded bark. Plant things close together to shade out weeds, and avoid turning the soil, which exposes dormant weed seeds to sunlight. Instead, let the earthworms from your compost do the cultivating for you.

6. Minimize labor-intensive plants

I love roses, but most require a lot of water, fertilizer and pesticides to look their best. I'm not saying you should give up everything you love, but choose your plantings carefully.

 Happy gardening!