TSAG’s Environment Department brought together 44 people from 23 First Nations in February 2013 for a three-day workshop to talk about how communities are being affected by environmental change. The workshop centered on effective ways to come together to adapt and respond to a changing environment.
Two big topics were tackled in this workshop. First, with the help of Bob Patrick, from the University of Saskatchewan, we focused on how First Nation communities can make a source water protection plan to prevent contamination of lakes, rivers, and groundwater on reserve. As a group we worked through a template on source water protection planning that will soon be made available by AANDC to all First Nations. Siksika Nation spoke about the planning process in their community; they stressed the importance of getting all different band service areas to come together on this uniting issue.
The rest of the workshop focused on understanding the wide range of impacts climate change is having on Alberta Nations. Participants took part brainstorming ways communities can adapt, even creating climate change adaptation plans outlining anticipated threats and strategies. Adaptation to climate change will look different for all communities but may include establishing food sharing programs, changing land use planning, and creating community plans such as emergency response plans or source water protection plans.
The Private Sewage Disposal Systems (PSDS) training provided general information on septic systems, maintenance, health considerations, and budgeting. The workshop brought together Public Works, Housing Directors or portfolio holders, and Water & Wastewater operators. Below are the presentations by TSAG, Health Canada (HC), Native Inspectors Services Initiative (NISI), and Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association (AOWMA). There are also Health Canada’s septic systems forms and Native Inspectors Services Initiatives budget templates.