The Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority and 35 others across the province feel blindsided by the province's sudden demand to reduce or eliminate many programs, to cut costs.
Environment Minister Jeff Yurek sent a letter to all conservation authorities last Friday, telling them to "begin preparations and planning to wind down" programs that fall outside their "core mandate".
The demand follows passage of the More Homes, More Choice Act in June, which contains changes to the Conservation Authorities Act.
One of many programs likely on the chopping block is drinking water source protection.
ABCA general Manager Brian Horner wants to meet with Yurek, and says local communities have not had time to add their input.
An official with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority predicts that if the changes go through, two-thirds of that organization's 95 person workforce would lose their jobs.