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Watershed News
July 2015

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Alberta Wild Fires

Source: ESRD


For information on support systems, modeling tools, fire locations, status and maps, visit this site.

Additionally, you can find current fire bans across the province, information on fire permits and firefighting technology.

Fires Affect Local Air Quality

Source: Palliser Airshed Society 


Visit the Palliser Airshed Society (PAS) home page to view the current Air Quality Health Index. It is located on a blue side-bar to the left of the main page.


The Air Quality Health Index is a scale designed to help you understand what the air quality around you means to your health. It is designed to help you make decisions to protect your health by limiting short-term exposure to air pollution and adjusting your activity levels during increased levels of air pollution.


PAS monitors air quality in the Medicine Hat  and Redcliff region. To date there is one continuous monitoring site and 22 passive sampling sites and is a source for current Air Quality Health Index information.

Wetland Courses 

with Aquality

Source: Wetland Policy


Recognizing that wetlands are integral to watershed health in Alberta and to the achievement of all three goals of the Water for Life strategy, the Government of Alberta released a new Alberta Wetland Policy in 2012. As of summer 2014, the interim policy and restoration/compensation guide will be phased out. It will be replaced by the new Alberta Wetland Policy; tools and systems enabled under that policy. The wetland policy applies to all natural wetlands in Alberta including bogs, fens, swamps, marshes, shallow open water, restored natural wetlands and wetlands that have been constructed for the purpose of wetland replacement (Government of Alberta 2013).

Aquality will be offering the Wetlands Course in Calgary on July 15 and 16 (Classroom) and July 17 (Field).

The Alberta Wetlands: Field Assessment Course is a one day outdoor course designed for participants to put classroom theory to practice. Participants gain hands-on experience identifying key wetland plant species. Expert instructors will be on hand to answer questions and provide guidance. Participants will be exposed to several different wetland classes common to the white-zone of the province following the new Alberta Wetland Classification System. This course is ideal for those looking to improve their wetland botany skills. 

View the Wetlands Syllabus here.

Registration information can be found at this link.

Alberta WaterPortal

Source: Alberta WaterPortal


The Alberta WaterPortal is a charitable organization and is supported by private and public sector technology, industry, and watershed management partnerships.


Did you know that the three largest lakes in Alberta together cover 4,055 square miles?


Visit the website to find news, more interesting facts and some great apps to use on your smart phone!


Youth Range Days
Source: Prairie Post

The Southern Alberta Youth Range Days are an interactive event for youth, families and leaders interested in learning about a variety of range, watershed, wildlife and other related topics relative to natural resource management. 

Participants learn everything from wildlife management to rangeland management," says Tim Romanow, executive director of the Milk River Watershed Council.

This year's camp will include information about bear and wolf issues in the area and minimizing attractants on ranches. A plant identification session will take place in the Carway district as well as an introduction to fish habitat management. 

For the complete Prairie Post News Article, click here.

Edible Berries of Alberta

Source: Northern Bushcraft


This guide provides a list of edible berries in Alberta,  (including Edmonton, Calgary, Jasper, Banff, Waterton Lakes, Elk Island and Waterton Buffalo National Parks,) so no matter where your travels take you this summer in Alberta, you can seek a taste of nature's summer bounty!

Grasshoppers Get a

Bad Rap!


On Sunday, July 5th, from 10 am to 4 pm, join the Police Point Park Nature Centre interpreters, in order to gain a better understanding of the local grasshopperFew area grasshoppers are actually a problem for gardens or crops and they are important to the prairie ecosystem! 


If you're adventuresome, perhaps try one as a snack.


Check out the Medicine Hat Interpretive Program Schedule for details on this and many more summer activities.


Forecaster's Comments
Central and Southern Alberta River Conditions
June 2015

Special Update Key Points
  • Due to early melt of the snow pack and lack of precipitation, river flows in Southern Alberta have dropped sharply during the last few weeks. In general, all reservoirs in the South Saskatchewan river basin are at or above normal. With careful management of these reservoirs and collaboration with major water users most impacts due to low river flows can be mitigated.
  • With the current dry weather and seasonal hot temperatures overall, demand for water can be expected to be above normal this year. Increased demands can reduce the river flows to minimum flows and may require closer monitoring.
  • Alberta Environment and Parks is implementing Stage 1 (of the Water Shortage Procedures for the South Saskatchewan River Basin

Stage 1 involves more active monitoring, coordination and communication regarding water supply, availability and use. This will help in addressing low river flows and provide guidance to modified operations that will be required to meet the apportionment requirements and to mitigate any potential environmental impacts that may arise.

For the complete Water Shortage Procedures for the South Saskatchewan River Basin, click here.

For the full Forecaster's Comments, complete with additional resource links, click here.

Alberta Environment and Parks Water Supply Outlook: 
June to September 

The Water Supply Outlook is a report containing forecasts of runoff for southern and central mountain rivers. It also contains a summary of current snowpack, precipitation, river flow volumes, seasonal weather forecasts from Environment Canada and NOAA and soil
moisture conditions from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. 

