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BAILS Present their WMP
Stakeholders | October 2018

On Saturday, October 13, 2018, BAILS (Baptiste and Island Lakes Stewardship Society) held a public gathering at the Island Lake Hall to present the final draft of their Watershed Management Plan. There was a full house in attendance.

Baptise and Island Lakes are just minutes away from Athabasca and both drain into the Athabasca River. They both have active recreational communities made up of permanent and seasonal residents and day-use visitors.

To address current gaps in data and to identify actions lake users can take to protect lake health, BAILS started the process of creating a Watershed Managment Plan. These plans are useful in helping citizens and stewardship groups plan their actions around addressing needs and engaging citizens to be proactive in ensuring lake health. This is a multi-year process that includes stakeholder engagement and data gathering. Both lakes have had “State of…” reports written, identifying the current condition of the lake at the time. Water quality, fisheries, shoreline condition, and water level were all assessed.

The WMP summary that was presented by consultant Petra Rowell, identified 7 key themes: A watershed approach, stewardship, knowledge, lake levels, water quality, aquatic ecosystem health and land use. Each theme has recommendations BAILS can follow to meet their educational and engagement goals. It then goes on to describe what implementation of the plan might look like.

The draft WMP will be posted on the BAILS website until November 30 for review by members and residents and comments will be taken. Please visit http://www.bails.ca/ for more information.

There was also a presentation from Dr Patrick Hanington from the University of Alberta on the cutting-edge water testing work he and his team have been doing on the lakes. They use tests that can identify the DNA of bacteria, specific to certain species, that may be present in the water. This helps in identifying where “poop” bacteria may be coming from when lake users come down with gastroenteritis.

We want to congratulate BAILS on their efforts to protect their lakes by adopting a watershed level management plan. We recognize them as one of the many stakeholders working within the greater Athabasca watershed and look forward to supporting them in their implementation of the plan and ongoing efforts to maintain the health of their beautiful lakes.