On July 31, Kenora will be part of a binational initiative to raise awareness of the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed in which we live and promote stewardship of the water quality within it.
As part of the International Watershed Coordination Program offered by the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, storm drains along the Kenora harbourfront will have a painted stencil applied beside them, reading “A Healthy Lake Starts Here” and a picture of a fish or other wildlife that rely on good clean water. Storm drains along the waterfront empty directly into the lake and so it is important to recognize that what goes down the storm drain, goes into the lake and we need to keep things like soaps from car washing, fertilizers, oils, etc. out of these drains. Many communities in Canada and the U.S. have similar stencils or have installed permanent markers. Locally, this same project was done this past spring in Fort Frances, ON and International Falls, MN, engaging 100 students and painting 120 stencils on both sides of the border. Now it’s Kenora’s turn! Kenora’s event will be Monday July 31 from 9 a.m. until 12 noon, starting at the Whitecap Pavilion; rain date is August 1.
This is a partnership project between the Foundation, the Lake of the Woods District Property Owners Association (LOWDPOA), the City of Kenora, Riverview Industries, and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Riverview Industries has donated the metal and is designing the stencil, MPCA has purchased the road paint, LOWDPOA is promoting the event to children aged 8-12 through their children’s programming and is purchasing door hangers to raise awareness of this initiative (these will be left on neighbourhood doors), the City of Kenora has provided advice and guidance on storm drain locations and will help with safety, and Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation (LOWWSF) has provided planning support as part of its International Watershed Coordination Program. Prior to going out to paint, the students will take part in an interactive to learn about how watersheds work through the use of a 3D model.
Notes from Kelli Saunders, International Watershed Coordinator
Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation