Category Archives: General

Celebrating 12 Years: The SRRCD is here to Stay August 17th, 2017

Posted in: General Watershed Moments

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) is celebrating an important watershed moment on August 24, 2017.

 

The SRRCD was officially awarded the Order in Council from the Province on Manitoba on August 24, 2005. Today, the SRRCD is comprised of 16 municipalities, over 7,000 square kilometers in southeast Manitoba, and a population of approximately 70,000 people. The people we work with are passionate about making a difference. They are farmers, local experts, innovators, and community leaders collaborating on watershed initiatives throughout our district.

 

The programs we deliver are built from the ground-up at the local level. An Integrated Watershed Management Plan is a cooperative community-driven planning document used to identify land and water-related issues and actions to achieve goals for key priority areas, including source water protection, surface water management, water quality protection, and riparian and aquatic ecosystem management. The SRRCD has developed IWMPs for the Seine River and Rat River watersheds, and a third plan is underway for the Roseau River watershed. We work closely with our partners and local communities to meet the goals identified in our plans.

 

The SRRCD works diligently to protect and conserve the quality and quantity of groundwater in our watershed. We have sealed 269 abandoned wells in our district and tested 4,515 private wells for the presence of coliform and E. coli bacteria. We have also transported over 1,000 private well water samples to the lab in Winnipeg on behalf of local residents on our RM Private Well Water Testing Days. Groundwater is the primary water supply for domestic, municipal, commercial, and agricultural purposes in our area. Protecting and conserving water quality is vitally important for watershed residents and the ecological health of our watershed.

 

The SRRCD has also completed 19 water retention structures and over 25 water retention studies and surveys throughout our district. Naturalized water retentions utilize the ecological functions of wetlands to slow high water flows, reduce surface water runoff from urban and semi-urban areas, and mitigate the effects of downstream flooding. The De Salaberry Crown Lands & Skyline Dairy Water Retention project is the largest water retention project implemented by the SRRCD and holds 376 acre feet of water. It is also among the first retention projects in Manitoba constructed on agriculturally leased Crown Land. We are always looking for opportunities to implement innovative sustainable surface water management solutions in the Southeast.

 

Our rain garden program is also a unique surface water management strategy for urban areas. We have implemented six (6) rain gardens in our watershed with plans for two (2) more as this program is quickly gaining momentum in urban areas. A rain garden is a bowl-shaped perennial garden that captures surface water runoff. They are typically planted in residential areas where water flows off roofs, streets, sidewalks, driveways, sump pump discharge areas, and parking lots. Surface water runoff that is unable to infiltrate into the soil may be directed into the street and can subsequently overwhelm drainage infrastructure. The perennial plants in the rain garden take up nutrients and clean the water as it absorbs into the soil. Rain gardens also create habitat for birds, bees, butterflies, and other wildlife. They are also an innovative sustainable surface water management strategy for reducing water runoff at the property and neighbourhood scale.

 

The SRRCD was awarded Lake Winnipeg Foundation’s 2016 Alexander Bajkov Award for supporting best management practices in rural Manitoba, and as an active participant in LWF’s community-based monitoring program. We operate 20 surface water quality monitoring sites in partnership with the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) Community-Based Monitoring Network. Regular water quality testing in our waterways gives us a better understanding of where nutrients are coming from and how much phosphorus is leaving our watershed for Lake Winnipeg. We use our water quality data to help us identify what we can do to target our programs at the watershed scale for the benefit of our local environment, including riparian areas along our waterways.

 

The SRRCD has implemented 26 riparian livestock management projects in our district. Each project we implement on the ground at the grassroots level are custom designed in partnership with local watershed residents. Our riparian livestock management programs benefit farming operations and the local area. Riparian areas refer to vegetated areas along streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. The Mateychuk Winter Watering System is designed to provide a safe and reliable water source to livestock. It uses a solar powered pump to draw water from a nearby dugout. The system has already weathered several winters of use and numerous extreme cold weather events. It is a great way to limit livestock access to surface water, like rivers, streams, and dugouts. Limiting livestock access to waterways also reduces the high cost and risk of exposing livestock to herd health problems, such as water-transmitted diseases, foot rot, leg injuries, and death from cattle falling through the dugout ice while trying to access the water.

 

We have also planted over 8,000 trees to date, including willows, oak, maple, poplar, aspen, and dogwood. Our riparian tree planting programs are geared towards reducing stream bank erosion and establishing tree buffers. The SRRCD is committed to programs that enhance the ecological health of our riparian areas and we look forward to planting many more trees in the years to come.

 

Our story began with a bold vision for sustainable integrated watershed management. The SRRCD is here to stay as we continue to seek innovative new ways of engaging our watershed residents and utilizing expert local knowledge to meet the unique needs of our landscape. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Province of Manitoba and our municipal partners as we celebrate 12 years together in the Southeast.

SRRCD La Broquerie Office has Moved to 154 Friesen Avenue in Steinbach July 11th, 2017

Posted in: General Watershed Moments

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) is now open for business – in Steinbach! Our new head office location in Steinbach features plenty of homey space. That’s because we’ve converted a house into a fully functional modern office.

