OWC's transition and focus for the next 3 years

As you know OWC has been undergoing changes in the last year because we now have some chapters of our Integrated Watershed Management Plan completed to guide our work - and we are also trying to become a more sustainable and effective organization. It has been a challenge but we have taken many big strides thus far and can see a very bright future ahead of us where we will be able to have a much greater impact on the watershed.


Some major accomplishments thus far related to our new focus:

  • The Board of Directors now sets the road map for OWC through a focused 3 year strategic plan, with achievable 3 year goals and all work is based around those goals. Work plans for the organization, board and staff are currently being developed to ensure strategic goals are achieved. OWC's budget will also reflect the strategic plan goals.
  • We have 2 new staff positions, one for fund development and one for communications and outreach. The first step is to build tools and systems to make these core functions part of OWC's operations and make it easy for Board members, staff, partners and volunteers to participate. The Film and Video Project is well underway as a tool to build community, raise awareness about watershed issues and communicate OWC's accomplishments.
  • A big shift is underway to make OWC more sustainable for the long term. In the past around 85-90% of our revenue came from one source which is very risky. This year we've diversified our income sources and only 67% of our revenue comes from a single source. Over time our goal is to be self-sufficient so that no single funder can determine our fate.

 OWC's new Strategic Plan (April 2015-March 2018) focuses our work over the next 3 years on:

1. Developing a Water Quality Action Plan that includes emerging contaminants. 
Much is occurring in the water quality arena already so our role will be focused where it is needed. All stakeholders will be
invited to participate in the process to develop the plan.

2. Developing a long term integrated education program.
We are starting with engaging OHV (off highway vehicle) users in the headwaters to lower their environmental impact. We will also be evaluating all our past projects and events to determine if and how they fit into our new strategic plan.

3. Supporting stewards by providing resources, information and assistance with sharing their accomplishments. 
The Watershed Legacy Program will be tweaked to focus on supporting stewards who are implementing the Integrated Watershed Management Plan.


4. Enhancing our relationship with the Government of Alberta to ensure our advice is used in decision making. 
The provincial government is a major partner in watershed management and our relationship is critical, especially now that the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan is complete and being implemented.

5. Organizational effectiveness and sustainability so we can continue our work and maintain our current capacity.  
We are currently learning how to become an efficient and effective organization by putting tools and systems in place for fund development, communications and outreach, project management and performance evaluation. This is a steep learning curve for us but the payoff will be worth it because we will have a much greater impact in the watershed. 

We value all our partners and volunteers and understand that these transitions are difficult for everyone. I ask you to continue to be patient as we sort through all the necessary steps. We will keep you up to date as things progress. In the meantime, there are so many ways to be active in the OWC - we look forward to working with you! 


What's happening with OWC's events? 

As you know, there are lots of opportunities to get involved with the OWC. Over the years, we have hosted and participated in many different events on a variety of themes. In the past, these have included events like: Holding The Reins, the Prairie Urban Garden Workshop and Tour, trade shows such as the Home & Garden Show and Science Tours and Forums.

In order to more effectively reach target audiences, we are moving away from a "shotgun" approach to events that scatters us across too many different areas. Change and improvement begins with a focus and that's why we will be doing different events and outreach this year. We will also be evaluating our past events to determine if they will continue or not, based on OWC's Strategic Plan.

We have spent a number of years developing the Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP). This is a huge body of work, produced by all Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs). It is required by the provincial government, and meant to be used by both government, and indeed all organizations, who have an impact on watershed management and health. Ours is the plan for Southern Alberta's Oldman watershed and must guide our work.

So, in addition to our events, there is a lot of strategic planning going on to provide guidance for our work (and many other organizations too) going forward. Writing the IWMP began in 2008. The first step was a visioning process; the next year involved risk assessment; it was followed by a phase of priority setting and culminating in the first area of focus: Headwaters Action Plan (HAP).

