Executive Director's note:
Thanksgiving is the time when we reflect on all the wonderful things that we take for granted - like clean, clear water to drink, and to swim in. Water is the lifeblood of Southern Alberta, and we are prosperous because of it. But our watershed, the foundation of our success, is at risk - and we need your help to address urgent challenges before the costs become too much to bear. We believe that the best solutions come from people like you, who live, work and play here. Please show your support for collaborative, local solutions by making a donation this Thanksgiving. Thank you for believing in our community. Together we can ensure there is enough for everyone. - Shannon Frank
Thanksgiving and the Oldman
When you think of Thanksgiving, what comes to mind? Is it images of family sitting around a table together enjoying a meal? Friends going outside to play that last round of golf? A walk amongst the autumn-coloured trees in your community? Maybe even the mouthwatering smell of turkey cooking in the oven?
On Thanksgiving, we give thanks to the people in our lives, our health and wellness, the food on our table, the water we so dearly depend on, and to our life and everything in it. We have so many things to be thankful for, and it feels wonderful to be able to give back during such a meaningful time of the year.
The Oldman Watershed Council would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to its donors, volunteers, grantors and community partners. Your gifts of time, funds, and expertise make a difference in the watershed, and we very much appreciate your support. Together, we are making every day healthier and stronger for communities throughout the Oldman watershed.
We are some of the fortunate people to call Southern Alberta home! Our beautiful watershed attracts people from all over the globe for trade, tourism, and recreation. Whatever we do, throughout our day, it requires access to clean, plentiful, safe water.
Watershed work is people work: we support, advise, and assist: farmers and ranchers, entrepreneurs and businesses, governments and decision-makers, scientists and teachers. For a growing population and a hungry world – for the beauty we call home – we are asking your help to mobilize hearts, minds, and hands. After all, we are all downstream.
The watershed challenges facing us today are more urgent than ever, and are seriously threatening our very ability to thrive in the most water-limited region in Canada. Canada is known the world over for its natural, wild spaces – yet piece by piece, drop by drop, we are losing what we value most. With your help this will change.
A sustainable watershed means sustainable funding. That is why we have created:
The Watershed Fund is a tool that allows investors to put their financial support behind our vision: a healthy, resilient watershed where people, wildlife, and habitat, thrive and prosper. This is an investment towards better quality of life both now and for the future. One of the greatest legacies we can leave is clean, safe drinking water. To do this we need to protect the water at its source.
Building a Better Future
Our river no longer has glaciers to feed it as it did 8,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age – we now depend solely on snowpack and groundwater for a continuous flow throughout the year. Rainfall doesn’t do the same work, and this has implications for supply. Climate change means it rains harder, faster, and more frequently, rushing through waterways, and often leading to disastrous flooding. We experience hotter, drier spells where dryland farmers face bankruptcy, and irrigation farmers fall back on infrastructure to keep crops growing.
Without water, forests become like tinder, and we are plagued year after year by the increasing number of fires that start earlier every year. Forests are critical to keeping the watershed healthy – and we mustn’t forget that it takes an incredible amount of water to fight fires.
Parts of our Oldman watershed are stressed by nitrogen and phosphorous loads, by pesticides and herbicides, by low oxygen levels, sedimentation, a dense network of roads, railways and lines, and by increased stream temperatures. This means that we are in a vicious cycle of poor watershed management: we are polluting the very thing that makes prosperity in the watershed possible. Critical habitat is at risk, crippling our ability to monitor these indicator species – the very ones who can tell us the health of our watershed. Much of our precious wildlife is down to less than 5% of their original habitat. Some vital indicators aren't being monitored at all.
More than ever before, strong, active hands, hearts, and voice are required. Your unique background, your passion for Oldman Watershed Council, and your willingness to give thanks to the very thing that gives to back to us every day – Oldman watershed. Enough for everyone.
So this Thanksgiving, please take a moment to reflect on your experiences in our watershed. How were you introduced to it? What purpose does it provide to you? How does it give to you or your family?
Your hard work in creating this prosperity must be protected. Please consider investing in a lasting, hopeful legacy for our children and grandchildren through The Watershed Fund: A legacy of enough water for people, wildlife, and habitat, to thrive and prosper both now - and for generations to come in Oldman watershed. Imagine - enough for everyone.