Welcome to the Milk River Watershed Council Canada

KF0_1977.jpgThe Milk River watershed is a unique watershed located in the most southern part of Alberta. It is unique, known not just for its dry climate, extraordinary landscapes and diverse plant and wildlife communities but also for the direction in which the Milk River flows.  The Milk River is the only watershed in Alberta that drains south to the Gulf of Mexico.  Alberta shares the Milk River watershed with the province of Saskatchewan and the State of Montana, U.S.A.

Water shortages are not uncommon in the Milk River watershed.  As the problem of water scarcity continues to grow, proper water and watershed management is critical.  The Milk River Watershed Council Canada is committed to working with government and non-government agencies, other non-profit organizations, industry and Milk River watershed residents to effectively manage watershed resources.

Anyone living and/or working in the Milk River watershed is invited to participate.  Please browse through our website and see how you can get involved in the many exciting activities of the MRWCC!

Nominations are open!

Nominations are now open for our Heritage Tree and Environmental Stewardship Awards. The winners will be announced at our Community Appreciation Forum in March 2020.

If you have any questions contact Mary.

Environmental Stewardship Award

Heritage Tree


Milk River Watershed Alliance Film Project

The Milk River Watershed Alliance (Montana) in partnership with, Montana DNRC, Conservation districts/Counties of the highline, Blackfeet Nation, and the Milk River Watershed Council Canada have completed a video to showcase the St Mary Diversion headworks and challenges facing water security for communities on both sides of the border!

Please watch the video, share, and start a conversation; the MRWCC is working with our partners to facilitate long term solutions to water security that strikes a balance on environmental, social, and economic challenges.

As residents, recreationalists, and water users you need to let your elected officials from Municipal, Provincial, and Federal governments know that political will and leadership are required to ensure security.

Link to the Video:

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Quick Facts:

  • Do you know where our water comes from?

On average 80-90% of the river flow of the Milk River comes from a diversion off the St Mary’s River in Montana. If not for the St Mary’s diversion, most years late summer natural flow of the Milk River east of the Town of Milk River would be non-existent.

  • Groundwater and Milk River flow

Studies have demonstrated the connectivity of the Milk River to both the Whiskey Valley Aquifer and the Milk River aquifer. Over 350 farms, acreages, even parks are reliant on Water Co-ops that draw from the Milk River and adjacent aquifer for domestic drinking water. Thanks to leadership of the MRWCC and Geological Survey of Canada, we have some of the best transboundary aquifer mapping resources in the world right here in Milk River.

  • Water quality of the Milk River is affected by the St Marys River

The MRWCC has been monitoring water quality along the Milk River and many important tributaries for over 10 years. This data has helped form some of the most complete long term trend data sets found in any of the provinces major watersheds. Trends have shown us there are distinct differences in water quality between the Milk River natural flow which is high in salts and influenced by springs/groundwater flows; and St Marys River which is often higher in quality and glacial fed. The Milk River is distinctly two different rivers between the diversion and non-diversion periods.        

  • Water and agriculture

There are over 93,000 acres of irrigation reliant on the Milk River throughout the highline of Montana, and on average 8600 acres in Alberta. The Milk River is just as valuable to the ranching community with thousands of head of livestock reliant on the Milk River for water sources, rich riparian plains for grazing and refuge. 


Summary Report of Past Water Supply Investigations in the Milk River Basin

The summary looks at over 40 years of water management and storage investigations that Cover.JPGhave occurred in the Milk River basin, many of which have not publicly been available to watershed stakeholders and community members.
This summary document is intended to provide an objective review of past water supply investigations and supporting studies to establish a common understanding of the work completed among water managers and water users. The document may be used to guide future planning and decision-making to improve water security and drought resilience in the Milk River basin.
Release Letter
Summary Report




Learn more about how we are helping contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals!

We are excited to be a part of Together Alberta in Profile which promotes Albertans making a difference through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals. Watch and share our profile if you believe everyone can do something to make the world a better place!



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Funding Available For Phase 2 Stewardship Implementation Projects!

Attention Milk River Watershed Residents and Producers!

The MRWCC has secured funding for Milk River residents and producers through the Watershed Restoration and Resiliency Program (WRRP) to initiate a riparian restoration and stewardship program. 

Funding available to residents and agricultural producers!

Funding is available to residents and agricultural producers located along the sand-bed reach and along select tributaries across the entire watershed. 

Learn more

For more information please contact mary@mrwcc.ca or 403-647-3808



School Field Trips

The Milk River Watershed Council Canada and Alberta Parks are partnering to offer experiential programs that support the learning outcomes of Alberta Education. These new programs will be piloted in Spring 2018 at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park / Áísínai'pi National Historic Site.

View the new Education Outreach Programs for Elementary and Middle Schools

For further information please contact Kandra Forbes at 403-647-4306

The Milk River Transboundary State of the Watershed Report - 2nd Edition

SOW_Cover-website_0.jpgThe MRWCC is please to release the 2nd Edition of the Milk River Transboundary State of the Watershed Report. This report is a significant achievement in the move towards resource management that is uninhibited by political boundaries. Resource managers in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and in the state of Montana in the United States joined together with the Milk River Watershed Council Canada to report on the state of the Milk River watershed.

This report documents general trends in the condition of natural resources in the watershed and includes information on:

  • Watershed Characteristics
  • Socio-economic conditions
  • Surface water quantity and allocation
  • Surface water quality
  • Groundwater
  • Riparian areas and wetlands
  • Biodiversity
  • Land use
  • Watershed stewardship

A read only copy of the report can be accessed below. A printable version is available under Library.

Hard copies of the report are available at the MRWCC office located in the Town Office at 240 Main Street in Milk River, Counties of Warner, Cardston, Cypress, and Forty Mile. For more information please contact us at 403-647-3808 or email mary@mrwcc.ca

Production of this report was a collaborative effort by numerous stakeholders.

The MRWCC wishes to thank everyone for their contribution.