Category Archives: Livestock Programming

Project Spotlight: Marynowski Alternative Watering System and Exclusion Fencing Project March 23rd, 2018

Posted in: Livestock Programming Watershed Moments

The Marynowski family is farming a legacy of sustainability. In 2017, the Marynowski family partnered with Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) to implement a year-round solar powered alternative watering system and exclusion fencing project for their 150 beef cattle operation. Alternative watering systems use solar panels, wind turbines, or a combination of both to power a pumping system for providing safe and reliable drinking water to livestock from a nearby source. Alternative watering systems can improve water quality and reduce streambank erosion by controlling livestock access to surface water, like dugouts, rivers, and streams. Exclusion fencing around dugouts and waterways reduce the risk of herd health problems relating to direct watering, like fluke worm, foot rot, and other water borne diseases. Exclusion fencing can also prevent injury or death caused by livestock falling through ice or getting stuck, drowning, or suffocating in muddy rivers and ponds.

The Marynowski Alternative Watering System replaced a dugout, which had served as a watering hole for their summer grazing and overwintering pasture site. The family drilled a deep well at their own expense to mitigate potential problems in drought years when dugouts tend to dry out.

A 24 volt centric pump located in the well is powered by two (2) 160 watt solar panels hooked up to four (4) deep cycle batteries. The system allows the pump to run off of solar energy while excess energy is stored in the batteries for later use at night or on overcast days. The advantage of solar powered systems is that they can be used in areas where electric power lines are unavailable or too expensive to set up. Solar powered systems also replace the need for generators because they are able to run during electric power blackouts. The well head, batteries, and system controls are sheltered in a small shed. This sheltered structure makes it easy to access the system for monitoring and maintenance, especially during inclement weather. The solar panels and motion eye sensor, which activates the pump when cattle approach the trough, are securely mounted high up on the shed to protect the expensive components against damage from livestock and curious wildlife. A new system feature allows an option for producers to use a smartphone app for remotely monitoring system parameters, such as pumping rate and volume. The subscription-based app costs a few dollars a month and requires an area with cell reception to send producers system status notifications.

The Marynowski family also implemented an exclusion fencing project around their dugout. The fencing extends past their dugout and encloses an area which also functions as a bale storage area. This unique multi-purpose space improves on-farm management by keeping bales close at hand and out of livestock reach. The fenced-off area simultaneously acts as a buffer to reduce the likelihood of water contamination caused by manure being washed into the dugout during the spring runoff and after heavy rainfall events.

The projects implemented by the SRRCD are initiated at the local level by people whose livelihoods are deeply connected to the landscape. These innovative projects are custom designed to benefit the unique needs of each farm and to improve the health of our watershed. The SRRCD funded the total project cost of $9,300 for the Marynowski Alternative Watering system and Exclusion Fencing Project:

 

Item Cost
Solar System $6,200
Shed $850
Batteries $700
Delivery $150
Installation $600
Excavation $700
Fencing materials $100 *
Project Total $9,300
SRRCD Cost $4,675
Landowner cost $4,625

 

*Funded at 75% of cost, remainder of items funded at 50% cost

Looking Ahead: Lessons Learned

The Marynowski Alternative Watering System has been running at full capacity this winter. The watering trough where the cattle drink has been accessible throughout the winter months and there have been no problems with the trough freezing over. The Marynowski family will be adding a wind turbine to the system to supplement the solar panels. The system can run effectively for up to five (5) consecutive days during overcast and cold winter days. Installing more solar panels requires the addition of more batteries to increase energy storage capacity. The option to add a wind turbine provides a secondary battery recharge mechanism during overcast conditions to ensure that the system will operate most effectively 365 days a year.

The success of these riparian livestock management projects have spread throughout the district. The SRRCD is looking forward to implementing more projects with local producers throughout our watershed.

