The windows of our truck are starting to get frosty by the time we get to our project site. It’s a cold morning, and a blast of winter air stings my face as I step out of the cab. The prairie landscape is empty, except for the sound of heavy equipment. Fast Brothers Ltd. of Blumenort are working hard on the Edel Retention. The Edel Retention is a kilometer long dyke constructed in a low area of land belonging to Grant and Ralph Edel

The Edel’s have been farming here for over 20 years. They share a deep respect for the environment. Grant and Ralph wanted to improve the health of their watershed before they get ready for retirement. They saw an opportunity to improve the environment by using some of their land to store water.

The Edel Water Retention Project

Water flows over 320 acres of the Edel’s hay land. It goes into the 48N drain. This major drain commonly overflows in spring, and during high water events in summer. All of this water sometimes washes out the road, threatens homes, damages the shoreline, and picks up debris along the way. The Edel Retention is designed to hold water back for a few days before slowly releasing it into the 48N drain. This project will reduce the risk of flooding by controlling how much water is being carried by the drain

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) identified water flowing into the 48N drain as an issue of concern. The group was looking for water storage options when Grant approached the SRRCD with an idea to hold water on his land. The Edel Retention was funded by the SRRCD. They will also look after the site in the future to make sure that it is working the way it should.

The Edel Retention is a unique project initiated by local landowners concerned about the environment they live in. We are happy to partner with the Edel’s as part of our Water Storage and Retention Program.

SRRCD: Water Storage and Retention Program

Water storage and retention is an important part of what we do at the SRRCD. The purpose of water retention is to slow down the flow of water to reduce high water flows and reduce the risk of flooding. Water retention can also recharge the water supply, reduce erosion, and improve water quality. Wetlands are an example of natural water retention areas that act like a water filter. They produce many benefits that are good for humans and the environment. We are always looking for ways to fund water retention projects that will hold back water, enhance natural wetlands, and help to create more effective drainage to other high value agricultural areas downstream.

You can apply to our Water Storage and Retention program if you think you might benefit from water retention. You can contact the SRRCD for an opportunity to receive up to 100% funding to implement a project that protects the local water quality. Feel free to contact our office in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877, or visit us online at

Our project supervisor, Chris Randall, gives an approving look as he surveys the Edel Retention project site. Years of experience as a watershed expert has shaped his understanding of the local landscape. He has managed many environmental projects throughout his career, and he has weathered these Arctic winds time and again. I take one last look at the project as we get ready to leave. The construction site disappears in the distance as we drive along in silence, quiet as the snow. The dyke will be ready to do its job in time for the spring melt. Until then, a fresh pot of coffee to warm our spirits is waiting for us back at the office.

Edel Retention
The Edel Retention will hold back water before slowly releasing it into the 48N drain.
Edel Retention Construction
Construction of the Edel Retention project