Photo by Byron Lee

A Future Worth Protecting

The phase 3 report of the Southern Foothills Study, A Future Worth Protecting, has just been released. OWC was one of many participants and funders of the study that used ALCES? (A Landscape Cumulative Effects Simulator) to model what the landscape west of highway 2 will look like into 2060 under various management scenarios. 


The Southern Foothills Study was centered around the question of "How do we respect and protect the essential qualities and existing valuable assets of this landscape while still allowing for an evolution of land uses". It examined the future trajectory of existing land uses and found that key environmental indicators showed a slow but steady loss of environmental health. The projected future decline is in addition to already significant negative changes. Read more here (



Thank you to Alberta Ecotrust Foundation for providing funding for the project and to Southern Alberta Land Trust Society for spearheading the project!



Saying Goodbye

Please join us in wishing Leta all the best as she leaves OWC to pursue a career with Nature Conservancy of  Canada! We will miss her easy smile and caring personality. She has been a trusted representative and friendly face for OWC over the last 6 years, responsible for building many of the strong relationships we have with partners and volunteers.


Leta started with OWC as an Executive Assistant but quickly recognized the need  for a Program Coordinator to work with partners on projects  and morphed into that role easily with her strength as a relationship builder. Over the years she has developed many new projects and events always putting her all into every task. Recently she has been championing new directions for OWC to improve volunteer engagement, youth connections and program effectiveness. Leta's commitment to quality is unwavering and has been a big part of OWC's reputation for engaging and inspiring events.  


Leta has made many friends in her time at OWC and we are  fortunate to know her and look forward to a continued relationship with her in her new role.  We greatly appreciate all her hard work and dedication and wish her all the best!

Membership Renewal Deadline is Thursday, April 30.

Renew Online

 Individual form

Organization form


Municipality form

Irrigation District form


The information marked with an asterisk is a requirement by Alberta Corporate Registry that we need to have on file.  For general information on OWC membership or to print a pdf copy to submit to us, click here


OWC AGM will be held on Tuesday, June 23
at the Readymade Community Association Hall. 
Mark it on your calendars!

Headwaters Action Plan - summer work preparation in progress!

The focus of work leading into summer will be on the Dutch Creek Pilot Project and development of the Engaging Recreationalists program.   Engaging recreational users through conversations, events, activities and demonstration days (i.e. riparian restoration in 1-2 'hotspots' and electro-fishing demos to see what is living in the creek and its tributaries) will provide an opportunity for sharing perspectives of motorized and random camping recreation in the Oldman headwaters, and also deeper discussion about the cumulative impacts of recreational use on headwaters health. The program will involve sharing needs and concerns, learning from each other and seeking solutions together that improve headwaters health.    


An Advisory Team comprised of engagement experts, recreationalists, partnering non-profits and members of the OWC's Headwaters Action Team will be assisting with the development of the engagement program in May. The draft program will then be reviewed, revised and finalized through a larger workshop of stakeholders in early June. Preparation of materials and training of summer staff will be done in May and June, in readiness for launching the program on the ground in in Dutch Creek throughout July, August and September. Evaluation of the program at the end of the season will provide baseline information for program evaluation and will be used to guide future efforts in 2016 and 2017. Through the three years of effort in Dutch Creek, it is hoped that OWC will build a strong relationship with recreationalists so we can work together on solutions that improve headwaters health.


Dutch Creek, Photo by Brian Coffey

Dutch Creek is a popular place to camp, quad and fish. It is also home to at least 3 species at risk (Bull Trout, Westslope Cutthroat Trout, Grizzly Bears) and many other fish and wildlife. Forestry occurs there and historically oil and coal exploration.

OWC's Dutch Creek Linear Features Classification Report shows there are at least 232 stream crossings, 80% of which have no bridge or culvert to control soil erosion and many intersect with trout spawning redds, which are steadily declining in numbers.


Ever wondered why someone would want to be an OWC board member?  We will introduce some of our board members each month in our E-Newsletter.  Here's their answers to the question:  

What is important to you personally about our watershed?

Loreena (Lori) Brave Rock
Sector Represented:  Members-at-Large

What is important to you personally about our watershed?

As Niitsitapi (original people) my past, present and future are tied to our ancestral Blackfoot lands and waters. This traditional culture cannot exist without it. Everything from sweet grass, sage, berries, roots and plants that we rely on to this day, to the animals we honor for the use of their meat, fur, hide, quills, feathers and claws. All of which is held sacred. We have always recognized the circle that connects everything and everyone. Today we understand how our watershed connects the lands to the waters and the important roles that our native plants and animals serve. As all is connected, so it is now that our Blackfoot culture is connected to health and resiliency of the Oldman Watershed. Nothing could be more important to me than preserving it for our future generations.


Richard Burke - Trout Unlimited Canada, Oldman River Chapter
Sector Represented:  Environmental Non-Government Organizations



Other than the obvious need for water to survive, I try to use it judiciously for recreation and gardening, in particular. The watershed is important to me because the whole region, and provinces beyond, depend on it. Water is the most important resource we have, although I'm reluctant to call it a resource because to many, that's an invitation to use it for their own purposes with little apparent regard for who or what else needs it. But, I remain convinced that a growing number of people show a greater concern for our water and how to care for it.

