An extensive update on the status of the Ghost River State of the Watershed (SOW) project will be provided at the annual general meeting of the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society (GWAS), Nov. 18.

The report was initiated in 2014 by GWAS and executive director Marina Krainer says the end result will be the most comprehensive report ot its kind on an Alberta watershed. It has just received a second round of review by the steering committee and its publication is imminent.

"The way that it looks like right now, this will be the most comprehensive state of the watershed that most people have seen in Alberta," says Krainer. "It's quite detailed."

The Ghost River is a tributary of the Bow River and provides seven per cent of the flow upstream of Calgary. The report aims to give a better understanding of the watershed as it currently exists, identify sensitive or at risk areas, provide a scientific basis for future watershed planning and help determine the direction for future priorities and activities of GWAS.

Mark Bennett, executive director of the Bow River Basin Council, is the keynote speaker and he will be discussng the role of watershed planning. advisory councils and watershed stewardship groups in the province.

The AGM also offers the opportunity to learn of the outcome of GWAS projects this past year, including the guided Walks in the Watershed, a bio-engineering project to protect fish habitat along the Johnson Creek and the recent annual random campsite cleanup.

Volunteers of the BP Retirees continue to do their annual cleanup. Despite a relatively quiet summer in the Ghost, due to the fire bans and six-week ATV closure, they will collected 330 kg of garbage in just three hours. There was also a substantial amount of plastic littered through the popular random camping areas and GWAS says it poses a hazard to wildlife and pollutes the water.

The AGM is open to all interested people and you don't have to live in The Ghost to participate in the organization.

"We do have a large number of members who don't live in the watershed. but love it for recreation or just in knowing that their water comes from there," says Krainer.

"We would like to invite with anyone with an interest in the Ghost Watershed to come to the AGM. We are always looking for new members and new volunteers."

The doors open at 9:15 a.m. and the meeting runs from 9:45 a.m. to 12 noon. There is no admission, although donations are welcome and 2018 memberships are will be available for purchase ($10 individual; $20 family).

GWAS was founded to help preserve and enhance the integrity of the ecosystem in the Ghost watershed and to raise public awareness and work toward issues that arise.

More information can be found here.

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