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

Bob Sandford is a leading water scientist at the United Nations Institute for Water, Environment and Health. His job is to make scientific knowledge accessible to the public so we can develop meaningful policies on water-related issues in Canada.

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) held its annual meeting in November. People from around our district were eager to hear Bob speak on the state of our changing water cycle and what we can do to build stronger, more resilient communities. Here is a summary of what Bob talked about. You can contact our office for a full copy of his transcribed presentation. We can be reached in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845 or online at

Transforming Our World: Presented by Bob Sandford

Changes to our water cycle are happening right now. This means that we must adapt the way we think about water security. Water security is not just about managing the water that is available. It is about managing greater extremes of abundance and scarcity. It means that water and climate security are inseparable elements of sustainability.

We began to see mega-floods around the world in 2010. They were beyond anything we experienced before. Another mega-flood in the Canadian prairies the following year was so severe that some Saskatchewan farm families came to emergency centres so exhausted that they were unable to hold a pen to fill out the forms that would provide them relief. The water cycle was changing but we did not have the evidence to prove it until later that year.

The University of Saskatchewan showed evidence in the fall of 2011 that the global water cycle is changing. This evidence is confirmed by a report released at the same time from the National Research Council in the United States. The consensus includes that land cover changes, such as deforestation, wetland destruction, urban expansion, irrigation, and other water diversions have a significant impact on the duration and intensity of floods and drought. In other words, the old ways of managing surface water are no longer working and we need to find better ways of building resilience.

Now is an important time to build resilience in response to these extreme disasters. The 2030 Transforming Our World initiative of the United Nations is a global framework for this increased sustainable development. It is the most comprehensive effort to transform our world for the betterment of people and the planet with everything we need to create sustainability included in the agenda.

The biggest challenge is the urgency to make these goals a local priority. It is a unique opportunity to build on existing initiatives for enhancing resilience strategies and technologies.

The 2030 Transforming Our World goal for water is to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable water and sanitation for all. We must first stabilize the increasing human effects of our activities in order to meet this goal and build livable, resilient cities.

Temperature is the single most important factor relating to changes in our water cycle. The entire water cycle is altered by the slightest change in global temperature. This is exactly what we are seeing. The most profound changes relate to how much water a warmer atmosphere can hold. We know that the atmosphere can carry 7% more water vapour for every degree Celsius of warming. This means that a 2°C increase in temperature can carry as much as 14% more water vapour. A 4°C increase in global temperature would carry 28% more water and would drastically change everything for everyone.

Today, we have entered a new era in which human activities rival the processes of nature and we are witnessing new phenomenon that we have never seen before. Atmospheric rivers carrying more and more water vapour in the air are causing flooding at unprecedented levels. These atmospheric rivers, like winds of the jet stream, get their energy from temperature differences between the poles and tropics. The warmer the air, the more water these atmospheric rivers can carry. Other climate-related effects are already happening in Canada and right here in Manitoba.

A quarter of Manitoba’s farmland went unseeded in 2011 due to flood damage. Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan experienced the same magnitude of flooding again in 2014. What happens if the water cycle falls on the side of drought like we saw this past year from Mexico to the Arctic and from Vancouver Island to the Manitoba border?

Agriculture must become restorative and productive to ensure water, food, and climate security. We need another agricultural revolution that places more value on farmers for more than just crop production but also for perpetuating critical Earth functions.

Healthy soils are the best protection for crops during drought and for protection from floods. Healthy soils store carbon and are a means of enhancing natural processes of water purification in urban planning. That is why 200 cities in 209 countries have stopped building new water treatment plants and are effectively investing in watershed restoration that prevents downstream pollution and flooding.

The potential to create a better world exists. Action and change begins at the local level and it is possible to build resilient communities that are desirable places to live in a warming world. We need another green revolution for agriculture that focuses on the integration of water, food and climate security. Canada, and Manitoba in specific, can be a leader in such a revolution but we must first bridge the urban-rural divide by creating understanding between urban and rural concerns.

Water Quality Testing Shows Need to Build Resilience

Water quality testing at the SRRCD

Our water quality testing program at the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) provides information about how land use affects water quality in our district. Our staff go out each year to collect water samples along the Seine River, Rat River, Marsh River, and Joubert Creek. The samples are taken to Winnipeg where they are tested for bacteria and other parameters, like nitrogen and phosphorous.

Phosphorous is an important nutrient for plants, animals, and humans. Human activities, however, are adding excessive phosphorous to our freshwater systems. Too much phosphorous in our lakes can stimulate algae growth. Dead algae consumes much of the available dissolved oxygen in the water as it decomposes. Dissolved oxygen is needed for fish and other aquatic organisms to live.