In Fall 2014, the OWC partnered with the U of L Applied Studies program to find a student to help promote Agrium's "Caring For Our Watersheds" program. Environmental Science major Kelsey Cartwright was chosen for the Environmental Educator position. An interactive presentation was developed to teach students about the Oldman Watershed and water use. They were also introduced to Caring For Our Watersheds, which asks students in grades 7-12 to submit a written proposal with a realistic answer to the question: "What can you do to improve your watershed?" We were able to reach classrooms from Lundbreck to Vauxhall, youth winter program participants at the Helen Schuler Nature Center, teachers at the Southwestern Alberta Teacher's Convention and local Girl Guides.


The contest finals were held at Ralph Klein Park in late April where three ideas from the Oldman Watershed made it into the top 10 of 148 entries. Nicholas Locken and Bradyen Brausse came in 4th with their proposal titled "Microbeads", Riley Tirkaylo placed 8th with "Lights Out and Join the Dark Side" and Shane Hudson and Brady Waisman placed 10th with "Composting Waste Management." These ideas address issues of plastics in our water supply, light pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by landfills. Agrium awarded each finalist a cash prize, a matching reward for their school and money to implement their ideas. They will be receiving funding from the OWC as well. Awesome work guys, we look forward to the positive impacts your efforts will have on the Oldman Watershed!

Volunteer in Waterton

Volunteer Season Kick-Off

Saturday May 30 (noon hour and early afternoon)

Come meet fellow volunteers and kick off the new volunteer season, Waterton style!

 - We'll provide refreshments, sweets and savory snacks. BYOL (bring your own lunch).

 - Overview of the upcoming volunteer season and opportunities.
 - Volunteer orientation.
 - Introduction to Native Plant Gardens and Adopt-a-Patch volunteer programs with work bees for each
    to follow.

Please RSVP to Dianne Pachal or phone 403 859-2224 so we have enough sweets, snacks and volunteer materials.

Shoreline Cleanup

Saturday May 9 - Emerald Bay, Upper Waterton Lake

Don't let wind blow that litter away!  Volunteers will be teaming up with Awesome Adventures to scour Waterton's Emerald Bay shoreline for litter as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Pitch in as we work to keep the park litter-free.  Thanks to Awesome Adventures for kick-starting this event.  They organize the underwater divers and Parks Canada organizes the shoreline volunteers.

Volunteer Duties:

Collect litter from the divers as they bring it out to the shoreline and hike along the shoreline to pick up litter
   and bag it.
? Garbage bags and work gloves provided by the park.        

No experience necessary, you can enjoy being a part of a growing team of volunteers. We provide a free Waterton 
Lakes National Park day pass for the days you volunteer. For many more volunteer opportunities in Waterton,
click here.

DTC Guided Backcountry Hiking Series 2015 - click here for more information.

Check out the latest submissions to the OWC BLOG 

Alberta Water Quality Awareness (AWQA) Day is June 5
every year. June 5 coincides with Environment Week and also World Environment Day. However, water quality test kits are only distributed free every three years. Free
kits are available in the 2015 year!   
Click here for free kits. 


Alberta Water Quality Awareness is a province-wide program focused on increasing people's awareness and understanding of water quality and watershed health, through hands-on water quality testing.  AWQA participants use water quality test kits to get outside and explore the health of their local waterways. Using their test kits, participants gather basic information about the health of Alberta's surface waterbodies and then contribute what they find to our online database and watershed map.  Click here for more information.. 

Farming Smarter
newest stewardship videos - view and share!

Farming in the Wild
Farming in the Wild
Candid Modern Farmers
Candid Modern Farmers

Municipality Challenges
Across Canada, municipalities are grappling with major water infrastructure challenges: rehabilitating aging infrastructure and legacy combined sewer systems, upgrading treatment plants to meet environmental requirements and deal with emerging contaminants, and improving stormwater management in the face of climate change.  
Click here
for a Water Canada overview of what water service managers in five Canadian cities (including Calgary) see as priorities for the coming years.

Water security and climate security are inseparable; one is implicit in the other.  This is a main conclusion of a new report published by the United Nations University's Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-IWEH).  Furthermore, Canmore-based water expert Bob Sandford (the UNU-IWEH's newly appointed Epcor Chair for Water Security, and the report's co-author) states that all current water management challenges will be compounded one way or another by climate change and by increasingly unpredictable weather.  Click here to read more.


 2015 Conferences, Courses & WorkshopsConf2015

Soil Bio-engineering for Land Restoration and Slope Stabilization
Thursday, May 28, 9 am - 12 noon, Calgary 
This seminar is open to anyone engaged in river bank restoration or management and other related disciplines, looking for natural solutions to achieve numerous benefits.  Click here for more information.

Alberta Council for Environmental Education's
national conference on energy and environmental education,  "Earth Matters," will take place October 15 - 17 at the Coast Hotel and Conference Centre in Canmore.  To learn more and to register please visit 


The Alberta Ecotrust Foundation presently has three grant streams: Community Grants, Major Projects and Collective Action Grants.  For 2015 they will be accepting applications for Community Grants and Major Projects only.  Applications for Community Grants will be accepted in the spring with a deadline of May 4th.  They will be accepting Letters of Intent for Major Projects in August.  Please click here for details.


OWC funding provided in part by: