COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH FOR WATERSHED HEALTH

Category: 2013, Completed, Grant, Major Project, Water

GRANTEE

Oldman Watershed Council

Website

www.oldmanbasin.org

Location

About

This grant will allow the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) to hire a Communications Coordinator to implement our Communications and Outreach Work Plan, enhancing their capacity to achieve their mission to maintain and improve watershed health as they educate and engage more people.

Many people do not understand watershed issues and how they can be part of the solutions. Addressing environmental issues is complex and usually takes a backseat to economic and social desires because they are difficult to understand and may not have immediately visible consequences that are meaningful to individuals.

Our culture does not generally think long term and it takes clear, simple messages that convey urgency, injustice and empowerment to catch people’s attention and nudge them towards action.

The OWC has a suite of action-oriented, on-the-ground programs that empower hundreds of watershed residents each year and make it easier for people to take action to improve watershed health. For example, one program supports rural landowners financially and technically to implement projects that protect and improve water quality and riparian areas. Other programs include weed pulls, forums, workshops and tours. They share knowledge and provide practical tools and resources to empower people to take positive action to improve water quality, conserve water and improve the overall health of the watershed.

More people would get involved in their programs and take action to improve watershed health if they had the capacity to implement their Communications and Outreach Work Plan.

The OWC has current, credible and compelling scientific data, including from a recently completed landuse mapping project, that must be used as soon as possible to share an impactful story of what is happening on the landscape and what people can do to help improve it. It is imperative that they take this opportunity to use the data now before it is out of date and more damage is done. The large scale and fast pace of activities that degrade the Oldman watershed are such that they must ramp-up their efforts to reach more people.
With recent flooding and the release of the draft South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, people are paying more attention to landuse issues and there could not be a more opportune time to take advantage of an audience eager to learn more about their environment and take action for its improvement. People are actively looking for information and wanting answers to difficult questions and the OWC has the current information and credible data to help answer these questions. Furthermore, they have the resources and tools to empower people to act so that they can be a part of the solutions to watershed issues