RDRWA WPAC Summit highlights

The Annual Watershed Planning and Advisory Council Summit was hosted by the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance on October 12th and 13th in Drumheller, Alberta. There were staff and board representatives present from all 11 WPACs along with rights holders and watershed stakeholders creating over 70 participants in attendance.

The Watershed Planning and Advisory Council Summit shared a wealth of knowledge and renewed connections. Elder Bernice Stoney gave an inspiring opening, blessing, and prayer to begin our summit. Day one included presentations on State of Watershed Reporting & Planning projects, tools, and summarized some Watershed Planning and Advisory Council Outreach and Literacy activities. There were also updates from recent studies on climate change and drinking water supplies (Caity Seifert, Athabasca Watershed Council) and monitoring using CABIN and the Eastern Slopes model (Emily McIvor, ECCC; Shannon Frank, OWC).  Sandra Cooke (Canadian Water Network) gave a great plenary on ‘Shaping the Future of Integrated Water Management in Canada: the Role of Watershed Organizations’ and other watershed partners (EPCOR, AWC, Land Stewardship Centre) shared their updates. The day ended with an evening celebration of 20 years of Water for Life and an award ceremony.  On day two, the presentations focused on regional topics including: multi-year drought management, shallow groundwater quality, and riparian health and restoration projects. Local presentations included: Rosebud River Watershed Restoration in Wheatland County (Sarah Schumacher, Wheatland County & Kelsey Spicer Rawe, Cows and Fish), and an Overview of the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Program (Deighen Blakely, Town of Drumheller).  The summit ended with a walking tour of the East Coulee Berm Project and a visit for some to the Royal Tyrell Museum.  Thank you to everyone who spoke and attended, it was a pleasure to see and hear from all of you!

Day One Presentations:

Online State of the Watershed, A New Approach -Mike Murray & Brooke Kapeller, BRBC

Taking Notice to Take Action: Integrating Environment, Community, and Health -Catherine Pierce, BRWA

Connecting Riparian Data and Strategy to the State of the Watershed– Scott Millar, NSWA

Source Water Protection Planning Tools – AWC Project Update and NSWA THREATS Tool – Stephanie Neufeld, EPCOR & Alec Carrigy, AWC

Climate Change and Community Drinking Water Supplies in the Athabasca Watershed – Caity Seifert, Athabasca Watershed Council

Cumulative Effects Monitoring with CABIN – Emily McIvor , ECCC

Shaping the Future of Integrated Water Management in Canada: the Role of Watershed Organizations – Sandra Cooke, Canadian Water Network

Healthy Watersheds, Healthy Communities- Taking Care of the World we Share -Brian IInicki, Land Stewardship Centre

Indigenous Outreach & Engagement Internship -Amy Charles, RDRWA

Highlights of WPAC Education & Outreach Programs– Kate Lovsin , LSWC; Sarah Skinner, BRWA; Shannon Frank, OWC; Kayla Hellum, LICA; Ashley Johnson , AWC-WPAC

Day Two Presentations:

Building Resiliency to Multi- Year Drought – A preview of Workshops Available for delivery this Winter! – Tim Romanow, Milk River Watershed Council

Rosebud River Watershed Restoration in Wheatland County – Sarah Schumacher & Kelsey Spicer Rawe

Riparian Mapping Update for the Red Deer River Basin – Jennifer Caudron, RDRWA

Program Overview Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Program – Deighen Blakely, Town of Drumheller

Final thank you to:

  • Town of Drumheller for your hospitality, particularly Deputy Mayor Tom Zariski
  • Event Sponsors: Napier Theatre- Popcorn (90 bags); 6WEST COFFEE ROASTER – coffee (3 bags); Hawktail Brewery – beer (1 flat); Nature’s Essential Garden – soap (all participants); Troubled Monk – pint cards; Field & Forge Brewing Co. – beer (10 flats) and sparkling water (2 flats); Olds College Brewery – growler bags (2) and $25 gift cards (2); Royal Tyrell Museum (10% off admission).
  • RDRWA’s municipal and industrial sponsors, and annual funding from the Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas to support staff planning time and additional event costs.
  • Meghan Payne, Petra Rowell, and Tim Romanow (external WPAC Summit Planning Support Committee), and Thalia Aspeslet(event co-chair)


RDRWA staff (Amy Charles, Darian Coulter, Kelly Dodds, Francine Forrest)