Community Awareness and Involvement


Several projects encompass the goal to heighten awareness in and the involvement of the communities within the watershed. 

Poster Contest

In November 2009, the MRWCC initiated a watershed-wide poster contest that was open to youths in Kindergarten through Grade 8.  Students were asked "What does your river - the Milk River - mean to you?"  Sixty-five entries were recieved.  Four judges had the difficult task of selecting the winners in the following categories: Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3 and 4, Grades 5 and 6, and Grades 7 and 8.  All winners were present to accept their prizes at the MRWCC's 5th Annual General Meeting on April 8, 2010.  First place winners received a tent donated by ATB Financial and a soft sided cooler donated by LJB Fuels.  Second place winners earned a Milk River Watershed Council t-shirt and a book from Multi-SAR.  To the right is a poster created by Arisha DeGrood that placed first in the Grade 3/4 Category.

Yellow Fish Road

The Yellow Fish Road program was developed by Trout Unlimited Canada and is designed to increase awareness of stormwater impacts on receiving water and aquatic life.  Essentially, the message is that material that washes into storm drains (i.e. oil, soap, soil, debris and garden chemicals) will flow untreated into our creeks, rivers and aquifers. Local students in the Town of Milk River and the Village of Coutts participated in the Yellow Fish Road program by painting yellow fishes - using eco-friendly paint - along with the words "Rainwater Only" beside storm drains in their communities.  Other students delivered door hangers to neighboring homes and businesses that explained the program to the homeowner.  Eighteen storm drains in each community were adorned with bright yellow fishes! 

Agrium Caring for our Watershed Contest

In the fall of 2009, Agrium approached the MRWCC to be a community partner and help deliver this great opportunity to schools within the watershed.  The Caring for our Watershed contest invited students in grades 7 through 12 to learn about their watershed, identify a concern and then propose a realistic solution for it.  In the Milk River watershed, 27 grade eight students participated, with 6 of them continuing on to the top 10 in the Grade 7 through 9 category.  Their initial project took the form of a 1000 word essay, accompanied by a power point presentation.  The second phase was to orally present their project to a new panel of judges.  Please click here for final results.  This photo shows the contestants from Milk River at the Calgary Zoo, venue for the oral part of the contest: l to r, Trey Blackmer, Sierra Harty, Jace Doenz, Tierra Maggrah, Jalen Hulit and Maya DeGrood.

Water Conservation

Education in Xeriscape Landscapes

Derived from the Greek word xeros, meaning dry, when combined with landscape it means water efficient landscape design and practice.  This gardening strategy allows the home or business owner to create and maintain a varied and colorful landscape using drought tolerant plants.  The MRWCC hosted a Prairie Landscape and Garden Workshop and Tour on September 19, 2009.  Forty participants received instruction on the 7 principles of xeriscaping from a professional landscape designer  and then toured 4 homes in Lethbridge that have successfully implemented a xeriscape landscape plan (photo to the right). A hands-on follow-up workshop was held on February 20, 2021 with Steve MacRae of Prairie Xeriscape Design, Lethbridge.  Steve discussed xeriscape principles and practices and met with each landowner to review the designs that they had prepared prior to the workshop.

Xeriscape Demonstration Project

The Village of Coutts and the MRWCC have partnered to develop a Xeriscape Demonstration Project that will be located at the north entrance of the Village, immediately south of the main highway into the United States.  This project site will demonstrate the use of attractive, colorful, low maintenance, drought tolerant and native plants in gardens.  Residents can watch as more birds and butterflies appear around the garden, attracted by the beauty and natural setting.  The RBC Blue Waters program has generously provided funding for this project.

 Urban Water Conservation Survey

Water shortages in southern Alberta and elsewhere have prompted many municipalities to consider the wise and efficient use of water.  Understanding how the water resource is viewed and how it is used by communities in the Milk River watershed is one of the goals of the MRWCC.  To better understand water use, the MRWCC will be conducting a survey within the Town of Milk River and Village of Coutts during the daytime and early evening hours from June 23 to 25.  Surveys will be delivered to local businesses prior to these dates and collected during this timeframe.  The results will be used to develop a water conservation strategy which is one of the elements to be addressed in the Milk River Integrated Watershed Management Plan.  The results will also facilitate the development of programs and educational material that will be practical and effective for watershed residents.