The Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards are facing financial detriments, and are warning the City of Swift Current about the future.

Since 2021, the SCCWS has been operating at a reduced capacity. With the 2021 removal of the Ministry of Agriculture contract, the group has been down one of its two regular full-time employees and has been without the contract's additional funding.

This situation has forced the SCCWS to operate in the red, eating the negative returns with a reserve saved up over previous years. Currently the account only has around $105,000 left for operations, or close to three years worth of budget.

While he hasn't asked the City of Swift Current to step in with financial aid yet, SCCWS Executive Director Kevin Steinly did bring Swift Current city council up to speed at the latest governance and priorities meeting.

"This letter is to inform our municipal stakeholders about the changes to the SCCWS in the past two years and at this time is not an ask for monetary support," said Steinly. "However, if the financial situation of SCCWS continues to deteriorate, municipal support may be required to maintain our operation."

Since its inception almost a quarter of a century ago, the SCCWS has been maintaining the health and integrity of not only the Swift Current Creek but also surrounding bodies of water as well. Work has been done with the Town of Herbet on water conservation, and research on possible flood irrigation re-use for Rush Lake and Waldeck are examples of the impact the group has had in the surrounding region.

Here in Swift Current, many may be familiar with the Frog Hoppers program, which sees kids educated on the Swift Current Creek in school. There is also the invasive weeds program, which seeks to not only irradicate invasive plant species but to also educate people on how to identify them and report them for documentation.

These programs and other projects maintained by the SCCWS come under threat if they continue to operate in the red.

"With these changes in funding, the SCCWS is now operating with a part-time Executive Director and a summer student," said Steinly. "The change in funding by WSA has meant that there has been an increased focus on the delivery of province-wide programming and projects, but less on local programming that the SCCWS has always provided."

Steinly is actively pursuing new revenue streams and projects that will help keep the SCCWS afloat.

His presentation to city council saw him request an opportunity to attend at another date, to go into an in-depth analysis and breakdown of the situation. City council was receptive to this idea.