Rocky View County (RVC) council has lent its support to the Nose Creek Watershed Partnership’s (NCWP) model project, which is currently seeking funding for its second phase.
According to a report presented to council Feb. 11 by project manager Sandi Riemersma, the project has a number of objectives, including developing a watershed-scale model that can measure and predict changes in hydrology and water quality, applying that model to better understand the watershed’s current conditions and evaluating management strategies that can achieve the desired outcomes of the Nose Creek Plan, which was adopted in 2008 and updated in 2019.
“The [Nose Creek] watershed is about 989 square kilometres in size,” she said. “It originates just north of the Town of Crossfield and it flows into the Bow River by the Calgary Zoo.”
NCWP was formed in 1998, Riemersma said, with the goal of protecting riparian areas and managing stream flows in the Nose Creek watershed in order to mitigate the impacts of flood and drought, and improve water quality.
RVC was a founding member of the partnership, along with the City of Airdrie, the City of Calgary, the Town of Crossfield and the Calgary Airport Authority.
Key concerns for the watershed, Riemersma said, are altered hydrology, the loss of natural features and water quality.
“Most of these concerns are heightened by the fast pace of development within the region,” she added.
Urban development can mean an increase in impermeable surface areas, Riemersma said, which can lead to higher stream flows that erode banks and alter water channels. Development can also contribute to the loss of natural features that are able to absorb water, which may increase flood risks.
Further, she said, poor water quality is prevalent in Nose Creek, with high nutrient concentrations stemming from phosphorous and nitrogen.
Phase I of the project – a model scoping study – is currently underway and should be completed by June, Riemersma said. Phase II will begin later this year, based on the availability of funding.
Support from RVC, along with other partners, will allow NCWP to apply for the Alberta Community Partnership Intermunicipal Collaboration Grant of $200,000. In order to apply for the grant, Riemersma said a single municipality must be designated as the managing partner and the Town of Crossfield has volunteered for the role.
RVC council voted unanimously to support the project, and to designate Crossfield as the managing partner.
Airdrie City council gave its support to the project Feb. 18, and Riemersma said the City has also made a $50,000 contribution to Phase II. The Town of Crossfield voted to support the project Jan. 21, she added, and NCWP is waiting for a date to present to the City of Calgary.
- with files from Jessi Gowan
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