Kettle Creek Conservation Authority Watershed Report Card

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Kettle Creek Conservation Authority
City & State:
St. Thomas, 
Organization's Mission Statement
To guide the conservation of ecosystems on a watershed basis.

Submission Information

Impact Essay
Would your local environment get a “B” for water quality or a “C” for forest health? Kettle Creek Conservation Authority’s first ever Watershed Report Card helps the public to answer that question. The document, which was created in-house using the Adobe Creative Suite purchased from TechSoup, summarizes the state of the water quality, forest cover and climate conditions for the Kettle Creek watershed. The Kettle Creek watershed is 520 square kilometers of rich agricultural, urban and naturally vegetative lands that drain into the north shore of Lake Erie at Port Stanley, Ontario, Canada. Kettle Creek Conservation Authority (KCCA) is a not-for-profit agency that works at the local level to deliver services and programs that protect and manage water and other related natural resources on a watershed basis. The goal of the 2008 Watershed Report Card was to evaluate key indicators of watershed health (surface water conditions, groundwater conditions, terrestrial conditions and climate conditions) and communicate that technical information in a way that the public would understand. The lay person doesn’t understand how the existence of benthic invertebrates in local streams can indicate healthy water but will readily relate to a passing or failing grade. The 2008 Watershed Report Card creates a benchmark both for the public and KCCA from which to set goals and objectives for improvement. Future Watershed Report Cards - to be released every five years, with yearly updates – will show trends, positive or negative change over time or if a particular indicator has remained stable. In this way, the Report Card is not only a communication tool but a management tool allowing staff to target funding dollars to stewardship projects for optimal results. Therefore, in addition to assigning grades to each key indicator the Report Card includes a section on “Next Steps.” This section details the projects KCCA will be working on to improve the watershed grade and how the public can become involved as well. In February of 2009, 5,000 copies of the 2008 Watershed Report Card were printed and are currently being distributed throughout the watershed. This represents the largest and most comprehensive communication product for the Authority in over 10 years. As a not-for-profit agency the expense of such an undertaking was significantly off-set by being able to produce the publication in-house using the Adobe Creative Suite. In the past, KCCA would have had to out-source the design, a cost that usually prohibited such an undertaking. The public has responded positively to the Watershed Report Card. Organizations and members of the public have requested additional copies of the report and have also made inquiries about when to expect the next issue. Finally, the 2008 Watershed Report Card was printed on mixed source paper, a product from well managed forests, controlled sources and recycled wood or fibre. For all these reasons, the 2008 Watershed Report Card truly exemplifies KCCA’s goal to bring people in harmony with nature.
Submission Category
Environmental Impact Print/Photo