Category Archives: Watershed Moments

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

Posted in: 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: 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

Community-Based Monitoring Results Give Meaning to Our Story: Water Monitoring Results Story Map June 2nd, 2017

Posted in: Watershed Moments

Click here to view our story map

Citizen scientists around Manitoba are working together with Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) to tell an important story about the health of our watershed. Manitoba’s community-based monitoring network is made up of volunteers collaborating on a grassroots initiative to better understand phosphorus loading in Lake Winnipeg. Local volunteers, school groups, and conservation districts are using their citizen scientist training to collect water quality data at sample sites throughout the Red River watershed. The goal of this project is to measure phosphorus concentrations and water flow data to identify where nutrients are coming from and how much phosphorus is leaving our watershed for Lake Winnipeg.

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) partnered with LWF in 2016 to conduct regular water quality monitoring at six sample sites in the Seine River watershed. The results of this pilot-study inform how human activity affects our watershed and what we can do to better improve our programs for the benefit of our local environment. An interactive story map produced by the SRRCD and LWF gives meaning to the water quality data collected by volunteer citizen scientists in Manitoba.

A story map is a unique tool for viewing spatial areas using text, photos, and engaging graphics. Story maps are ideal for presenting spatial data in a non-technical way. The results of the 2016 LWF community-based water quality monitoring in the Seine River watershed show that a wide range of phosphorus concentrations vary between sub-watersheds. The story map shows that the amount of phosphorus leaving our watershed for Lake Winnipeg, called the export coefficient, is higher in areas with greater human activity. This narrative, however, is one part of a much bigger story. Phosphorus movement is also affected by natural functions, such as vegetation and soil type. That’s because different plant species and soil types store and release phosphorus in different ways. This means that the export coefficient varies from year to year in response to local environmental conditions, such as overland flooding, soil type, vegetation, and human activity. The story map produced by SRRCD and LWF tells the story of how human and natural interactions function within our watershed and where our phosphorus hotspots are located. We look forward to providing you with more detailed information about water results from each of our watersheds. Stayed tuned in the coming months for water quality testing results conducted in-house by the SRRCD.

You can engage with this narrative by interacting with our story map by clicking here, or by visiting our website at www.srrcd.ca. This story map can be viewed by scrolling through the text; zooming in and out of the maps; and by clicking on map features for more information about sample sites and water quality results.

Our head office and phone number has changed. We can be reached at:

We are always looking for volunteer citizen scientists to participate in community-based monitoring as we expand this program throughout our whole district. Contact the SRRCD at info@srrcd.ca for more information about becoming a part of our story!

Seine-Rat River Conservation District

Head Office

154 Friesen Avenue, Steinbach, MB, R5G 0T5

(204) 326-1030

 

Frog Pond a Ribbeting Success May 16th, 2017

Posted in: 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.