It’s a sleepy winter morning as Chris and I head to an out-of-town conference. We are coming to this event to display information about our organization, the Seine-Rat River Conservation District. A lot of people are curious about who we are and what we do.
Who is the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD)?
We are different from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship. The SRRCD is a not-for-profit organization. We work towards sustainable land and water resource management. Our job is to identify goals to improve the health of our watershed. We partner with neighbouring municipalities, the Province of Manitoba, the private sector, and local residents to achieve these goals. We are funded by the Province of Manitoba and our municipal partners. Our Board is made up of both Councilors and local residents.
The staff of the SRRCD conduct the day-to-day activities of our organization. We implement programs to meet the watershed goals identified in our district. We have a knowledgeable staff of environmental experts ready to answer your questions and support your project ideas.
Meet Chris Randall
The sun is barely over the horizon by the time we get to the conference. I take a log sip of coffee as I glance over at Chris Randall, our project supervisor. He is playing with the truck’s heater controls. Chris moved from England to Canada about five years ago. He’s a proper English gentleman who’s about as optimistic as a rainy day. One time, I asked him what he did before he came to Canada. He told me that he was raised by lemmings in the Arctic, and recalled that young people in his day didn’t ask so many questions.
Chris has managed many environmental projects throughout his extensive career in the United Kingdom. In the summer, Chris and his family love to canoe along Manitoba’s beautiful waterways. He recently earned his Master’s degree from the University of Manitoba. His research focuses on willow bioengineering techniques to reduce shoreline erosion. This means that Chris has worked really hard to develop innovate ways of using Manitoba plants to enhance our waterways. Chris oversees a lot of the projects we do at the SRRCD, including our Willow and Understory Planting program.
Willow and Understory Planting Program
The SRRCD has recently purchased young seedlings for our Willow and Understory Planting Program. This program helps landowners restore and protect the area along their waterways. This area is called the riparian zone. The SRRCD can help landowners reduce river bank erosion by planting trees and shrubs in their riparian zones. The SRRCD will provide the plants for free, depending on how much stock we have, and plant them for you this spring. We are always looking for new project sites for our Willow and Understory Planting program. If you are interested in restoring or enhancing your riparian zone with willows and other trees, you can call our office in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877, or visit us online at www.srrwd.ca.
The Prairie Road Home
The conference room is buzzing with activity, and Chris is busy talking with curious people who have gathered around our booth. Chris works very hard to make himself available to our district area residents. He has a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience to offer as the SRRCD works together with local area residents to improve the health of our watershed.
It is getting late by the time Chris and I get ready to go home. The truck is packed up and the wide-open prairie road is waiting for us. I glance over at Chris, who hands me a souvenir he picked up at one of the other booths. I asked him if he has ever met the Queen of England. He told me that the Queen once waved to him from a window, and recalled that young people in his day were never quite so nosey.