The Pigeon Lake Watershed Association is a charitable, non-profit environmental advocacy group made up of diverse resident users of Pigeon Lake and its Watershed. It is a volunteer association whose activities are governed by a board of directors, accomplished through working committees and managed through the implementation of an ongoing and annually updated Association “Board Game Plan”
Our Mission is:
To enhance, preserve and protect Pigeon Lake and its Watershed as a healthy and environmentally sustainable ecosystem for current and future generations.
Our Primary Work:
Restoration and preservation of the natural ecosystems and water quality such that the water quality:
supports a healthy and well balance fishery;
is safe and enjoyable for water based recreation activities; and,
supports a healthy and well balanced bird and wildlife population.
Engagement of stakeholders in environmental best practices such that all visitors and residents, business, industry and municipal agreements located within the Watershed (or indirectly affecting the watershed) are committed and conforming to best practices, activities in planning, developing, maintaining and utilizing Pigeon Lake and its environment.
PLWA identifies, promotes and advocates land development and land use practices that are conducive to the accepted levels for environmental sustainability within the watershed.
Through the delivery of well-designed stewardship programs and events like shore-line clean up and through dissemination of educational materials, referrals and others.
To local, provincial and federal governments, agencies, regulators, businesses, industry and the general public; best practices in watershed management including: land use, water use and over-all environmental protection.
All stakeholders about:
practices that negatively affect the environment
new research that positively effects the environment
sustainable environmental practices
potential impacts of new legislation on the environment
current lake conditions
We use newsletters, presentations special bulletins, conduct open forums and attend municipal council meetings.
The lake and the Watershed by advocating and positive changes to regulations and land use bylaws. We act by monitoring land use activities, resource extraction, indicators of lake and watershed health.
The lake and the watershed from any or all potential influences by acting as a watchdog and monitoring land use activities, resource extraction, indicators of lake and watershed health and then reporting / advocating and influencing positive change to regulations and land managers.
Our Balanced Approach:
The PLWA, believes that achieving environmental sustainability of the lake and its watershed, requires a balanced approach. We pay attention to:
Which requires sound governance, appropriate social policy and financial resources;
Which requires a healthy environment to optimize the social experience, a healthy agricultural and commercial sectors in the watershed and surrounding region are dependent on a healthy lake.
The Social Fabric…
To ensure that quality of ‘place’ to live and/or visit is maintained through enhancement preservation and protection of the environment and the economy.
To ensure that all four orders of governments (1st nations, local, provincial and federal) are committed through policy to preserving and protecting the environment, the social fabric and the economy within the Watershed.
The Story Of Pigeon Lake
Originally known as Woodpecker Lake, Pigeon Lake is currently one of the most popular recreation lakes in Alberta. Woodpecker Lake in Central Alberta was renamed Pigeon Lake for the passenger pigeon - once so common it could be counted in the tens of thousands nesting in the woods surrounding the area. Passenger pigeons were considered a great delicacy and trapped by the thousands until they were no more. The very last passenger pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo in 1914.*
Pigeon Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the province. Its proximity to Edmonton and Red Deer make it one of the busiest lakes in the summer time. Its shores have been the site of habitation since the time of the early migrations of north american peoples. Its name is derived from the time that large flocks of passenger pigeons roamed the area in the mid-1800s. Ma-Me-O means 'white pigeon' in Cree. The lake has provided a habitat for numerous fish species. Historically it has supported a commercial fishery and related fish packing, a sport fishery, and a food fishery for first nations and metis communities.
Modern habitation dates back to the establishment of Rundle Mission in 1847, a Hudson's Bay Trading Post in 1868, and the Pigeon Lake Indian Reserve in 1896. The hamlets of Mulhurst and Westerose and the Summer Village of Ma-Me-O Beach were established during these early times. Logging, with a saw mill operation at Mulhurst, and farming were also important features of the local economy. Subsequently nine more summer villages evolved, along with several provincial parks and other recreation areas. There are now active farming, cow-calf, buffalo and oil and gas operations in the watershed. Substantial residential and other recreational development is also occurring, and a growing residential service centre has been established at the Village at Pigeon Lake. Consequently the community of lake users has grown significantly and the PLWA has been established to understand impacts, both human and natural, on the lake and its watershed. The recent blue green algae bloom, concerns about fish stocks, higher density real estate development and oil and gas operations in the watershed are all matters of interest to the PLWA.
* Source: Fish, Fur & Feathers - Fish and Wildlife Conservation in Alberta: 1905 - 2005. Available from Nature Alberta (www.naturealberta.ca).