The SRRCD provides funding for riparian livestock management projects, including:

  • Alternative watering (river, creeks), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $7,500
  • NOTE: The SRRCD does not cover the cost of well drilling.
  • Riparian fencing (rivers, creeks), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $4,000
  • Livestock crossing improvement, 75% SRRCD contribution up to $1,000
  • Alternative watering (dugouts), 50% SRRCD contribution up to $5,000
  • NOTE: The SRRCD does not cover the cost of well drilling.
  • Exclusion fencing (dugouts), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $1,000
  • Grant writing to help you cover 100% of qualifying projects

The SRRCD encourages producers to apply as soon as possible for available funding by contacting our Steinbach office at (204) 326-1030, or our Vita office at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at www.srrcd.ca to download your applications today.

Farming for the Future: Young Farmers at Work in Roseau River Watershed February 16th, 2018

Posted in: Livestock Programming Watershed Moments

Livestock producers in the Roseau River watershed are farming for the future in partnership with Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD). They are innovative young families enhancing their farming operations with environmentally sustainable livestock management initiatives, like alternative watering systems, exclusion fencing, and livestock crossings.

Alternative watering systems provide livestock with a safe, clean, and reliable source of drinking water. They use a solar or wind powered pump to draw water from nearby water sources. These systems are used to restrict livestock access to surface water, such as dugouts, rivers, and streams. Fencing off dugouts and waterways can reduce the risk of herd health problems relating to direct watering, like fluke worm, foot rot, and other water borne diseases. Exclusion fencing can also prevent injury or death caused by livestock falling through ice or getting stuck, drowning, or suffocating in muddy rivers and ponds. Livestock crossings allow cattle to safely cross waterways without disturbing the natural flow of water or the vegetated area along waterways known as riparian zones. Riparian livestock management protects waterways from erosion, sedimentation, and loss of riparian vegetation from constant grazing. Programs for establishing alternative watering systems, exclusion fencing, and livestock crossings prevent cattle from drinking water contaminated with manure. They also reduce nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, flowing downstream into Lake Winnipeg.

Livestock producers in the Roseau River watershed are looking for sustainable ways to keep the farm in the family. They are recognizing opportunities for lowering the cost of production by reducing risks to herd health and improving water quality for future generations. Local farmers working in partnership with the SRRCD implemented several riparian livestock management programs in the Roseau River watershed. The projects implemented by the SRRCD are initiated at the local level by people whose livelihoods are deeply connected to the landscape. These innovate projects are custom designed to benefit the unique needs of each farm and to improve the health of our watershed.

The Marynowski family installed a fencing enclosure to limit livestock access to their dugout area. The enclosure also includes additional room for bale storage. The family drilled a well at their own expense to provide a reliable drinking water source to their 150 cattle during the winter and summer months. This alternative watering system draws water from the well using a solar powered pump. The system also has an option for allowing the farmer to use a smartphone app for remotely monitoring parameters, like pump output.

The Schubert exclusion fencing project was implemented to keep cattle out of a flood-prone riparian area, which regularly overflowed water beyond the existing fence line. The Schuberts drilled a well, at their own expense, on a nearby ridge and moved the herd’s watering area to higher ground. The family is now looking into upgrading their existing solar watering system by incorporating a wind turbine to better accommodate overcast weather conditions.

The Barnabe family from Woodmore implemented an alternative watering system for their expanding livestock operation with 220 head of cattle. The system draws water from a nearby gravel pit during the winter and summer months.

The Chubaty alternative watering system near Ridgeville is an all-season project, which provides safe and reliable access to 150 calf/cow pairs and is the second project undertaken by the Chubaty family in the last five (5) years.

The Abrams solar winter watering system and exclusion fencing project currently accommodates 30-40 head of cattle. The family is looking to expand their livestock operation as part of a larger farm improvement plan.

The Boileau family incorporated numerous on-farm improvements to their 140 calf/cow pair farming operation. The Boileau’s installed exclusion fencing on three (3) dugouts and implemented a well head remediation project to improve the conditions of the existing well structure.

The success of these riparian livestock management projects have spread throughout the district by word-of-mouth advertising. The SRRCD is looking forward to implementing more projects with local producers throughout our watershed.