2015 water quality results

Water quality testing results for 2015 show that there are high phosphorous levels in the Seine, Marsh, and Joubert watersheds. Phosphorous inputs in these areas following the spring snowmelt and heavy rainfall events are enough to elevate phosphorous concentrations above the provincial guideline of 0.5mg/L.

The good news is that much lower phosphorous levels in the Rat River may be reducing the overall load from the district into the Red River and Lake Winnipeg.

How does phosphorous get into our waterways?

There are many ways that phosphorous can enter our waterways. Land use is an important factor affecting phosphorus levels. The effects of land use on phosphorous levels in the SRRCD are noticeable when comparing phosphate levels in the Joubert Creek and the upper Rat River. The Joubert Creek has much higher phosphorous levels than the upper Rat River. This may be because there is more land along the Joubert Creek that is being used for intensive agriculture.

Surface water runoff containing nutrient-rich livestock manure is likely contributing to phosphorous loading in the SRRCD, as well as leaching from silage storage. It is often difficult to keep the hay dry during wet years and water from silage runoff is also acidic and high in phosphorous. Urban areas also contribute to phosphorous loading. It is estimated that phosphorous is sourced equally between urban areas, agriculture, and the natural environment. This means that it important that we work together to reduce phosphorous inputs into our waterways.

The water quality test results show that most of the phosphorous in our district is dissolved in the water. The greatest phosphorous loss occurring in the SRRCD is likely caused by melting snow and heavy rain. Pooling water that is unable to percolate the frozen, compacted or saturated soil quickly drains into nearby waterways, carrying nutrient-rich water downstream. We used to think that the spring melt contributes to most of our phosphorous loss. The water quality results we are now seeing are showing that short duration, high intensity rainfall events are likely to be just as harmful to our waterways.

The increasing frequency and severity of high water events in recent years is causing many of us to rethink the way we manage surface water. These short duration, high intensity rainfall events are washing out roads, threatening homes, eroding shorelines, and polluting our waterways with harmful contaminants. Our municipal and provincial infrastructure is designed for climatic conditions that no longer exist. The Red River Basin has experienced one in 100 year flooding events ten times in the past 25 years. This means that we must work towards mitigating the effects of increasing severe weather events.

The SRRCD works with sustainably-minded people to implement programs that utilize an integrated, watershed-based approach to managing surface water for riparian areas, aquatic ecosystems, water quality, recreational areas, and flood protection.

Bob Sandford to speak at organizational meeting

To support our stakeholders in building community resilience, we are pleased to announce Bob Sandford as this year’s keynote speaker at our annual organizational meeting on November 16, 2015.

Bob Sandford is a leading water scientist at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. His work focuses on translating scientific research outcomes into language decisions-makers can use to develop meaningful public policy relating to local water issues.

Bob will be speaking to the implications of the changing water cycle and what we can do to build stronger, more resilient communities. Colleen Sklar, Executive Director of Lake Friendly, will be joining Bob in support of this important message.

Have you heard of CoCoRaHS?

The SRRCD is also pleased to partner with Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) to measure and map precipitation data in our district.

CoCoRaHS is a not-for-profit organization made up of volunteer observers who collect and report precipitation measurements using a CoCoRaHS rain gauge. You can visit the CoCoRaHS website at  for more information. The data that volunteer observers collect helps us to understand how isolated, short duration, and high-intensity rainfall events affect our district.

Please contact our office if you are interested in participating in this important program as a voluntary observer.

Funk River Fence Unique to Canada

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

The Rat River is a picturesque waterway viewed from Peter Funk’s farm along Highway #216. The river winds its way through Peter’s property which his cattle use for grazing. Peter needs to fence off the river to prevent his cattle from wandering away when the water level is low. Fencing off the river, however, creates an obstruction for canoeing enthusiasts who use the waterway throughout the summer. The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) partnered with Peter Funk to develop a way to fence off the river and keep it safe for canoeists.

Funk River Fence

You may have driven past Peter’s farm where the Rat River crosses Highway #216 and noticed an innovative response to this mutual concern. The Funk River Fence is a pilot project comprised of a steel cable strung across the river. The cable is raised a few meters above the water level. PVC piping is hung from the cable creating a ‘curtain’ that deters cattle from wandering away and allows canoeists to safely pass. The curtain of pipes move with the breeze and water current creating a visual barrier for the cattle. Canoeists simply maneuver through the pipes which freely hang in the water above the river bed.

River Fence Unique to Canada

The river fence design was first developed in the United States by a group of concerned boaters in Colorado. The group decided to take action after a man on a paddle board was injured after becoming snagged on a barbed wire under the surface of the water. The group collaborated with a local rancher to find a way to meet the needs of both the rancher and the boaters. The river fence provides a way to keep the cattle enclosed on the property while eliminating fence hazards for boaters.

