On March 23, the Alberta Emerald Foundation (AEF) announced its shortlist of nominees for the 32 Annual Emerald Awards. According to the foundation, the nominees and the subsequent awards are meant to showcase organizations, projects, and individuals from across Alberta that are working to address environmental and climate change issues.

Amongst the finalists was Airdrie's Nose Creek Watershed Partnership (NCWP). The NCWP was nominated in the 'Government Category' which recognizes all levels of government whose ongoing commitment sets the example of environmental leadership and advocates sustainability as a major consideration in governance.

“Those represented in this year’s shortlist demonstrate the incredible dedication that Albertans have toward protecting our environment and taking action against climate change,” said, AEF’s Executive Director, Marisa Orfei. “The diversity in the shortlist is also astounding, there are small grassroots organizations, large corporations, and everything in between.”

The NCWP's goals and initiatives are meant to ensure rivers and streams are environmentally healthy and stable, through the protection and conservation of the fauna and flora, as well as the animals that live there. According to the City of Airdrie, the Partnership has had numerous successes in Airdrie.

"[These] include: increased water conservation, improved water quality, protect riparian habitat and improve biodiversity. The Partnership's current priority is to build and implement a watershed-scale model to support sustainable future land use decisions," the city stated in a social media post. 

Clint Goodman, co-chair of the NCWP, and Corporate Environment Specialist with the city of Airdrie said that the nomination is all the more special since the organization is celebrating 25 years of watershed planning, policy and action.

"I think that being recognized as a shortlist nominee for the Emerald Awards brings a great deal of attention to the great stewardship work done collaboratively between the city of Airdrie, Calgary, Rocky View County, Crossfield and the Calgary Airport Authority and also helps recognize that dedicated effort by each organization to support a healthy watershed," he said.

Goodman explained during its 25-year existence, the NCWP has been at the forefront of watershed-scale collaboration, planning, policy and action, which has meant that more sustainable land use and improving water quality, have all been goals and accomplishments of the organization.

"I think it's safe to say that we all value clean air, clean water, and a sustainable and vibrant environment and these values are integrated closely with watershed protection. Protecting and managing how land is used within a watershed and how we manage our stormwater that runs off in these locations is very indicative of how and where that ends up within the creek," Goodman said. "How we're managing our areas and improving on our ability to manage land and manage water directly and indirectly, benefit residents, business owners, visitors and the environment. 

When reflecting on short-term and long-term goals, Goodman said there are several that come to mind. One initiative that is currently being worked up at the moment is a watershed scale model project.

"This is unique because it's a one-of-a-kind model that will integrate several different tools and parameters to help all the partners and the community better understand how specific land use changes and decisions could impact the hydraulic capacity of the creek, the water quality of the creek and hydrology the creek," he explained. "We recently completed a watershed-wide wetland inventory evaluation project, which inventories upwards of 6000 wetlands within the North Creek watershed. In addition, we're advancing the water quality monitoring network all throughout Nose Creek and West Nose Creek."

This year’s shortlist was chosen by a third-party panel of volunteer judges. One of those judges is none other than Airdrie City Councillor Tina Petrow.

Judges selected the shortlist, consisting of 39 organizations, projects, and individuals from across the province, from 51 nominations. During their deliberations, the judges also determined who from the shortlist will take home an Emerald Award in each of the 15 award categories. 

The 32 Annual Emerald Awards ceremony and reception will take place on June 7, 2023, at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. The award recipients will receive a $2,000 grant to support their work or to donate to an environmental charity of their choice, among other accolades.

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