Conservation efforts making a difference in Lethbridge river valley: study

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A 12-year study provided by the Helen Schuler Nature Centre is shedding light on conservation efforts within Lethbridge. Matt Battochio reports – Apr 9, 2019

A 12-year study conducted by the Helen Schuler Nature Centre is showing the value of conservation efforts within the City of Lethbridge. Nature centre resource development coordinator Curtis Goodman showcased the volunteer efforts to Lethbridge City Council this week.

READ MORE: Spring Nature Fest rolls back into Lethbridge

“When we look at the first year of coulee clean up, we had a few hundred people take part,” Goodman said. “When we look at last year, we had 1,575 people just as coulee clean up.”

In his role with the nature centre, Goodman has witnessed the volunteer movement first hand. He’s seen the difference it’s making in the city’s river valley, with more than 4,000 garbage bags collected in the last 12 years and less litter being removed each year.

“If we go back to 2010, we had about 1.4 bags per person [collected],” Goodman said. “When we look at 2018, we have 0.3 bags [collected] per person. That suggests perhaps we’ve gotten through a backlog of garbage found in the coulees, or hopefully we’re seeing less people add garbage to the coulees.”
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The committed effort to conservation has led the Vancouver Aquarium to approach the City of Lethbridge to ask if they want to become a designated clean shoreline community.

READ MORE: Environmentalists and volunteers tackle invasive plants in Lethbridge river valley

The designation is expected to be finalized later this month and would allow Lethbridge to join other municipalities’ efforts to help raise awareness about the impacts of shoreline litter.

“That’s a pretty big honour to be recognized with the likes of Calgary, Hamilton and the City of Vancouver,” Goodman said. “Right now we’re putting motions in work so we can attain that designation and proudly display it on behalf of the volunteers.”

Goodman added that 7,000 people have participated in various cleanup programs over the past 12 years.

The first coulee cleanup of 2019 is scheduled to take place on April 23 at Indian Battle Park.

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