The Funk River Fence is unique to Canada and was funded by the SRRCD for under $1,000. The fence was assembled by our staff who cut the PVC pipes to length. Each pipe is fitted with a wire loop that is fastened to the cable that extends across the river. Each pipe is spaced about one foot apart to maintain a uniform curtain effect. The cable is threaded through fence posts on either side of the river. Once the cable was threaded through the fence posts, SRRCD staff waded waist-deep into the river to make final adjustments to the length of the pipes. The Funk River Fence pilot-project is a creative idea implemented by people who care about our watershed.

We are always looking for innovative ways to partner with the residents of our watershed district. Feel free to contact our office in La Broquerie at 204-424-5845, or in Vita at 204-425-7877. You can also visit us online at

Another Sustainable Project by the SRRCD

Post submitted by Alan Wiebe, Watershed Assistant at the Seine-Rat River Conservation District

Mateychuk Winter Watering System

A small group of curious cows approach us at the site of the Mateychuk Winter Watering System. It’s a sunny March morning and we are facilitating a tour of this unique project with the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) and Brad Mateychuk. The cows don’t seem to mind our presence as they take turns lapping from the water basin.

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 two winters of use and it is a great way to restrict livestock access to surface water, like rivers, streams, and dugouts.

Problems with Direct Watering

A couple of years back, the Mateychuk’s lost two cows that fell through the dugout ice while trying to reach the water. Aside from the high cost and risk of losing livestock, direct watering is also related to a number of herd health problems, like increased exposure to water-transmitted diseases, foot rot, and leg injuries.

Allowing livestock direct access to surface water is a concern to producers, their downstream neighbours, and the broader community. Livestock may contribute to loss of riparian vegetation and function, and the bigger concern relating to the deterioration of water quality.

Mateychuk’s Partner with the SRRCD

The Mateychuk’s partnered with the SRRCD to install their winter watering system with the SRRCD providing 50% of the total project cost. Our Riparian Management program for livestock is designed to protect and enhance the area along waterways known as riparian area or floodplain. We provide funding for fencing off sensitive dugouts, streams, creeks, and rivers, establishing alternative watering systems, installing livestock crossings, and restoring riparian areas through tree planting.

Today, the Mateychuk’s are still pleased by how well their system performs in the harshest of winter months. Their positive feedback has spread by word-of-mouth and three other local area producers have partnered with us to implement similar projects.

Brad Mateychuk is such a strong supporter of this program that he is available for site tours and to answer questions for other interested producers. The SRRCD would be happy to arrange a tour of the Mateychuk winter watering system or assist you in learning more about our Riparian Management programs for livestock producers. Feel free to contact our office in La Broquerie at 204-424-5845 or in Vita at 204-425-7877. You can also visit us online at or send us an email


Roseau River Watershed Begins Integrated Watershed Management Plan


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

The Roseau River Watershed is made up of about 5,800 square kilometers within the municipalities of Montcalm, Franklin, Stuartburn, and Piney. The Roseau River Watershed joined the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) in 2013. The SRRCD now works with residents in the Roseau River Watershed to promote the sustainable management of land and water resources by providing incentive-based funding for landowners. We are pleased to announce that we are beginning the development of the Roseau River Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP).

An IWMP is a community-based planning document. They are developed by the local conservation district in collaboration with the Province of Manitoba, local municipalities, watershed residents, and special interest groups. IWMPs are important tools used to identify land and water-related priorities and goals. They outline policies that identify how land and water management programming will be implemented throughout the watershed. These plans are a strategy that describes what needs to be done in order to maintain a healthy watershed.

There are many benefits to creating an IWMP. They can help communities prioritize resources and give residents a voice. IWMPs can also target specific activities and programs to areas that need greater protection. They are also supportive of the existing community framework for economic benefit and land use planning. This integrative approach balances ecosystem, community, and economic health. Each plan is a unique reflection of the concerns of the community within each watershed.

Roseau River Watershed residents will have opportunities to speak to the watershed values, issues, and concerns that are important to them. Public consultations held throughout the planning process are essential to developing an effective plan. Local residents have an intimate knowledge of their local landscape and are encouraged to attend these consultations as they are planned.

The SRRCD has recently completed IWMPs for the Seine River Watershed and the Rat-Marsh River Watershed. You can read these plans on our website at You can also pick up hard copies from our partner municipal offices throughout our district or at out head office in La Broquerie.


SRRCD Investigates Project Sites Using New Equipment

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

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors is no place for the faint of heart. The hostile environment of the wilderness pushes the endurance of the human spirit to the very brink of its limitations. It is here that we discover the quiet strength hidden deep within ourselves.

Chris Randall, our Project Supervisor, and I have entered into the wild to complete a mission for the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD). We are conducting a topographic survey of a project site. We will need to canoe through the murky waters of a secluded river system in order to create a detailed map of the landscape.

