Ghost Watershed work beginning

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Work is set to begin toward mitigating human impacts on the Ghost Watershed – a 1,000 square kilometre area that affects the Bow River.

An extensive report regarding the status of the State of the Watershed (SOW) project was presented last weekend at the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society (GWAS) Annual General Meeting and now the organization is going to begin seeking a third party to help turn the report into an interactive project.

“It would be very visual with a lot of maps and photos and just to give you the highlights,” said executive director Marina Krainer.

“Ideally, it would be something that is really easy for people to grasp. For example, if it was a video, something that is no longer than four or five minutes.”

Much of the Ghost watershed is on public land within the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve and MD of Bighorn.

It also includes the Ghost River – a tributary of the Bow River providing close to seven per cent of the flow of the Bow upstream of Cochrane and Calgary.

The goal for the organization is to identify and resolve ecosystem and environmental issues affecting the watershed of the Ghost-Waiparous and raise public awareness.

“Everybody has an impact,” she said. “What I don’t like is people are finger pointing … We really want to convey the message that it’s a cumulative effect of all land usages.”

At the AGM, Krainer went over some of the major threats to the area found in the SOW report.

It included the discovery of a coliform and E. coli presence in one area, as well as the need for the area to sustain large wetland complexes to better understand how they function.

Another big challenge is recreational trail networks used by ATVs and other motorized recreational vehicles.

“There is a lot of erosion happening on those trails and a lot of runoff that ends up in the stream,” Krainer said, adding many critical fish habitats have a direct impact on the headwaters.

The GWAS received a $10,000 grant for the project from the Land Stewardship Centre of Alberta, which must be spent by March 31, 2018.

“We are definitely looking for ideas from experienced people with such an outreach project,” said Krainer, adding they don’t have a lot of time to get the project started.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook