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Watershed resiliency at Birds of Prey

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Sunny South News

By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News

Coaldale’s Alberta Birds of Prey is in need of support, in regards to a Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Grant Program, and the foundation recently visited Lethbridge County council last week to present information about the program.
A letter of support for the initiative was previously granted by council to go along with the foundation’s application for the grant.
Colin Weir, from the Birds of Prey Foundation, was a delegate at the Mar. 19 council meeting.
“It was in January when I asked you to supply a letter of support for building some ponds on our property,” said Weir, adding he also wanted to thank council for supplying the letter of support in such short notice.
Weir presented council with an overview of what the application was for and the circumstances surrounding the funding request, which includes water retention when storm water flooding happens in north Coaldale. Weir presented council with pictures of the areas where flooding has occurred from the past and from this past year.
“All of the water drainage in the northwest section of town actually drains down onto our property,” he added.
During last year’s massive flooding event in southern Alberta, Weir noted, the county did pumping, which actually ended up saving some residences.
“To the west and the county dug some diversion channels, so the water could drain across the farmland and then down into our place,” said Weir, adding the county pump was running 24/7 for close to 30 days.
What the foundation applied for funding-wise, Weir explained, is for flood mitigation but also for a more environmentally-friendly habitat-oriented solution.
“We basically just want to use wetlands to try and absorb the mitigated effects of flooding,” said Weir.
The foundation applied for grant funding in the neighbourhood of $750,000 to create ponds on the existing property, perhaps some nesting islands and for a pumping station.
“If we had to do any pumping or the county wanted to do anything, we’d actually have a pipeline installed already to do that in the future here,” he said.
Birds of Prey, for the past few years, has been making requests to the provincial government to gain status as a wetland restoration agency.
“Where we could actually receive compensation funds companies pay to the province for re-establishing wetlands,” said Weir.

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