Category Archives: Tourond Creek Discovery Centre / Rosenthal Nature Park

Composting Toilets at Tourond Creek Discovery Centre June 8th, 2018

Posted in: Tourond Creek Discovery Centre / Rosenthal Nature Park Watershed Moments

 

The Tourond Creek Discovery Centre (TCDC) is a unique public destination and outdoor learning environment located along Highway #52 near Kleefeld. Walking trails throughout the centre connect five distinct habitats to a viewing dock, lookout tower, and picnic shelter. School groups and outdoor enthusiasts visit the TCDC to explore nature in this naturalized space. It is also a convenient park-and-ride-sharing hub for local area commuters. The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) recognized an opportunity to accommodate TCDC visitors by installing composting toilet facilities.

The TCDC features two composting toilet facilities for public use. A waterless alternative to conventional systems is needed since running water is unavailable at this former waste disposal site. Composting toilets use natural processes to decompose human waste within a controlled environment. Over 90% of the waste entering the composting chamber is made up of water, which is evaporated through the toilet’s ventilation system. A scoop of carbon material, such as sawdust, dried leaves, or straw is added to the composting chamber after each use. The carbon binds with the nitrogen found in liquid and solid human waste to eliminate odor as well as to form the main nutrients found in compost. A balance of oxygen, moisture, heat, and organic material provides a rich environment for oxygen-loving bacteria to decompose the solid waste material. The composting chamber is manually stirred with a built-in agitator. A raking mechanism is manually operated to separate finished compost into a tray for removal. Composting toilets are a great option for places where septic and water systems are unavailable or cost-prohibitive.

Envirolet Waterless Self-Contained system (above)

The SRRCD installed two different composting toilet systems by Envriolet (www.envirolet.ca), including the Envirolet Waterless Self-Contained system and Waterless Remote system.

The Envirolet Waterless Self-Contained unit was installed in the ground-level washroom to accommodate easy accessibly for all mobility types. This unit has a full-time capacity of four persons and a vacation capacity of six persons. The toilet and composting chamber are both incorporated into this stand-alone unit, which is ideal for remote or isolated locations.

The Envirolet Waterless Remote system was installed in the elevated washroom and is designed to demonstrate what a composting system looks like in a home or cottage. The composting chamber is housed below the floor directly under the toilet. It has a larger full-time capacity of six persons and a vacation capacity of eight persons. The unit can be installed in the basement or on the ground outside.

Each washroom is mounted with a solar panel and battery system to power an electric ventilation fan in both the self-contained and remote systems. The small fan built into the unit circulates oxygen throughout the composting chamber while a small ventilation turbine draws odor and evaporated material into the atmosphere. The TCDC is a very windy site and the ventilation turbine draws nearly all odor from the composting chamber. The battery system is subsequently rarely used.

The SRRCD maintains and operates composting toilet facilities at TCDC throughout the spring and summer months between the snow melt and first snowfall. Daily use of the toilets at TCDC is much lower than their capacity since toilet use is largely related to event bookings. The TCDC hosted 17 groups events in 2017, not including visitors from the general public. There have been minimal problems with exceeded capacity since SRRCD staff regularly monitor the status of the toilet systems. The units are able to handle single-ply toilet paper and carbon additives, like saw dust after each use. The SRRCD stocks foam hand sanitizers in each washroom for personal hygiene. The composting facilities at TCDC are compliant with provincial regulations for composting toilets and health and safety standards for their use.

Our biggest challenge in maintaining composting toilets for public use is teaching people how to use them. Some of the problems we have experienced are associated with using more sawdust than necessary after each use, or leaving the composting chamber exposed by forgetting to close the toilet lid. We made a few adjustments by posting clearly marked operating instructions in the washroom. Our staff cleans the exterior of the toilet with household disinfectant. Caution must be taken to avoid spilling cleaning solution into the composting chamber since microbial activity inside the toilet should remain undisturbed.

Finished compost is removed from the tray about two times throughout the operational season. Compost derived from human waste is not safe for food production. The SRRCD buries finished compost in a designated area away from the site. The effectiveness of composting toilets at degrading pharmaceutical compounds and residues is unknown and users should consider the risk of pathogens found in composted human waste. Composted human waste should not be used in any edible produce gardens.