The SRRCD provides funding for riparian livestock management projects, including:

  • Alternative watering (waterway protection), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $7,500
  • Riparian fencing (waterway protection), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $4,000
  • Livestock crossing improvement, 75% SRRCD contribution up to $1,000
  • Alternative watering (groundwater protection), 50% SRRCD contribution up to $5,000
  • Exclusion fencing (groundwater protection), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $1,000
  • Grant writing to help you cover 100% of qualifying projects

The SRRCD encourages producers to apply as soon as possible for available funding. The SRRCD is available at our Steinbach office by telephone at (204) 326-1030, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at www.srrcd.ca to download your applications today.

Funk Cross-River Fence Unique to Canada: Pilot-Project a Success August 23rd, 2016

Posted in: Livestock Programming Watershed Moments

The Rat River is a picturesque waterway viewed from Peter Funk’s farm, located south of Grunthal, MB along Highway #216. The river winds its way through Peter’s pastureland as it crosses the highway and flows into St. Malo Lake. Peter needs to fence off the river to prevent his cattle from wandering away when the river level is low. Fencing off the river, however, creates an obstruction and safety concern for river users accessing the waterway throughout the year.

A canoeist from Ontario recently received a shock after canoeing into an electric fence hung over the Nith River near Kitchener. The safety and accessibility of waterways and the need for exclusion fencing for riparian livestock management is a source of contention between farmers and recreational river users. The wire fence Peter hung across the river was frequently cut until he spoke with Robert Budey, a Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) sub-watershed representative of the Rat River & Joubert Creek watershed.

“I spoke with Peter and brought up the issue at the next sub-district meeting,” said Robert. “The sub-district passed a recommendation for a cross-river fence pilot-project that was adopted by the SRRCD Board of Directors in 2015.”

Blog 3

Funk Cross-River Fence viewed from the Rat River along Highway #216

Funk Cross-River Fence Design

The SRRCD partnered with Peter Funk to find an innovative response to the mutual concerns on both side of the fence. Chris Randall, SRRCD Project Supervisor, provided his expertise as an environmental professional and long-time canoeing enthusiast to acquire the necessary permits and implement a customized design for Peter.

IMG_0003

Constructing the Funk Cross-River Fence

The Funk Cross-River Fence is made up of a steel cable strung across the river and secured to fence posts. The cable is raised a few metres above the water level so that river users can safely navigate the waterway underneath the cable. Plastic PVC pipes hanging from the cable are uniformly spaced apart to create a ‘curtain’ effect. The curtain effect of the pipes acts as a visual barrier to deter livestock from wandering away. It also allows canoeists to safely manoeuver through the pipes that hang freely above the riverbed. The design of the pipe assembly consists of a wire that is threaded through a drilled hole in the pipe and looped around the steel cable. The pipe assembly is designed so that individual pipes can be easily replaced. The pipes are spaced one foot apart and secured in place to a rope threaded through the wire loops. The rope is used to pull the curtain of pipes back into the riverbank to allow snowmobilers and cross-country skiers safe access to the waterway in winter.

IMG_3200

Funk Cross-River Fence pipe assembly

Funk Cross-River Fence Unique to Canada

 A variation of the Funk Cross-River Fence design was first developed in the United States by the Dolores River Boating Advocates in Colorado. The group became concerned by a boating accident involving a man who was snagged by barbed wire under the surface of the water. The boaters collaborated with a local rancher to develop a river fence to protect both river users and livestock. The resulting river fence in Colorado provided the inspiration for the Funk Cross-River Fence pilot-project implemented by the SRRCD in 2015 and completed with follow-up activities taking place in 2016.

The Funk Cross-River Fence is unique to Canada and was funded by the SRRCD for under $1,000. The high visibility of the river fence along Highway #216 has stirred curiosity in the local community. The SRRCD has subsequently committed to installing two more cross-river fences in the area as word-of-mouth conversations between neighbours speak to the success of this unique pilot-project.

