The recent provincial budget is putting pressure on the Meewasin Valley Authority.
The province cut $409,000 from the MVA, which amounts to a 17 per cent reduction in statutory funding.
Meewasin CEO Lloyd Isaak said the change is making this year’s MVA budget the most challenging in the organization’s nearly 40-year history.
“We are already in a situation where our budgets are extremely tight and we were hoping we would get a renewed commitment from our participating parties,” Isaak said, noting the cuts mean fewer new hires.
“We’re not going to be hiring three summer students this summer to help us do the conservation work we need to do.”
The MVA’s popular Pelican Watch contest will also be scraped, at least for the time being.
“At this stage, we’re left with little choice but to look for dollars everywhere,” Isaak said.
Each spring, the program has bird watchers flocking to the Saskatoon weir to spot the return of the American White Pelican.
Also impacted in the cuts: the annual clean-up campaign, which sees the co-ordinated efforts of thousands of volunteers.
“We’re going to be running the program this year, because we’re well into it. But for next year, we’re not going to be able to offer that,” Isaak said.
After a 25-year program run, interpretive canoe tours on the South Saskatchewan River will no longer be offered. The tours allowed novice canoeists a chance to learn about the river while out on the water.
Meewasin will continue to operate the Beaver Creek Conservation Area, however the number of days the BCCA will be open to the general public will be reduced.