New signage builds watershed awareness

Signs are part of an initiative to encourage engagement with watershed issues

While driving through central Alberta you likely have never thought about how ditches can be mini wetlands or that they form part of the Red Deer Watershed. Two new road signs indicating you are entering a major watershed were recently installed on Highway 22 north of Cochrane Lakes and on Highway 54 west of Caroline to get people thinking about the watershed.

“We wanted to increase public awareness of the Red Deer River Watershed” said Jeff Hanger, Executive Director of the RDRWA.

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance (RDRWA) partnered with Alberta Transportation and this is one of the first projects of its kind in Alberta.

“We wanted people to know when they are entering our watershed. The Red Deer River Watershed is home to some of Central Alberta’s finest lakes, world class fishing opportunities, internationally important agricultural resources and some key industries.

“While many people understand the need to protect our rivers, many don’t understand that streams, wetlands, creeks and other waterways drain into the Red Deer River [and Sylvan Lake]. These signs are a first step towards learning more about how our shared water resources impact our lives,” he said.

RDRWA works with watershed stewardship groups to monitor the state of the watershed and make recommendations to decision makers. The road signs are just one of the projects the group has initiated to encourage engagement in local issues and share information on water, land use, habitat and key watershed issues.

Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy states that “Albertans will have access to the knowledge needed to achieve safe drinking water, healthy aquatic ecosystems and reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy.” RDRWA intends for the signs to play a role, however small, in pointing to the importance of a resilient and healthy watershed.

18 signs are eventually going to be placed around central Alberta, from Clearwater County to Acadia Valley over the next couple of years.



myranicks@eckvilleecho.com

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