The City of Airdrie will continue its efforts to protect local riparian areas and improve the community’s water quality, following a unanimous council vote at a regular meeting Jan. 21 endorsing recent updates to the Nose Creek Watershed Management Plan (WMP). According to Sandi Riemersma, environmental biologist with Palliser Environmental Services Ltd., the Nose Creek Watershed Partnership (NCWP) – which includes the City of Airdrie, Calgary Airport Authority, the City of Calgary and Rocky View County – was formed in 1998 to address concerns regarding the future condition of Nose Creek and West Nose Creek. The initial WMP was completed in 2008. “The Nose Creek watershed is impacted by the cumulative effects of increasing residential and commercial development, industrial growth, storm water discharge, agricultural activity and stream channelization,” she said. “The NCWP continues to promote stewardship of Nose Creek watershed resources through the implementation of the WMP.” In 2016, the NCWP began the process of updating the existing WMP, according to Riemersma – reflecting advancements in knowledge, changes in provincial and municipal policies and addressing new challenges in the management of land and water resources. “Recommendations in the plan were made to systematically work toward achieving desired outcomes for improved stormwater management, good water quality, retention of riparian areas and wetlands in urbanizing areas and preservation of biodiversity in the watershed,” she said. “The updated plan represents a renewed commitment by the partnership to support common goals and objectives that aim to improve and maintain watershed conditions for future generations.” Most notably, the newly-endorsed WMP increases the riparian setback for developable land within the Nose Creek watershed area to align with setbacks enforced by neighbouring jurisdictions, Riemersma said, which requires an amendment to the City Plan. “Watercourses are preserved using a 10 metre buffer – six metres of this is already protected by the Municipal Government Act, and the additional four metres is recommended for riparian protection,” she said. The plan also recommends additional monitoring of the Nose Creek channel for potential erosion issues and continued projects to control invasive species, the development of a water monitoring program, and a stronger focus on stormwater management and planning – including the proposed construction of a hydrologic/hydraulic water quality model, to guide this decision-making. Prior to council’s vote, Mayor Peter Brown expressed an interest in bringing the Town of Crossfield into the partnership. According to Parks Development Co-ordinator Jessica Sleeman, the neighbouring municipality was a partner until 2016, when it withdrew with no explanation as to why. “I know that they’ve increased the amount of effluent a year ago – I’m not sure that would happen if they were a part of this partnership,” Brown said. “I’m going to reach out to Mayor Tennant, myself, to make that inquiry.” Following council’s endorsement of the WMP, Sleeman said, a communications plan will be developed to inform residents about the next phase of implementation.