Engagement and Past Planning

Fall 2016

As part of the development of its Integrated Watershed Management Plan, the Lesser Slave Watershed Council held two community workshops to provide feedback on a working draft of the watershed plan. Workshops were held in High Prairie (October 18) and Slave Lake (October 19).

Thanks to everyone who attended and provided input.

A summary document (PDF), which contains key contents of the working draft of the Integrated Watershed Management Plan, was developed to guide the engagement

The results of the engagement process are contained in a report that can be downloaded (PDF) or download the Executive Summary (PDF).

The Watershed Council has been meeting with First Nations and Métis communities in the watershed since the fall of 2015.

In July, the Watershed Council met with representatives from municipal governments in the watershed — the Municipal Working Group — to review an early version of the plan. Local governments have a key role to play in the development and implementation of the plan. The Municipal Working Group met again on October 20, 2016.

The watershed planning process is being assisted by a Technical Advisory Committee, which consists of members from government, industry, academia, conservation and other sectors and provides technical and professional advice to support the development of the plan.

2015 Watershed Planning - Finding Solutions

The Lesser Slave Watershed Council held two workshops to help develop solutions to problems in the watershed. The workshops were held in High Prairie on November 4, 2015 and in Slave Lake on November 5, 2015. About 40 people attended the workshops. For those who were unable to attend the workshops, there was an online response form that closed on November 27, 2015.

Results from the workshops and the response forms were used to prepare a report on the consultation process. A summary of that report follows: 

As work begins on the Lesser Slave Watershed Council’s watershed plan, the Watershed Council needs to engage with stakeholders and make sure they understand the process so they can participate and provide input throughout the development of the plan. The Watershed Council also needs to engage in relationship building with the First Nations and Métis Settlements in the watershed.

Based on previous public and stakeholder consultations, State of the Watershed Report, Risk Assessment, the Technical Update, and other Watershed Council documents, the Watershed Council identified 11 issues that need addressing in the watershed plan:

  1. Increased phosphorus loading and associated algae growth in lakes
  2. Increased land development causing erosion, run-off, and sedimentation, and loss of wetlands
  3. Stream crossings in upper watershed fragment fish habitat, and cause erosion and sediment loading
  4. Agricultural crop production contributes to sedimentation and nutrient loading, and chemical use degrades water quality and harms aquatic species
  5. Increased freshwater use across all sectors
  6. Unstable Lake levels
  7. Impact of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater and the demand for freshwater
  8. Degradation and loss of riparian are
  9. Degradation and loss of wetlands
  10. Unrestricted access to streams and riparian areas by livestock degrades riparian areas and water quality
  11. Lack of knowledge on cumulative water withdrawal

Five First Nations, two Métis Settlements and one Métis organization were contacted and meetings took place with the Swan River First Nation, the Driftpile First Nation and Peavine Métis Settlement. Contact was made with the other Aboriginal groups and groundwork was laid down for future meetings.

As these are initial First Nations and Métis meetings, no agreements were reached on sharing of information. Until those agreements are established, no documentation will be published.

All the meetings were positive and there was a strong desire on the part of all parties at all meetings to meet again.

The objectives of the stakeholder workshops were to:

  1. Clarify the roles and responsibilities of the various players
  2. Ensure everyone understands what an integrated watershed management plan is, why it important, and how they are contributing to it
  3. Seek stakeholder advice and input on solutions to problems and issues in the watershed and who should implement them
  4. Seek stakeholder input on how their agency or organization is already addressing issues in the watershed
  5. Identify areas where stakeholders require more information
  6. Provide opportunities for everyone to be heard
  7. Evaluate the process so subsequent consultations can better meet participants’ needs

Two day-long workshops were held. About 13 people participated in the High Prairie workshop on November 4, 2015 and 23 people attended the workshop in Slave Lake on November 5, 2015. An online response form was created for stakeholders who were unable to attend the workshops.

The over-arching questions in this consultation process were:

  1. What are the solutions for each of the 11 problems or issues?
  2. Who should implement them?
  3. What is your organization/agency already doing to address these issues in the watershed?

A summary table of solutions, both suggested and those that are already being implemented, was created and is presented in the report. The solutions are derived from the two workshops and the response form results.

