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Watershed News
May 2015

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Meet Tom Habib

Tom works as a research coordinator with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) in Edmonton. After growing up in Ottawa, Tom moved to Edmonton for an MSc in deer ecology, looking at whether white-tailed and mule deer habitat selection and movement patterns could influence the spread of chronic wasting disease in eastern Alberta. (Answer: yes, but group dynamics and social behaviour - who hangs out with who - are probably more important). Despite still having an affinity for charismatic megafauna, these days Tom's research focuses on the bigger picture and how landscapes and natural systems contribute to human health and well-being, and how our land-use activities and management can influence what nature can do for us. A big part of this involves creating maps of the actual values generated from nature (often called "ecosystem services"), so that we can take these usually-hidden values into account when making land-use plans and decisions. Tom will be working with SEAWA to generate maps like this for the Integrated Watershed Management Plan process to help understand how to manage the watershed to achieve SEAWA's socioeconomic and environmental goals.

Litter Blitz


The Parks and Recreation Department is appealing to individuals, groups, schools, businesses and neighbourhoods to get out and clean up the city on Saturday, May 9, 2015, (weather permitting) starting at 9 am.

Garbage bags will be supplied by the Parks and Recreation department and can be picked up at their office at 88 Kipling Street SE. 

All participants will be given tickets to join an appreciation barbecue from 11 am - 1 pm in the parking lot of the Parks and Recreation Department.

To register your group and pick up barbeque tickets and garbage bags please call 403.529.8333 by May 8, 2015

Check out the New Space


SEAWA invites you to visit us at the Office Come and Go held on Thursday May 14, from 1- 4 pm.

Coffee, doughnuts and good company ;) will be waiting for you in Room 41 - 419 Third Street SE, Medicine Hat. 


Enter the Arcade Building, and take the stairs to the second floor. We are located at the end of the hallway to the right.

We hope to see you; stakeholders, partners, members, directors and new friends!


This website provides farmers, ranchers, agri-businesses and other agriculture producers with information. You'll find news, articles and reports on many topics pertinent to the agriculture industry.

and much more!

Glacier Basics

This page will familiarize you with what glaciers are, how they behave, how they shape landscapes, and how they are impacted by climate change. You can also access a series of interactive animations and graphics that allow you to "see" the processes and structures described. 

People come from all over the world to spend time in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and have their hearts set on seeing the turquoise coloured water of Lake Louise. Many are surprised to find out that the lake doesn't completely clear of ice until the first week of June or later. The ice starts to become thinner and break up during the month of May, creating some interesting patterns that can make for great photography. For a time lapse video of Lake Louise thawing, click hereEach year the thawing of the lake is a highly anticipated event. Especially for those of us living downstream of the thawing activity in the Rockies.

For an inventory of glaciers in Alberta visit 
this page. Alberta WaterPortal has a robust section of facts, figures and information about the number and area of Albertan glaciers, their classification and types, and many related article links for you to follow.
Example of Flood Fringe area in a 100 Year Event


City of Medicine Hat Overland

Flow Protection Strategy


The City of Medicine Hat Municipal Works Department has been working on the Overland Flow Protection Strategy since the devastating flood in 2013 and work has begun on implementing this plan. The website provides information on the flood protection construction and a visual summary of the project locations.


Frequently Asked Questions


How long will it take to complete all eight of the overland flow protection projects?
>The overland flow protection projects vary in size, cost, and complexity. It is not known at this time how long it will take to complete all projects; however the target is a fall 2016 completion date. 


Can putting a dyke in one area of the city affect another area of the city?
>The work being considered is not being looked at as several separate projects but rather as one big flood mitigation plan. Using very accurate hydrologic modeling software, we have looked at the impact each of the projects have on the river both upstream and downstream. Any changes to the rivers depth and speed as a result of the berms have been negligible. 


For more frequently asked questions, visit the City of Medicine Hat website.


City of Medicine Hat Berm project video. 


As the trees in Lions Park come down so that berms can be built to protect homes from flooding, Medicine Hat's Parks and Recreation Department hopes Hatters will be spurred to help plant trees not just in the park, but all over the city in the near future. Read the Medicine Hat News article on the city's tree plan. 

2015 Southern Alberta Grazing School
 for Women


The Grazing School for Women committee is made up of municipalities, government agencies and non-profit groups from across southern Alberta.  

