Feature Articles

Heading to the Headwaters

Elbow River Watershed Partnership Annual General Meeting and Bus Tour - June 19, 2015

Written by: Diane Coleman,
Chair Elbow River Watershed Partnership

More than 40 enthusiastic people had gathered in the Weaselhead parking lot when the sun broke through – a good omen for ERWP’s 2015 AGM and Bus Tour: Heading to the Headwaters.

At our first stop beside the Elbow River, near the site of the proposed (and controversial) Springbank Off-Stream Storage Reservoir (SR1), two speakers presented their views on the current status of flood mitigation on the Elbow.

Mary Robinson from Don't Damn Springbank, a local rancher whose family has ranched on this land for more than 120 years, described local landowners’ point of view regarding SR1. Megan van Ham from Alberta WaterSMART summarized their December 2014 Room for the River report to the Government of Alberta, including the Room for the River concept and options for water diversion, conveyance and detention. The Alberta Resilience and Mitigation Branch of AESRD, and their SR1 consultants Stantec, were also invited to speak but declined, citing delays due to the recent change in government.

Read more: Heading to the Headwaters

When Conditions Collide

Climate change and land development bind flood and drought to Elbow River basin

By: C. Lacombe

Raise your hand if you wish you had a crystal ball. The brilliant decisions you should make; the prosperous directions you would take and the healthy lifestyle you could adopt all clearly laid out for maximum success.

Sigh… wonderful.

Okay, we don’t have crystal balls and the future will surely throw us curve balls. But, we do have growing aptitude in computer modeling based on existing data and knowledge that are close.

“If the model is built with good data of high quality that truly represents what is happening in the watershed in terms of hydrology, land use and climate change, then we have a tool to run scenarios and see what might happen in the future,” says Dr. Danielle Marceau Schulich Chair in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) and Environmental Modeling at University of Calgary. Over the past six years, Dr. Marceau led a study of five climate change scenarios in the Elbow River watershed hydrology and a changing land use study. Then, she led a combined study looking at hydrological changes under climate change and land use change to see how these components might affect Elbow River hydrology.

Read more: When Conditions Collide

Check Out Alberta Tomorrow

As it appeared in the July, 2014 Newsletter.

by C. Lacombe

We all suppose that we know the best way forward for ourselves and our families. We may even think we can chart a path for our communities, our province, our country and possibly our planet. But we rarely get to put our ideas to the test. 

For Albertans, there is a place you can go and test your theories. It’s called Alberta Tomorrow and it is an educational tool created by a Foundation of the same name. 

My first plan for the future, I turned Bragg Creek into a city larger than Calgary. I’m not sure how I did that; there is a learning curve to the tool. However, I rather enjoyed playing Environmental Queen for a day.

Read more: Check Out Alberta Tomorrow

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