ALMS Conference /RDRWA Fall Forum event highlights

The two-day conference hosted and supported by the Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS), the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance (RDRWA) and Red Deer River Naturalists was a remarkable learning event which celebrated the critical value of lakes, rivers, wetlands and surrounding lands that make up the watersheds of Alberta.

From Sylvan Lake, Mayor Megan Hanson, set the tone for the conference with a warm welcome. Her words reminded us of the importance of our mission to protect and conserve these vital water resources.

Day 1: The first day featured insightful presentations on various topics, including Indigenous community-based monitoring (specifically fish monitoring by the Métis Nation of Alberta), invasive fish management, lessons and updates regarding regulatory decisions, and the unique relationship between Alberta’s lakes and piping plover populations. Attendees also learned about innovative satellite validation of cyanobacteria blooms and the importance of a modernized Atlas of Alberta Lakes. The day ended with heartwarming stories celebrating Alberta’s wetland wildlife from Myrna Pearman of the Red Deer River Naturalists.

Day 2: The second day continued the exploration with presentations on projects like the Acadia Irrigation Project and the Blindman River Diversion at Gull Lake. Attendees also gained insights into bulrush restoration, nitrate contamination of shallow groundwater, isotopes to understand lakes, and the Lake Pulse project.

The conference concluded with a tour of local attractions, including the Sylvan Lake Lighthouse, Sylvan Star Cheese, the Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Gaetz Lake Sanctuary. Links to conference presentations here

RDRWA colleagues and I would like to highlight a few of our favourite speakers – though we did enjoy them all!!

  • Christine Grams and Tracey Hammer (Braided Ways of Knowing), from the Métis Nation of Alberta, provided a thought-provoking presentation on a culturally relevant approach to aquatic monitoring, emphasizing the importance of traditional knowledge.
  • Myrna Pearman (Celebrating Alberta’s Wetland Wildlife), on behalf of the Red Deer River Naturalist (RDRN) concluded the day with heartwarming stories of the ecological significance of wetland wildlife.
  • Trent Caskey (Acadia Irrigation Project), from the Special Areas Board shed light on the Acadia Irrigation Project, highlighting its impact on the Red Deer River watershed’s water resources.
  • Paul Anderson discussed the Blindman River Diversion at Gull Lake, providing insights into this significant project. This group is working on increasing the levels of Gull Lake by pumping water from the Blindman River without introducing invasive species.

Throughout the event, attendees and speakers demonstrated a shared commitment to preserving Alberta’s aquatic ecosystems, making the conference a resounding success in advancing our relationships, and knowledge on watershed conservation and management topics.