The Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association has been presented the Council of the Federation Excellence in Water Stewardship Award.
The award for Excellence in Water Stewardship recognizes outstanding achievements, innovative practice and leadership in water stewardship. The Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association will be presented the 2014 award at the Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds and Saskatchewan Conservation and Development Association annual conference.
“I’m very pleased to recognize the Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association for the innovation they have shown in reaching out to landowners and demonstrating the advantages of beneficial management practices and the impact on watersheds,” said Cory Tochor MLA for Saskatoon Eastview who made the presentation to AWSA in a release. “The people of Saskatchewan are very fortunate to have groups like this who are dedicated to protecting and preserving the quality of water in our lakes and rivers.”
Aron Hershmiller, manager at AWSA said the award is gratifying.
“The Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association is truly grateful to be recognized in Saskatchewan by the premier and the Minister of Environment,” he said. “Our members, Board of Directors and staff have worked very hard since inception back in 2007 to work with the citizens and communities to protect our source waters in the Assiniboine River Watershed.”
The award certainly helps raise awareness of AWSA efforts.
“The AWSA has worked hard since 2007 to establish themselves as water stewards,” said Hershmiller. “We work with many citizens from two cities, eight towns, three villages and 24 RMs to protect the source waters of the Assiniboine River, its tributaries and aquifers within the watershed.
And the award again helps drive home the importance of water conservation and safety.
“The AWSA has also worked with various organization on water conservation - both drought and flood work, and the conservation of habitat in our watershed,” said Hershmiller.
In 2009, the Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association began implementing Agricultural Environmental Group Plans, detailed the release as background. These group plans allow all farmers in the plan area to qualify for financial assistance to implement beneficial management practices which protect water. The Association has shown strong innovation and administration, leading to very successful implementation of their plan. They approved more than 1,400 applications and provided more than $9 million in assistance for projects like seeding riparian areas to permanent cover, decommissioning abandoned wells and seeding perennial forage.
Hershmiller said agricultural programming was a big part of AWSA being recognized with the award.
“The key to winning this award was our work related to the Agri-Environmental Group Plans,” he said. “We worked with over 700 ag(ricultural) producers on over 1400 projects for a total of over $9 million dollars in projects through this program (2009-2013).”
The Excellence in Water Stewardship Award was created by Canada’s premiers at the Council of the Federation in recognition that water is critical to human and ecosystem health. This award is presented in each province and territory in Canada.
The Water Security Agency was created to lead implementation of the 25 Year Saskatchewan Water Security Plan. It will improve water management capacity and service to individuals, businesses and communities across Saskatchewan. This agency brings together all the major responsibilities related to water quality and quantity.