The Dutch Creek watershed in the headwaters has been as chosen as that focal point, and the Linear Features Classification Project is now complete. The next step is the development of the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Education Program. This will be a robust and comprehensive program which will have a positive, enduring impact. The time has come for the OWC to increase its impact by enabling other groups to take ownership of some of the work we have been doing - for example weed pulls or garbage clean ups - so that our impact will be much greater.

Whether its riparian restoration, Adopt-A-Watershed, or organizing events that reach out to OHV users; from writing a blog to spending a weekend out talking to campers, there are lots of ways to get involved. People like you can help with real "boots-on-the-ground" interventions - not only in the headwaters, but also addressing both urban and rural populations who recreate there . Changing behavior needs all kinds of involvement. It means changing our mindset about how we live, work and play in our watershed. Everyone can help! We really look forward to working with you and/or your organization. Please call to get involved! 403-382-4239 or Shannon@oldmanbasin.org

Got kids? We'll come to you!


The Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) is offering an amazing opportunity for teachers or clubs leaders - we are willing to  come to your classroom to present about our watershed as well as let students know about a really cool contest they could enter.


The OWC is a community partner supporting Agrium's "Caring For Our Watersheds" program. This program is for students in grades 7-12 or community organizations  

(4H clubs and other youth groups) and provides an opportunity for students to win a cash prize for learning about their watershed and being creative. Working with an applied studies student from the University of Lethbridge the OWC has had an interactive presentation developed that explains the contest and provides information on the Oldman Basin that is geared to this age group. Realistic ideas for how youth can improve watershed health could win up to $1000 for both the student and their school/group as well as idea implementation money.  

Contest deadline is March 17, 2015.  

More info:  
The Caring for our Watersheds Contest- North America
The Caring for our Watersheds Contest
- North America







Please contact OWC Program Coordinator, Leta Pezderic, to book a classroom presentation or to learn more about this amazing opportunity!!

Phone: 403-381-5801  

Email: leta@oldmanbasin.org 


OWC Communications Update - It's about photography this month!

Our newest news is that the OWC has two new interns: Jayme Cabrera Lopez and Erica Perreaux!


We are really excited to have these New Media students from the University of Lethbridge with us until the end of April. We value their expertise in photography and design. Jayme and Erica are helping us create and manage everything from a photo library to new posters and communications tools for a variety of OWC programs and events.

Welcome, Jayme and Erica!





Currently, there are 5 opportunities for you to get involved in helping spread the word about the OWC and great watershed management and health - especially if you have an eye for photography.

The first is to attend a meeting on February 11th at 4pm about choosing the landscapes and locations for the #oldmangoestohollywood Film Project.


 Click on the poster for more information. 

The second is to help the OWC find its next Collaborative Partner.
Our first two partners are: the City of Lethbridge (www.lethbridge.ca ) and Frog Wash (www.frogwash.ca). We are working together to produce video clip  s and photos that will help educate the public about where there water comes from, where it goes and what happens in between. We are currently seeking our next Collaborative Partner - any business or organization that is making the watershed a better place to live, work and play. If your organization or group fits the bill, please get in touch!

Click here for more information.   

The third opportunity is to become a guest blogger for www.oldmanwatershed.blogspot.ca
We welcome submissions from anyone who has a fresh perspective on the watershed (and good photos!) to share.
You can submit a one-off article, or you can become a regular contributor
. We really like to hear from people throughout the watershed about topics, events and concerns near and dear to them. The more we learn about each other, the better we can cooperate to ensure the watershed remains healthy and prosperous for generations to come.

In fact, we have completely re-vamped the OWC blog! It has a new look and is much easier to navigate. Jayme has created a new system for archiving past blog submissions, so you can now go in and browse by topic as well as date. Get a mug of tea, put your feet up and settle in for some good reading! Maybe you will be inspired to write a piece of your own!


