President’s Report for the SLWSS Annual General Meeting 2016
State of the Watershed 2016
Our comprehensive report “The Sylvan Lake Watershed-Second Edition” documents changes in the key indicators that affect the state of the watershed. Data on Environmental, Social and Economic Cumulative Effects variables are compiled for time periods of one or more decades and present a picture of a relatively stable environment.
Water Quality Monitoring 2016
With the cooperation of the Alberta Lake Management Society technicians, and funding provided by the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance (RDRWA), the Sylvan Lake Management Committee (SLMC) member municipalities, and the SLWSS, the Society has monitored the water quality of Sylvan Lake. Photo albums of the lake sampling expeditions are posted on our SLWSS News blog site. The preliminary analytical data indicate that in a year with little spring runoff the nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient concentrations have been lower than the long term average. The lake water clarity has remained very high with Secchi disk depth measurements typically greater than 5 metres.
GIS Technology for Watershed Monitoring
The Society demonstrated how Google Earth Pro and publicly available satellite imagery and Geographic Information System (GIS) data can be applied to monitor and analyze the state of the watershed. The methodology was shown to delegates who attended the Central Alberta Recreational Lakes (CARL) forum convened in Sylvan Lake on May 14.
Cooperation with Other Watershed Organizations
We formally reviewed our experience with the Cumulative Effects Management System (CEMS) project in a paper presented to the ALMS annual meeting held in Stony Plain in September 2015.
We maintain official contact with the RDRWA and attend events that complement our interests.
The Cumulative Effects Management System Project
The CEMS project, a joint initiative of Alberta Environment and the SLMC with significant input from the Society, has failed to meet its initial goals and expectations. The Society has proposed an alternative to the CEMS concept as a way to monitor watershed cumulative effects using existing municipal public and GIS records.
Nature Alberta’s Living by Water Program
The Society has promoted the Nature Alberta Living by Water program for several years and enabled more than 86 property owners to benefit from Home Assessments. In past years we recognized their dedication to conservation and environmental protection by presenting a unique yard sign. This year Summer Village residents were provided with a pamphlet about the program and how to participate in it. One resident participated. Our evidence is that redevelopment of some lakeshore properties violates the fundamental principles of the Living by Water program.
Government Affairs in 2016
The Society advised the Sylvan Lake Management Committee, the voluntary association of watershed municipalities that have adopted the non-statutory Sylvan Lake Management Plan 2000, that we will no longer participate in the group’s quarterly meetings as an invited observer. The reasons for that Board decision are outlined in this letter.
The Society presented a statement on the potential impact of the West Area structure plan at a public hearing of the Town of Sylvan Lake with regard to transport of silt from construction sites through Marina Bay into Sylvan Lake in Golf Course Creek runoff. We recorded several cases of increased turbidity in stormwater runoff.
The major Sylvan Lake Groundwater Project proposed by the Alberta Geological Service and the Dutch specialized consultancy Deltares was not funded by Alberta Innovates so the regional study has been postponed. Consequently, we took no action on watershed groundwater in 2016 to investigate well water quality and aquifer levels.
Quiet Enjoyment Initiative
The QEI subcommittee chaired by Kent Lyle continued its efforts to have local municipal bylaws adopted to control the sources of noise on the lake. An education and boat launch site signage project was developed at the request of the SLMC. Subsequent support by the municipal members of the SLMC was mixed and disappointing to the hard-working sub-committee. The QEI message resonated with and received considerable major and local media interest in its efforts to promote respect for others. An expanded QEI subcommittee report is posted here.
We ordered a ceramic tile for the new lighthouse with inscription: “Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society: Protecting the lake’s natural assets and values through vigilance and science”.
We created several 3 x 4-foot display posters to capture and present the message and work of the Society. These posters are set up at various events in which the SLWSS is invited to participate. They are available for download from our “House of Posters” folder.
Society Websites for Public Communication
Our websites contain news and reference content on all aspects of the lake, its surrounding land, and the interactions between the two. See:
Society Board and Administration
The Board met quarterly during the fiscal year. Directors are thanked for their service to the watershed. The treasurer’s financial statement for FY 2015-16 summarizes our minimal expenditures. The Society’s PayPal online account has facilitated membership renewal. Our access to Servus bank records is now online.
Graeme Strathdee, President, SLWSS