The core learning opportunities at the grazing school focus on rangeland and riparian management. The two day course is designed to help better manage pastures, understand the natural resources on your land and increase your knowledge of animal welfare practices.

Brush up on your Pteranodons and Triceratops, this group is headed to Dinosaur Provincial Park! Okay, so while they are not learning about dinosaurs, the park is hosting the 12th Annual Southern Alberta Grazing School for Women. Group camping is available as well as other accommodation options at the park and at nearby B&B's and hotels. Please call Holly White, Agricultural Services County of Newell, to book a group camping site 403-633-0352.

Check out all that Dinosaur Provincial Park has to offer if you'd like to extend your stay. 

Space is limited, so be sure to act quickly if you are interested in attending.

Blondie's Gift & Garden Center is partnering with SEAWA again this year to highlight low-water plants with plant tags. In this semi-arid desert climate, it is important to choose plants that thrive, look beautiful and are well suited to the locale. 

SEAWA staff and volunteers will be spending a few afternoons at Blondie's in the first week of May to place the tags in applicable potted annuals and perennials. If YOU are interested in spending a few hours during the week of May 4-8 in the greenhouse, adding tags to the stock, please contact Shanna at shanna@seawa.ca.  


For other conservation and efficiency initiatives in the city, check out this link for tips, projects and activities available to you.

Bob Sandford, who now leads the EPCOR Water Security Research Chair said the average Canadian uses about 329 litres of water a day. The average resident of Munich, Germany, uses about 100 litres a day. (Aaron Lynett/Canadian Press) 


Canadians Must Take Water Security More Seriously


Climate change is binding together energy and water issues and Canada must learn to think about them that way, says the newly appointed Canadian head of an international water institute, Bob Sandford.


"It changes the whole definition of water security," said Bob Sandford, who now leads the EPCOR Water Security Research Chair hosted at Hamilton's McMaster University.

"Water security means having the water to reliably provide adequate amounts at the right quality for all who need it, including what nature needs," said Sandford, whose position is funded through the United Nations University, a global think-tank. "Now we're seeing this is directly tied to energy security also."


Sanford also sits on or directs freshwater institutes at three Canadian universities and has been an advisor to a public policy forum made up of more than 30 heads of state.

Sandford points out that energy is used to purify and transport water, while water is used to create energy. Alberta's oilsands, for example, use three barrels of water for every barrel of bitumen mined. Hydroelectricity is generated entirely by water.

But while Canada's population and economy has grown substantially over the decades, its attitude to water hasn't.


"Canadians have real difficulty getting their minds around the fact that we have real water issues," Sandford said.

"We've had five or six generations of the national myth of a limitless supply. We're considered around the world as one of the most egregious water wasters, because we have it."


Sandford said the average Canadian uses about 329 litres of water a day. The average resident of Munich, Germany, uses about 100 litres a day.

Climate change is one reason Canadians will have to rethink their attitude, said Sandford. Rainfall patterns for large areas of the Prairies are changing. Extreme weather such as flooding in southern Alberta is forcing cities and towns to take another look at their infrastructure.


Sandford's institute has just released a report that points out some of the ways water and energy policy can work together.

"There are countries that have faced these challenges and have come to innovative solutions," said report co-author Corinne Schuster-Wallace. Some use green energy for irrigation. Others have learned how to treat waste water in ways that generate energy to offset that used in the treatment.

Many of those solutions save money by making more efficient use of both water and power."That financial consideration will probably drive a lot of this energy-water nexus thinking," said Schuster-Wallace.


The report also recommends a greater role for the private sector, if that role is carefully thought out, ensures transparency and balances the relationship between the partners. "There are a lot of high-profile cases where public-private partnerships have failed epochally."


The coming changes won't be cheap. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has already said communities need $88 billion to replace outmoded roads, bridges and other infrastructure. One way to reduce that cost is to consider water and energy together, said Sandford."Water and energy are interlinked and they depend on each other."

CBC Hamilton News Article March 11, 2015 

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! 

Upcoming SEAWA Events and Activities
  • SEAWA Office Come and Go, May 14th Room 414,  419 Third Street SE, Medicine Hat
  • Technical Committee meets on May 7 at Medicine Hat College.
  • Board of Directors meet May 21, Legion room in the Public Library
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