Integrated Watershed Management Plan

An Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) is a guiding document for use by landowners, governments, planners, and all other stakeholders in a watershed. It sets out common goals and objectives for the log term management of land and water resources in the basin. IWMPs are developed cooperatively by stakeholders from across the watershed; it includes residents, local industry, interest groups and others. The IWMP for the Lesser Slave Watershed Council states shared goals for the region and outlines actions to achieve those goals to manage land, water and related resources on a whole watershed basis.

There are a number of tasks involved in developing a plan. Land and water related issues in the watershed need to be identified and prioritized, projects or policies must be developed to address the issues, and it must be identified how land and water management programs will be carried out throughout the watershed.

A watershed management plan is considered integrated when:

  • The planning process is inclusive and broad and combines the needs of diverse watershed stakeholders;
  • There is recognition of the balance between ecosystem, community and economic health;
  • The process respects the integration of activities on the land and their impact on water.

The LSWC, in consultation with the community and stakeholders, developed a Terms of reference to guide the development of the plan in 2015. The provincial Framework for Water Management Planning (Alberta Environment 1999) and the Guide to Watershed Planning in Alberta (Alberta Government 2015) were consulted. The IWMP aligns with preceding and current provincial planning initiatives and municipal goals, objectives, plans and policies. 

This IWMP does not have legislative authority. However, the Government of Alberta considers IWMP's valuable planning documents that can inform other policy and regional planning initiatives.

The Lesser Slave IWMP:

  • Takes a strong, comprehensive watershed approach. 
  • Encourages municipal influence by providing recommendations related to municipal development planning, including land use by laws, for future lake shore (subdivision) development planning that is consistent with the goals and objectives of the plan. 
  • Considers fisheries and wildlife management
  • Provides specific recommendations that are accompanied by greater implementation detail, as opposed to general recommendations that are not easily implemented. 

Watershed Plan Goals and Objectives


Roles and Responsibilities

Collaboration between multiple levels of government, various industries, NGOs, landowners, leaseholders, and watershed residents is essential to managing cumulative effects in the watershed. Successful implementation of this plan will be achieved when agencies, organizations, and other recognize and accept their individual or shared responsibility for addressing collective goals and objectives. General roles and responsibilities for key stakeholders are described in section 8. A comprehensive list of applicable legislation, policies and guidelines is provided in Appendix B (pages 85-96) 

Download the complete IWMP and Appendices HERE

Download a copy of the IWMP Summary document HERE

Implementation of the plan

A strategy guides the implementation of the Lesser Slave IWMP. The strategy lists specific actions needed to implement recommendations, indicates who is responsible for implementing the recommendation and suggests timelines. A short-list of actions was prioritized by the LSWC and IWMP Steering Committee to initiate the implementation of the Plan. Priorities were directed to recommendations that had watershed-wide benefits, filled urgent needs or data gaps, and aligned with current goals and objectives. 

Administrative Priorities

1. Work with partners to identify priorities and refine implementation actions according to short-term, medium and long-term timelines.
2. Identify and seek funding and in-kind resource support.
3. Review plan implementation progress annually.

Project Priorities

1. Design and implement a water monitoring program for rivers and lakes.
2. Collaborate with partners to develop the watershed-scale hydrologic model to better understand watershed hydrology.
3. Implement recommendations that relate to stewardship of water and the aquatic environment.

A tracking spreadsheet was developed to monitor progress and successes in the implementation of the actions related to Lesser Slave IWMP recommendations. The implementation tracking sheet was updated regularly by LSWC staff. Actions were documented for each recommendation by the organization who undertook the action. One action resulted in score of 1 in the spreadsheet. The key outcomes for the IWMP recommendations are colour-coded in the implementation report to represent actions related to watershed stewardship, research and monitoring, planning and policy, education and literacy, administration. 

Download the 2020 IWMP Implementation progress report HERE 

See the Past Planning Work page for details on previous planning work and community engagement associated with the IWMP.