The composting toilet systems at TCDC provide an effective waterless alternative to conventional systems. They are easy to maintain and odor-free when following the manufacturer’s recommendations on daily use. There are a variety of composting toilet brands available for different applications. We can answer your questions about the construction, installation, and operation of our composting toilet facilities. Come by the Tourond Creek Discovery Centre and try one out today!

 

Seine-Rat River Conservation District

154 Friesen Avenue

Steinbach, MB

(204) 326-1030

info@srrcd.ca

www.srrcd.ca

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting with Nature at Rosenthal Nature Park June 20th, 2016

Posted in: Environmental Education Tourond Creek Discovery Centre / Rosenthal Nature Park Watershed Moments

This post was submitted by Alan Wiebe at the Seine-Rat River Conservation District

Historic community of Rosenthal

The Rosenthal Nature Park is a public space located in Mitchell, Manitoba, and is the site of the historic community of Rosenthal. This village was home to some 25 families who established themselves in the mid-1870s before relocating prior to the census of 1881. The presence of artifacts and the preservation of this site are intrinsic to the history of the local area that is characterized by rapid population growth and development.

Model for sustainable developmentUpland grasstand

Rapid population growth and development, and the severity of high water events in the southeast has culminated in an urgent need to rethink surface water management strategies and development planning. The Rosenthal Nature Park is an innovative model for sustainable development and integrated watershed management. It demonstrates the viability of utilizing the natural functions of wetlands to retain and slow high water flows; reduce surface water runoff in urban and semi-urban areas; and purify water quality with native plant species.

Park design

The design of the Rosenthal Nature Park is comprised of walking trails that connect the wetland and upland ecosystems of the park to wildlife observation areas. Observation areas throughout the park offer a visually pleasing and comfortable environment for visitors to encounter local wildlife.

The wetland ecosysWetland Observationtem is characterized by a lake and peninsula. This constructed wetland is planted with native aquatic plant species from local donor sites and is an ideal habitat for native and migratory water fowl.

The upland ecosystem of the park is seeded with a wild flower mix that flourishes into a colourful array of flowering plants that invite various butterfly species to the area. A forage mix seeded alongside the existing bushes bordering the northerly edge of the park provides the ideal vegetative ground cover for deer foraging. Grassland birdhouses and waterfowl houses placed throughout the park offer waterfowl and shorebird species places to nest.

Today, the Rosenthal Nature Park is bursting with life. The range of plant and wildlife species throughout the park contribute to greater biodiversity in the area and reflects an intentional effort to bring together the human and physical environment.

Strong partnerships transform Rosenthal site

The site of the Rosenthal Nature Park was formerly used as a borrow pit to shape the berm surrounding the Mitchell lagoon. Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) members of the Manning Canal sub-watershed worked together with the SRRCD Board and staff, as well as the RM of Hanover, to restore ecological function to the site. The RM of Hanover and the SRRCD subsequently entered into a cost-share partnership to re-naturalize the site for public use.

Connecting with nature

Connecting with nature through outdoor exploration is an essential component of the Rosenthal Nature Park. The park is modeled after the Tourond Creek Discovery Centre (TCDC) in Kleefeld. The TCDC is a green environment that is visited by families, nature lovers, and school groups. Teachers use the site as an outdoor classroom by facilitating hands-on learning activities that encourage outdoor play. These activities are designed to give meaning to environmental education by allowing students to interact with nature through fun, outdoor activities. More information about the TCDC is available online at www.tourondcreekdiscovery.ca. While the Rosenthal Nature Park provides opportunities for environmental education, it is a unique green environment that is now open for you to explore.

The naturalized environment of the Rosenthal Nature Park supports a broader vision for community health. It integrates active transportation and outdoor exploration into a unique green environment that facilitates the discovery of meaningful connections with nature.

The Rosenthal Nature Park is located north of Mitchell on Randolph Road and east of Road 30-E.

We look forward to seeing you there!
Rosenthal Map

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