Category Archives: Water Storage/Retention

Project Spotlight: Penner Water Retention Project March 11th, 2019

Posted in: Water Storage/Retention Watershed Moments

The Penner Water Retention Project is an 800-metre-long dyke, located south of Steinbach, Manitoba in the Manning Canal sub-watershed district. It was completed in November 2018 in partnership with Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) and local cattle producer, Marvin Penner. The project was designed to manage surface water runoff, as well as to mitigate downstream flooding of rural homes and agricultural land in the area.

Aerial photo of the Penner water retention project

The dyke was constructed to make use of a low-lying area of wet cattle pasture land. It has a water storage capacity of 17 acre feet with a four to seven day drawdown period. Sub-soil fill material for the dyke was taken on site. The material was excavated to form a ditch alongside the dyke. The 15-metre-wide spillway functions to handle excess surface water flows. It is reinforced with a deep cellular confinement grid and synthetic geotextile matting. The reinforced materials were then anchored securely to the soil below. SRRCD staff assisted with the installation of the cell grid and matting on the spillway. Two (2) 300 mm drawdown culverts were also installed next to the spillway to allow water to be slowly released throughout the drawdown period. Surface soil from the excavation process was placed on the top and sides of the dyke before it was leveled. Mr. Penner plans to seed and install a gated fence on top of the dyke next spring.

SRRCD staff assisting contractors with installation of cell grid and geotextile matting

The SRRCD used LiDAR data to identify potential water retention project sites in the Manning Canal sub-watershed district. Mr. Penner expressed interested in getting involved with the district for the sustainability of his livestock operation. He also completed an Environmental Farm Plan as part of the project agreement. The projects at SRRCD are custom designed in-house by the SRRCD to benefit the unique needs of local producers, communities, and the health of our watershed.

Penner water retention spillway construction

Frog Pond a Ribbeting Success May 16th, 2017

Posted in: Environmental Education Rain Gardens Water Storage/Retention Watershed Moments

Each year, eager frog lovers seek out the most ambitious amphibians worthy of competing at the St-Pierre Frog Follies National Frog Jumping Championship. This popular event involves safely catching and releasing frogs from the local area. Contest participants register their chosen contenders in the frog jumping tournament to champion the frog with the furthest hop!


The Frog Follies annual community festival in the Village of St-Pierre-Jolys has grown leaps and bounds since it was first inaugurated in 1970 by Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. This unique festival celebrating francophone heritage inspired the development of a brand new naturalized amphibian habitat at Parc Carillon community park.


In 2016, the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) entered into a cost-share partnership with the Parc Carillon Committee to transform the existing one acre pond into a natural wetland ecosystem and frog spawning habitat. Soil removed from the pond excavation was used to create landscaped mounds as observation areas. They provide suitable frog habitat for protective cover during the day, as well as hibernation habitat during cold winter months.


Native plant species in the wetland environment are being planted to contribute to greater biodiversity in the local environment, as well to provide natural habitat to a variety of adult frog species. Native plants are naturally adapted to our climate and environmental conditions. This means that their root systems penetrate deep into the ground to improve water infiltration. The SRRCD planted a variety of native plant species in 2016 and will complete the naturalization of the pond in 2017.


The Parc Carillon Frog Pond also functions as an urban storm water detention that utilizes the natural ecological functions of wetlands to retain and slow high water flows, reduce runoff in urban and semi-urban areas, and purify water quality with native plant species. Naturalized urban water detentions can be incorporated into aesthetically pleasing urban design features with naturally wild or manicured appearances for sustainable environmental development and integrated watershed planning and management.


“This project will be a great addition to Parc Carillon – one that will particularly interest classrooms,” said Raymond Maynard, Parc Carillon Committee President. “Interpretive signs will not only help describe the project, they will also point to the similarities between the pond and St-Pierre-Jolys’ lagoon expansion, a first of its kind using ongoing phytoremediation [plant-based remediation] as part of the treatment process.”


The success of the Parc Carillon Frog Pond gives meaning to the value of building strong partnerships at the local level. The SRRCD and Village of St-Pierre-Jolys cost-shared the project for $10,000 each. The SRRCD took the lead on the project with design support provided by Native Plant Solutions.


The Parc Carillon Frog Pond is an innovative wetland ecosystem and viable model for urban storm water management. This unique amphibian habitat is intrinsic to the community and home to the next generation of frog jumping champions.





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

The Environmental Benefits of Rain Gardens April 8th, 2016

Posted in: Rain Gardens Water Storage/Retention Watershed Moments

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

 Spring has sprung!

Spring arrives each year to warm our prairie hearts with the promise of longer days and pleasant weather. It can also be a worrisome time for some people when surface water runoff from melting snow and ice creates flooding problems in our area.

Surface water runoff refers to the overland flow of water from rain and melted snow. This runoff can be a problem in urban areas where water runs off roofs, streets, sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots. Water that is unable to infiltrate into the soil is directed towards the street, where it can overwhelm local drainage infrastructure. It can pick up harmful substances, such as road salt, heavy metals, oils, and other contaminants that end up in our rivers and lakes. These contaminants can harm the quality of our drinking water and the health of aquatic species. Heavy rain events and rapid snowmelt in the Southeast challenge the way we manage surface water in our area.

What is a rain garden?

A rain garden is a bowl-shaped perennial garden that captures surface water runoff from hard surfaces. They are planted near drain spouts and sump pump outlets to allow wateSusan Selby 2012r runoff to absorb into the ground. Rain gardens provide important environmental benefits by improving water quality. Surface water is filtered as it absorbs into the ground and the nutrients are taken up by native plant species in the garden. Rain gardens also create habitat for birds, bees, butterflies, and other wildlife; they reduce downstream flooding; and beautify your home and neighbourhood.

Clearspring Middle School rain garden project

In 2013, the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) worked with community groups in Steinbach to plant a rain garden at Clearspring Middle School. The SRRCD coordinated with local area Master Gardeners from the Steinbach & Area Garden Club to provide support to the staff and students at the school.

The Master GCMS Planting Day 034ardeners prepared the plants on site and supported the students, who planted the rain garden with colourful perennials. The students learned about the environmental benefits of rain gardens by getting their hands dirty. It was an event that Karen Loewen, Master Gardener and President of the Steinbach & Area Garden Club, fondly recalls as having inspired a greater depth of learning about horticulture.

The Steinbach & Area Garden Club ( and local area Master Gardeners are pleased to participate in community events and activities that promote horticulture. “It’s great that rain gardens are becoming more popular,” says Karen, “Homeowners are seeing the benefits they provide, like preventing water runoff from entering into our waterways. They also make beautiful gardens that are easy to take care of!”

SRRCD rain garden program

Rain gardens are innovative urban design features that can improve the way you manage surface water on your property or in public spaces. The SRRCD can help you design and create your own rain garden project. We provide funding up to $500 for individual projects, or 50% up to $5,000 for projects located in public spaces. Give us a call in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at