The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has selected Okotoks’ Living Soils Filtration Project as one of the nine recipients for its 2018 Sustainable Communities Award. The award showcases the most innovative environmental initiatives in communities of all sizes across Canada.
“We are incredibly honoured to be recognized for our work in the sustainable management of our water resources,” said Dawn Smith, environment and sustainability coordinator for the Town.
The Living Soils Filtration Project uses different soils and plants to capture, filter and disperse stormwater, which improves water quality, increases green space, enhances biodiversity and reduces the risks from extreme climate events.
It also includes an educational component as it is located adjacent to the EPCO Environmental Education Centre, which offers information about the project, the Okotoks watershed and ecosystem as a whole. Students and members of the public will have opportunities to tour the area and learn more about how natural water management systems can provide effective, practical solutions for urban centres.
“We believed that the shared lessons about the project are as important as the project itself,” said Smith.
The Town is collaborating with the universities of Calgary and Victoria, the City of Calgary, and regional partners to complete the project, which will continue for several years.
The site includes a 3,600-square metre riparian buffer that is the main bioretention bed (also known as a rain garden) that uses native plants and permeable soils to store, filter and manage stormwater. The system removes excess nutrients to improve water quality and decreases the flow rate of the water released into the river ecosystem, reducing the risk of flooding.
For more information about the project go to www.FCM.ca.