IMG_0006

Funk Cross-River Fence in-action

Successful watershed initiatives are established at the local level by innovators, like Peter Funk and Robert Budey. Our programs are created by early adopters who challenge us to embrace innovation by working together to find creative solutions at the local, sub-watershed, and board levels. District members, like Robert Budey, go the extra mile to make meaningful connections on the ground and the success of the Funk Cross-River Fence gives meaning to the value of active district member engagement with the local community.

“We work in a lot of riparian areas,” says Robert, “and it’s important to use the resources we already have to find the best solutions that benefit agriculture and the local community.”

The SRRCD is always looking for new ways to partner with our watershed residents and we are pleased to do the legwork behind the resource planning needed to implement a project, allowing you to focus on doing what you do best.

Visit our website at www.srrcd.ca to learn more about the programs we offer.

 

 

SRRCD Wins Bajkov Award May 8th, 2016

Posted in: Environmental Education General Livestock Programming Rain Gardens Tourond Creek Discovery Centre / Rosenthal Nature Park Trees Water Quality Testing Water Storage/Retention Watershed Moments Wells

Spirits were highSRRCD Award photo - Chris Randall- Jodi Goerzen- Cornie Goertzen- Alex Salki-Larry Bugera at Fort Whyte Alive as representatives of Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) Board of Directors and staff were honoured with the 2015 Alexander Bajkov Award. The award is given annually by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) to people who have worked passionately to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.

“The Seine-Rat River Conservation District exemplifies the community collaboration necessary to create meaningful change for Lake Winnipeg. Its board, staff, volunteers and the community members who participate in its many projects are dedicated to sustainable watershed stewardship – and not afraid to get their hands dirty. It’s a great example of grassroots cooperation in action” said Alexis Kanu, Lake Winnipeg Foundation’s Executive Director.

The Bajkov award is named in memory of pioneering fisheries biologist, Dr. Alexander Bajkov, and commemorates his contributions and dedication to the understanding of Lake Winnipeg. The award is usually presented to a single individual who demonstrates outstanding efforts to protect and restore the lake and its watershed. It was awarded this year to a group of dedicated individuals whose outstanding community efforts were recognized.

Since 2002, the SRRCD has promoted sustainable watershed stewardship in an area of southeast Manitoba with some of the largest nutrient loads flowing into the Red River and Lake Winnipeg.  Many of their programs are aimed at re-establishing natural ecosystem capacity to reduce the high nutrient loads.  The district’s efforts have led to involvement of new municipal partners, and improvements in municipal cooperation and relations.  The SRRCD began as one RM and now involves the Municipalities of La Broquerie, Ste. Anne, Hanover, Stuartburn, De Salaberry, Ritchot, Taché, Reynolds, Springfield, Montcalm, Emerson-Franklin, Piney, City of Steinbach, Town of Ste. Anne, Village of St-Pierre-Jolys, and Town of Niverville.

Alex Salki, Chair of the LWF Science Advisory Council, nominated the SRRCD for this year’s award, “The SRRCD has been involved in many special projects and partnerships including water storage, abandoned well sealing, rain gardens, willow-bioengineering for erosion control, grassed waterways, tree planting, environmental education, water quality testing in local rivers, watershed assessments, and integrated watershed management planning. It is a grassroots organization working hard from the bottom up to bring about important changes necessary to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.”

Cornie Goertzen, Chair of the SRRCD Board of Directors, was all smiles as he graciously accepted the award on behalf of his beloved District. “The heart of our watershed initiatives are made up of grassroots experts who go the extra mile to build meaningful connections on the local level. While the wellbeing of our waterways are intrinsic to the health of Lake Winnipeg, our programs are strengthened through meaningful partnerships that have the potential to transform local initiatives into grassroots movements.”

The LWF is an environmental non-governmental organization working to restore and protect the health of Lake Winnipeg through research, public education, stewardship and collaboration. For more information about the LWF and its watershed initiatives, visit them online at www.lakewinnipegfoundation.org

The SRRCD is a grassroots conservation group dedicated to supporting and promoting the sustainable management of land and water resources in southeast Manitoba. www.srrcd.ca.

Alex Salki and Cornie Goertzen