We are now located at the corner of Friesen Avenue and Brandt Street in the heart of Steinbach’s downtown central business district. This 1,328 square foot house with four offices, two bathrooms, multi-purpose meeting space, and a double car garage is an ideal fit for the needs of our growing district. Our main floor was redesigned to host our regular Board and Sub-Watershed District Committee meetings. The remodeled entrance features a warm welcome area with informational resources for visitors. There is also plenty of room in the finished basement to set up additional workstations, as well as to host district-related training seminars and events. Our two car garage doubles as a workshop for building and maintaining district projects on-site.

The SRRCD is excited to establish an urban presence in a convenient new location central to our district. We look forward to demonstrating the effectiveness of urban storm water management with future plans for developing a rain garden right here in our own backyard. Our exciting move enables opportunities for our district to establish new networks and connections as we collaborate on watershed initiatives among friends and partners around our homestyle “kitchen” table.

The SRRCD was pleased and proud to receive approval in April from the Province and all our 16 municipal partners to proceed with the purchase of 154 Friesen Avenue. Thank you for all your support in making this move possible.

Come on by to take a tour,  pick up a program application, or to find out more about your watershed. We’ll put the coffee on!

 

Seine-Rat River Conservation District

154 Friesen Avenue

Steinbach, MB, R5G 0T5

(204) 326-1030

info@srrcd.ca

www.srrcd.ca

 

Our Vita field office is open for business as always. You can visit our field office in Vita at 108 Main Street North. We can also be reached in Vita by telephone at (204) 425-7877.

Municipal Partners of the SRRCD:

RM of La Broquerie

RM of Ste. Anne

Town of Ste. Anne

RM of Reynolds

RM of Stuartburn

RM of Hanover

City of Steinbach

RM of Taché

RM of Springfield

RM of Ritchot

RM of De Salaberry

Village of St-Pierre-Jolys

RM of Montcalm

RM of Emerson-Franklin

Town of Niverville

RM of Piney

Lake Winnipeg Foundation Community-Based Monitoring 2017 Regional Report for SRRCD May 9th, 2017

Posted in: General Water Quality Testing Watershed Moments

Lake Winnipeg Foundation Community-Based Monitoring 2017 Regional Report for SRRCD

Click here to view the Lake Winnipeg Foundation 2017 report for the Seine-Rat River Conservation District.

Roseau River Surface Water Assessment Complete November 15th, 2016

Posted in: General Water Storage/Retention Watershed Moments

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) recently completed a surface water assessment in the Roseau River watershed. The purpose of this assessment is to help communities develop sustainable surface water management strategies and increase understanding of how water flows into the Roseau River by creating an inventory of culverts located throughout the watershed.

This summer, the SRRCD partnered with the RMs of Stuartburn and Piney to collect culvert flow information on municipally managed culverts. Field staff used global positioning satellite (GPS) survey equipment to identify 2,175 culvert locations in the watershed. Staff also recorded elevation at the upstream and downstream end of each culvert, as well as information about culvert type (corrugated steel, plastic); restrictions (gate, apron); and culvert condition (torn, crushed, blocked, or altered pipe) for each municipality.

The GPS data collected throughout the surface water assessment can be analyzed using computer mapping software to show culvert locations and alignments for hydro-conditioning Digital Elevation Models (DEM). Hydro-conditioning refers to the process of using computer mapping software to accurately represent the flow of water across the contours of our landscape, including hills, valleys, cliffs, depressions, and even under roads. Hydro-conditioned DEMs can now allow us to accurately calculate where water will flow after a rain event. It is also possible to calculate the effects of changes on the landscape, such as replacing a small culvert with a large culvert. This means that the capacity to model surface water flows will give decision-makers better information on implementing sustainable surface water management strategies, including water storage and drought preparedness.

Water storage is important for slowing the flow of water to mitigate the effects of flooding on homeowners and agricultural land. Hydro-conditioned DEM surface water models are used to identify water storage sites in the watershed that are most beneficial to the community. Water storage and drought preparedness modelling are both currently being prepared by the province. Everyone agrees that the only thing worse than too much water is not enough water at all.

The inventory of culverts collected through the surface water assessment provides municipalities with information about the status of each culvert under their management. Municipalities can take short-term action to replace or maintain culverts identified in the inventory as no longer functioning due to damage, alteration, or blockages. The inventory also allows municipalities to develop long-term asset management strategies to optimize water management needs throughout the area by resizing or repositioning culverts, as well as replacing culverts that may be reaching the end of their design life.

The surface water assessment conducted by the SRRCD is a successful initiative that provides benefits to local municipalities in partnership with the district. The RM of Stuartburn recognizes the importance of these benefits for planning and decision-making.

Jim Swidersky, Reeve of the RM of Stuartburn, says, “Useful information is the lead to all projects because it increases the capacity for communities and local government to make more informed decisions.”

The SRRCD is pleased to partner with municipalities in our district by developing initiatives that benefit the health of our watershed. Feel free to contact our offices in La Broquerie and Vita for more information about the Roseau River Surface Water Assessment. We can be reached in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845 or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at www.srrcd.ca.