Chestermere City Council received the overview of the proposed Lake and Watershed Plan for information during the Dec. 1 Regular Meeting of Council.
The purpose of the Lake and Watershed Plan is to identify threats to the ecosystem, including sedimentation, water quality, invasive species, and habitat for fish and wildlife.
“At a very high level this plan is intended to guide and prioritize future stewardship activities to ensure for the long-term sustainability of Chestermere Lake and the watershed,” said the Director of Community Operations, Kathy Russell.
“Chestermere Lake is our greatest asset, but it’s also heavily influenced and impacted by activity happening upstream within the larger watershed,” she said.
Work will begin in 2021 and will include building stronger regional relationships by working with the Western Irrigation District (WID), Rocky View County (RVC), the Bow River Basin Council, the province of Alberta, the City of Calgary, and the Alberta Lake Management Society.
“The plan will also champion a safe community by identifying threats to our ecosystem based on scientific information that will be gathered,” Russell said.
“The plan will seek community alignment by developing a long-term vision for the lake and watershed and achieve the right balance between protecting the lake’s ecology and natural environment with heavier demands for recreational activities,” she said.
In 2018, the City of Chestermere developed a Recreation Lake Safety Plan and began the public engagement process, in 2019 the Lake Safety Pilot Program was implemented with an emphasis on boat safety education, and in 2020 a temporary beach bylaw due to crowding issues and the need for patrons to exercise safe practices was introduced.
“A lot of work has been completed to date. The next step is to look closely at the environmental factors that influence our watershed and develop a watershed plan,” Russell said.
“There are a number of risks that threaten our lake, some of these risks can quietly escalate until we reach a tipping point which can really cause some changes to either aquatic plant health or water quality,” she said.
Adding, “The best investment is to mitigate these risks by identifying what the key metrics are that will help us to monitor and manage the lake and the watershed in a way that is going in the right direction.”
Going forward, Russell and the Chestermere Lake and Watershed Committee are looking at different invasive species preventative strategies, determining the desired outcomes, gathering historical data of the lake, engaging the community and lake users to determine the long-term vision of lake and watershed, and creating a plan with recommendations and action steps.