It is now the job of the IWMP Steering Committee, with assistance from the Technical Advisory Committee and watershed planning and engagement specialists, to develop the goals and objectives and recommended management actions of the watershed plan.

To download the entire report click here: LSWC-IWMPEngageReptPublic (PDF)

2014 preparing for the plan

In 2015 the LSWC worked with CPP Environmental to complete a watershed risk assessment, develop a communication and engagement strategy, and a Terms of Reference for the Project Steering Committee. 

The LSWC Steering Committee also finalized the IWMP project terms of Reference and it was submitted to Alberta Environment and Parks. Download the IWMP Terms of Reference. Please note that the Terms of reference needs to be updated to reflect changes to the plan and process since its initial creation i 2015. 

2013 - Stakeholder Engagement and preparing a Terms of Reference

Structured Decision Making (SDM) is an organized and transparent framework for identifying and evaluating creative options and making defensible choices in situations characterized by multiple interests, high stakes, and uncertainty.

Structured Decision Making is:

  • A common-sense set of core steps to aid decisions
  • A set of structuring tools from the decision sciences
  • A clear way to distinguish between values and facts
  • Informed by the social and physical sciences
  • An integration of analysis and deliberation
  • Flexible, scalable and iterative

On September 19th the LSWC and Aquality Environmental hosted a stakeholder workshop. The goals of the workshop were to:

  • Introduce the watershed issues and concerns highlighted in the Abell’s Henry report (2012).
  • Introduce the concept of SDM to stakeholders within the watershed and provide a venue to gather information and input towards the development of an IWMP.
  • Openly discuss watershed issues, risk and prioritization strategies.
  • Through the SDM process first steps; determine next steps and future direction for the IWMP and associated technical studies.

Aquality Environmental prepared a summary document outlining the IWMP planning process, the SDM process and what the main water management concerns of the September 19th participants were. The appendix to the document provide a copy of the information PowerPoint that was delivered by Jay White at the workshop and a copy of the participant workbook.

For a copy, please download the PDF: SDM Workshop Summary Report

On February 20th Jay White and Amanda Cooper joined the LSWC in hosting a half day session in Kinuso for stakeholders. Jay presented information about watershed planning in Alberta and explained the purpose of the project Terms of Reference that is under development.

Download a PDF version of Jay’s Presentation - HERE

2012 - Watershed Visioning

Click here, to download a copy of the IWMP Project Information Sheet

In 2012, the LSWC worked with Susan Abells and Mike Henry to reach out to people who live, work and play in our watershed to find out what matters to them when it comes to our water and our lake. The first part of the project involved selecting 24 people from around the watershed, and providing the LSWC with a broad representation of all stakeholder groups and interests.

The LSWC project team members conducted one on one interviews with participants and asked the following questions:

  • In the time you have lived here, what are the changes you have seen or concerns that you have? What do you think is the cause of these changes or concerns?
  • What do you think the greatest risks to our watershed as we move into the future?
  • Based on the changes, concerns, and risks you identified, on a scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being not concerned and 5 being very concerned, how concerned are you about the future of our watershed?
  • What do you think we need to do now to address your concerns?
    • Who do you think is responsible for doing this?
    • What do you think the Lesser Slave Watershed Council can do to help?
    • What do you think you can do to help?
  • Are there areas in our watershed that you are aware of that you feel should be protected or preserved?

Based on what we heard during the interviews an online survey was developed to reach out to the broader watershed and quantify their feelings around the watershed issues and concerns identified. The survey was posted on the LSWC website for a month and we received about 60 responses.

students-300x221.jpegMike and Susan engaged high school students in the project by visiting three high school classes in High Prairie. The Science 10 and Biology 20 students were very helpful in sharing their ideas and thoughts with us. Two public open houses were held to present the findings of the interviews and survey. The Slave Lake and High Prairie events had about a dozen people at each and those who came were very engaged in the subject matter. At the open house events, the LSWC Executive Director shared information about the LSWC and the role of WPAC’s in watershed planning in Alberta to set the context for the issue scoping presentation that Susan Abells delivered.

The Grade 10 Science Students at EW Pratt had an excellent grasp of why we need to manage water resources properly. After all, they are our future!

For a full project description and results please download the PDF: Final Report