Pigeon Lake residents step forward with input

Pigeon Lake Watershed Management Plan committee says strong participation in draft plan process

Judging by the response to a draft plan to improve the health of Pigeon Lake, a lot of people want to know more about the effort and how they can help.

The Pigeon Lake Watershed Management Plan (PLWMP) Steering Committee emailed out a report at the end of June including an update on the draft watershed management plan. The draft plan is a blueprint for achieving the goal of improving Pigeon Lake’s health, was available at public meetings recently and online, and was the subject of a survey as well.

Susan Ellis, chair of the engagement committee, said the draft plan is a relatively large but important document with lots of information. The committee encouraged lake area residents to read the draft plan and then fill out a survey voicing their opinion on the document. As it turns out, as of the end of June, 127 surveys have been filled in on behalf of at least 283 people.

“In some ways, I’m very happy with the response,” said Ellis by phone July 6.

Ellis stated the draft plan has a lot more science behind it with a more robust understanding of the different zones at Pigeon Lake.

Looking at the 127 surveys completed, Ellis said ensuring run-off into the lake is clean appears to be a huge concern. Three other top areas of concern were phosphorus management, in-lake management and cooperation.

“People understand how critical it is to work together,” said Ellis, who added she feels people understand a combination of work in different areas will make a big difference in the lake. “A lot of this is going to require sustained action over time.”

Looking forward, she said four things will help the effort to improve Pigeon lake’s health: residents keeping up to date, lot owners implementing clean runoff approaches, stakeholders participating in the public consultation process including open houses and annual donations to help support the project.

Ellis stated the draft plan continues to be available for perusal online (www . plwmp . ca/plan) and the survey will also be available all summer so more stakeholders can voice their opinions.

She said one other thing became evident after reading the survey results. “There are a lot of people who really care about the lake,” she added.

Pigeon Lake Draft Watershed Management Plan Update (full text)

The Pigeon Lake Watershed Management Plan (PLWMP) Steering Committee released a draft Plan for Pigeon Lake. The purpose is to coordinate action for the protection and improvement of Pigeon Lake, its shore lands, and its watershed. The plan’s goals are to reduce the frequency and intensity of algal blooms, improve the health of the watershed and the lake and improve the recreational value of the lake and economic health of the region.

Opportunities for Input

The PLWMP Steering Committee created opportunities for the people to give input to the Plan. Recent engagement about the draft plan included:

1. A leaders session was held April 29, that introduced, discussed and listened to a wide range of Pigeon Lake leaders thoughts about the key components of the plan. Forty-eight people attended that session. The committee simplified and updated the plan with some of the leaders session suggestions.

2. The draft plan was made available via www . plwmp . ca/plan to full and part-time residents, as well as people who use and care about the lake. Open houses were held June 3 (south side of lake) and June 10 (north side of lake). Sixty-five people attended.

3. An on-line public survey was made available. People are encouraged to read the plan and fill in the survey. As of the end of June, 127 surveys have been filled in on behalf of at least 283 people.

4. Alberta Environment and Parks experts (a limnologist, a planner, and a hydrologist) reviewed the plan and have given the committee their feedback. Generally, the feedback is very positive.

The PLWMP committee greatly appreciates those who have taken time to learn about the draft plan and provide us with feedback. The survey continues to be open so more people may participate over the summer.

The PLWA will do a brief introduction of the plan at many of the annual information meetings or will come to a neighbourhood meeting. If you’d like to invite us email plwmpinfo@gmail.com or plwainfo@gmail.com.

So far, strong support

While there were many suggestions for improvements, so far, the draft plan has received strong support.

Timeline

At the end of the summer and early fall, the PLWMP committee will: Review the survey comments, make decisions and finalize the plan; Work with newly elected leaders to help get them up-to-speed, and request that the Alliance of Pigeon Lake Municipalities and individual Councils adopt and work on the implementation of the plan; Request that the province recognize the Pigeon Lake Watershed Management Plan within the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan and; Continue working on improving the health of the lake through implementing ongoing and new programs identified in the Plan. Everyone will have to do his or her part.