Water Supply Outlooks are published incrementally as new data analyses are available. The most recent Water Supply Outlook is now available here


Why Stock Fish in Alberta?

The Alberta Government maintains native fish populations in all water bodies where they occur. Alberta also raises fish in hatcheries and plants them in water bodies to meet numerous conservation goals:

  • Re-establish fish where populations have collapsed
  • Establish new populations in suitable lakes
  • Provide trout fishing in areas where few other angling opportunities exist
  • Provide diversity in angling experiences where appropriate

The primary purpose of walleye stocking is to achieve self-sustaining populations, rather than maintain populations through continuous stocking. On the other hand, rainbow trout are not able to spawn in the sites the government stocks on an annual basis because of the lack of stream access (pothole lakes).


In lakes where food is adequate and there is a good chance the fish will survive the winters, small fish are stocked and allowed to grow to catch-able sizes (put-grow-and-take fisheries). In other lakes and ponds, where fish cannot survive the winter because of inadequate oxygen (winter kill), larger fish are stocked (put-and-take fisheries).

Government hatcheries raise all the small fish for the put-grow-and-take fisheries. Part of the Sportfishing Licence fee ($1.00) goes to enhanced fish stocking, and raising larger trout for the put-and-take fisheries.


Learn more about Alberta's Fish Stocking Program by clicking here.

To view the 2015 Fish Stocking report, visit this site.
Alberta Crop Report

Following the dry spring, most areas of the province that were in critical need of moisture did receive some precipitation, improving soil moisture ratings and sustaining crop development. 


Recent rain was very spotty causing uneven germination on late seeded crops, especially for canola. Significant rain is needed in

many areas to help crops, hay and pasture develop. The next four weeks (June 15-July 15) will be very important for crop development as it is the rainiest period of the year.


Soil moisture reserves in the province remain mostly poor to fair.

Areas with poor surface moisture are reported in all regions, especially in the North West Region, where poor surface moisture is reported for 66 per cent of the crop land. The South, Central, North
East, and North West Regions are reporting from seven to 34 per cent of crop land in poor condition. 

Provincially, crop growing conditions are 41 per cent good to excellent, which is 48 per cent below the five-year average (2010-2014). About 42 to 55 per cent of spring wheat, barley, durum, lentils and dry peas are in good to excellent condition, while canola is at 32 per cent. 


Click here to view summary tables of the moisture reserves and growing conditions. 


Crop development is somewhat delayed due to hot and dry weather, with most spring cereal crops in the tillering stage, while around half of the canola crop is in the 4-6 leaf node stage. 

Hay and pasture crops continue to be affected by the dry spring conditions. Provincially, 22 per cent of tame hay and pasture are rated good or excellent, up two per cent from last week. First cut haying operations started in the South and Central Regions. 

Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for the management of programs designed to facilitate the development of all components of the agriculture and food industry, to sustain the natural resource base of the industry and to encourage the development of rural communities.

Get the most from Vegetables and Garden Mulches

Source: Mother Earth News

One of the hallmarks of any healthy garden is the effective use of mulches. Defined as materials used to cover the soil's surface, mulches help control weeds, prevent disease, conserve moisture, maintain consistent soil temperatures, enrich the soil with organic matter, reduce foliage and fruit diseases and just make the garden look good. A well-mulched garden can yield up to fifty percent more vegetables than an un-mulched garden space.


Most gardeners prefer biodegradable mulches, such as compost, grass clippings, leaves or straw, because they decompose into soil-building organic matter. In vegetable garden pathways or in orchards, sawdust and wood chips are hard to beat as perpetual mulches (see Use Wood Mulch to Build Great Garden Soil). 


Visit this site to learn more about vegetable garden mulches used to suppress weeds and diseases while moderating soil temperature and conserving moisture. 


Related Content:
Best Vegetables to Grow in the Shade - If you garden without full sun, we'll show you how to bask in great garden harvests.

Weed-Free, Self-Fertilizing, Till-Free Garden Beds - To learn about a worry free, weed free, organically rich vegetable garden bed. 



Alberta Birds of Prey Centre 

(link )


CTV Calagry visited the Centre and prepared this news video! 

Click here to watch it.


Events and News in our Area 


St. Mary's River Irrigation District - home page

The Irrigation Management Branch of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development is launching a new five-year Irrigation Efficiency Program under the Growing Forward 2 suite of agricultural programs. Irrigators that upgrade their irrigation systems may be eligible for up to $5000 in grant funding from the Irrigation Efficiency Program. Funding is limited each year, so applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.Discover more about the Growing Forward 2 Irrigation Efficiency Program from the link on the SMRID home page.

Medicine Hat Stampede July 22 - 25 - home page  

The count down is on! Check out the annual events like the Midway, Horse competition, sale and show, Markets and Entertainment.


Cypress County - home page

A Land Use Amendment Public Hearing is being held on July 21. For details on the affected Bylaws click here.


Bow Island - home page
Burdett Days are being held on July 3 - 5. Follow the link to download the poster for more details. 
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! 

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 Mawer