What's the SRWI?

Been clicking around on our website to see what's new? Or maybe just what's unfamiliar? Maybe you came across the SRWI page... or the Swan River Watershed Initiative page. The Swan River Watershed Initiative is an informal collaboration between industry, governments, Swan River First Nation, NGO's and the Lesser Slave Watershed Council. The Swan River Watershed is part of the traditional territory of Swan River First Nation. In addition to traditional Indigenous land-based practices, it provides habitat for many species of plants and animals including Grizzly Bears and Arctic Grayling. The LSWC is supporting stewardship efforts in the Swan River watershed by industry, government and Indigenous communities. This area is a sub-watershed of the Lesser Slave Watershed. It has many partnerships, projects and stories to tell. 

Over the years, Swan River First Nation has taken the lead in researching the river and its surrounding landscape, curating partnerships along the way. Thankfully, they have involved the Lesser Slave Watershed Council in the conversation. With so many projects on the go, inducing water quality monitoring, eDNA tracking, and biodiversity projects to name a few, the area has a story to tell and we are just now learning how to listen. 

The Swan River Watershed Initiative was a project to bring together the work happening along the Swan River to help those working around the area understand land uses, the work being done, and to help avoid duplication of work. In 2022, the LSWC was able to fund a video project to help raise awareness of all the great work being done after an update at a regular board meeting shocked many attendees. The video features many partnerships between industry partners like Cardinal Energy and Aspenleaf Energy with Swan River First Nation, and of course, with the LSWC. You can check out the video here: Arctic Grayling- Swimming Upstream in the Swan River

Since the video project, more information surfaced about the various research projects happening across the sub-watershed, which prompted a further report. Using data from the Swan River First Nation projects, a State of the Watershed report is being compiled to sum up what we know and what we have yet to learn about the sub-watershed. We hope to combine Western Science with Oral Tradition and Traditional Ecological Knowledge to paint a more complete picture. As all these pieces come together, we hope that we are able to grow information and fill data gaps across all other sub-watersheds: East and West Prairie Rivers, South Heart River, Lesser Slave Lake North, Driftpile River, and Lesser Slave River. The more information we have, the better we can understand the natural processes of the watershed, helping us make better management decisions now and for the future. 

By: Kate Lovsin