The fourth opportunity is to showcase your own photography and videos. Hit us with your best shots ... we have a 3TB hard drive to store all the photos on! Here is Erica holding up the "black box" that can hold AT LEAST 6 MILLION PHOTOS. The photos won't be made available to the public, but they WILL be used for our social media messaging, making posters and raising awareness in the watershed. Photographer's credits will be on anything we have the privilege to use. Call us for details on how to get your photos into the OWC hard drive!


Last but not least, if you haven't seen the Oldman on TV or heard us on the radio, do check out these links:


The Oldman's on TV http://globalnews.ca/video/1619447/oldman-river-movie  


The Oldman's on the radio
I look forward to hearing from you!

Anna Garleff, Communications Coordinator, Oldman Watershed Council

Nature Conservancy of Canada's 10 Annual Eat and Greet

Friday, February 6

Twin Butte Community Hall


Free supper, followed by speakers featuring Connie Simmons presentation on the OWC Headwaters Action plan.   Cost: FREE!!


Click on poster to see detailed information 




Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)

Capture the Canadian Wild Photo Contest 

CPAWS invites photographers of all ages to capture the beauty of Canadian wildlife, landscapes and people.  This contest is designed to raise awareness and funds in support of CPAWS' Southern Alberta Chapter and the conservation and protection of Alberta's wild places.  The contest runs January 9th - February 9th.  Click here for details.


Crandell Lake Snowshoe Hikes - February 21 and March in Waterton

Click here for more information. 


Check out our BLOG .... it has been re-vamped, archived by topic AND date

Logging Operation on Star Creek
January 21, 2015

What is a Watershed? ... or: Cutting Up the Landscape
January 20, 2015

Click here to read the OWC blog.

Conf20132015 Conferences, Courses & Workshops

Deep Roots:  A Grade 4-7 Video Conference presented by the Prairie Conservation Forum
Deep Roots: The story of Alberta's grassland and our connection to it. A 60 minute Video Conference. 
Click here for more information 

2015 Canadian Association of Environmental Law Societies Conference - Igniting a Spark 
February 13-14, 2015 - Calgary, AB
This year's theme - Igniting a Spark - will see conference speakers focus on innovations and solutions for Canada's environment on key topics at the forefront of environmental, energy and natural resources law and policy.
Click here for more information.

Westslope Cutthroat Trout - Stakeholder Workshop 4 
Updates, Successes and Future Recovery Efforts
Tuesday, February 24, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
(complimentary lunch included) MD of Ranchland Admin Building, Chain Lakes Provincial Park 
Join Cows and Fish and many partners for an updated look at riparian work focused on Westslope Cutthroat Trout in Alberta. Click here for more information

Street to Stream Workshop - February 25, 1 pm - 4:30 pm 
Lethbridge Public Library
This collaborative project will weave together the story of cause-and-effect between land development
and real-estate features and actions at the lot and neighbourhood level through to outcomes, impacts,
and remedial actions for our streams and riparian areas-taking you From Street to Stream
Click here for more information. Click here to register online.

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 http://abcee.org/conference  
The Alberta Lake Management Society requires two to three energetic individuals with science or environmental backgrounds for their LakeWatch Technician positions. The work term will run for 5-6 months (full-time from May to mid-October).  Please see the attached job posting for details.

The City of Calgary's Resource Planning and Policy Team (Water Resources) is seeking a Water Resources Engineer responsible for providing expertise to support the development and implementation of watershed management programs and plans.  Please see the attached job posting for details.  Closing date: February 2.


The Red Deer River Municipal Users Group (RDRMUG) is currently seeking an individual to perform the duties of Project Lead Coordinator.  Based in Red Deer, the Project Lead Coordinatorwill assist the RDRMUG in achieving its key strategic goal of securing sufficient water to support sustainable communities far into the future while maintaining the water quality of the Red Deer River.  Please see the attached job posting for details. Application deadline: January 31.

OWC funding provided in part by: