The public is invited to an open house Tuesday in Emo to see the results of five years of stewardship of the Rainy River watershed.
Hosted by Rainy River First Nations, the open house will run from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. at the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre.
The format will consist of a number of power point presentations by the various groups involved in the program as well as displays. Representatives from the partners involved also will be on hand to answer questions and gather feedback.
“It’s really a strategic planning exercise,” said watershed program co-ordinator Martin Nantel.
“There is a variety of stakeholders involved with us in this and it is an opportunity for the public to receive information on what resource stewardship is,” noted Nantel.
“We are hoping to bring in more partners.”
The Rainy River Strategic Framework Project is a partnership that also includes district municipalities, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and various naturalist groups.
The band has been involved for five years now and Nantel said results already are showing in such areas as fish habitat quality and research.
Over the last year, the band has been responsible for conducting contaminant analyses in fish and that information then was compiled into the “Guide for Eating Game Fish,” which is published by the MNR every two years.
But the project goes far beyond that. Last year, Nantel said, the band conducted four field projects, including a shoreline survey of the Canadian side of the river, the fish contaminant analysis, a study into the habitat used by juvenile sturgeon, and water-quality assays at 11 points along tributaries to the Rainy River.
“We looked at the gaps that exist in terms of science and tried to fill them,” said Nantel. “So far it’s working very well.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however. Nantel said last spring’s flooding created some serious problems.
“There was a lot of debris washed into the rivers and we lost a lot of nets that were swept away,” he remarked.
“They’re probably somewhere in Lake of the Woods by now,” he quipped.
Nantel said he is anxious to get as much public input as possible tomorrow so the project can move forward.