The water is eerily still as we paddle through the creek. My survivalist instincts are heightened and my senses are keen to danger. Dense brush overhangs the creek. I should have brought my machete. We haven’t eaten since we left and I’m feeling famished. I’d give anything for a home cooked meal right about now.

Splash! My peripheral vision catches a flying white object crashing into the water. “What was that?” I wonder out loud. Just then, a terrible moan roars from a thicket of bush near our canoe. I’ve heard stories of terrible creatures lurking in forests. The bushes begin to rustle and I am overcome with fear. We are just about to be devoured alive when our canoe emerges into a spacious clearing in the heart of the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club. An exasperated golfer groans in dismay and comes out from the bushes after having lost his ball in the creek. “Thank goodness, Chris!” I said, “I thought there was a bear.”

Potential Water Retention at Steinbach Fly-In

The Manning Canal flows through the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club and AD Penner Park. It continues through the Mennonite Heritage Village before crossing Highway #12 and eventually flowing into the Seine River Diversion.

Increasing growth and development in Steinbach and the surrounding area means that there is more pressure on local drains during the spring runoff and high water events. The SRRCD is collaborating with the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club, the City of Steinbach, local landowners, and the Province of Manitoba to find cost-effective ways of alleviating flooding by storing water along the Manning Canal. We are using GPS surveying equipment to map the surface features of the Manning Canal flowing through the AD Penner Park and the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club.

SRRCD Purchases New Surveying Equipment

The data we produce with our surveying equipment is used to develop models that help us determine the best way to implement a water storage project. We can prioritize potential sites that will have the best cost-benefit. We can also target specific goals, such as reducing nutrient inputs, controlling point and non-point sources of pollution, and mitigating flooding and damage to infrastructure in low-lying areas.

The SRRCD recently purchased new GPS surveying equipment. Our new equipment gives us the capacity to collect all of our own survey information without having to hire outside contractors. It also means that we can work towards implementing the best projects that have the most benefit for our watershed district. We have already put the equipment to good use and we are looking forward to a productive year as we get out to more surveying sites.

The Call of the Wild

There’s something deeply satisfying about getting lost in the beauty of nature to discover who you really are. The deadly edge of the wilderness sharpens my character as I rely solely on my wits to survive. I run my hand over the coarse whiskers on my cheek. I think my beard has grown at least an inch since we left this morning. Some things just can’t be tamed.

Chris and I direct our canoe along the meandering course of the creek deep into the interior of AD Penner Park. We paddle by a curious looking plant. I flip through the pages of my field guide and inform Chris that the rare yellow marsh orchid is an endangered species. “Its petals contain a toxin known to be fatal to humans,” I cautioned.

Chris rolls his eyes at me. “It’s a dandelion,” he says.

We finish packing up the canoe shortly before lunch and get ready to head back to the office. Adventure awaits us for another day when we will return to the wild to explore the furthest reaches of our watershed on official conservation district business.

SRRCD Summer Field Staff Going Door-to-Door in the RM of Piney

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

Welcoming our Summer Field Staff

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) is pleased to welcome Brooke Thomas, Hayley Wojcikowski, and Tristen Probizansky as our new summer field staff.

Brooke recently graduated from the University of Manitoba with two degrees, including a Bachelor of Environmental Science and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. She loves spending time outdoors at her family’s cabin near Lake Winnipeg and being actively involved in different sports. She has taught gymnastics for many years and I am hoping that she can teach me how to do a double-backflip this summer. Brooke will be working from our main office in La Broquerie where she will be assisting our team throughout the district.

Hayley is a student at the University of Manitoba. She is about to start her fourth year majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. Hayley is a Pioneer Clubs leader and she has mentored a group of young girls for the past two years. Hayley teaches the girls important life skills by doing fun activities with them. The girls are really blessed to have someone like Hayley in their lives. I am really thankful that Hayley is around because my doctors say that I need constant adult supervision. Hayley will be working in the Roseau River Watershed this summer where she will be developing a water well inventory in the RM of Piney.

Brooke and Hayley make a wonderful team as their unique personalities and talents complement each other like perogies and cream gravy. They have been hard at work for nearly a month and their passion for watershed stewardship is reflected in the work that they do. Tristen will be starting with us later on in June and we are looking forward to him joining our team.

Tristen will be graduating this year from the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute. He will be attending the University of Manitoba this fall where he is enrolled in the Faculty of Agriculture. Tristen is very familiar with the local area of the Roseau River Watershed as he has spent much time living and working on a family-run farm. Tristen will be working with Hayley this summer in the Roseau River Watershed.

We are pleased to welcome Brooke, Hayley, and Tristen as our new summer field staff. You might even get a chance to meet them around our district as they implement our various summer programming.

Water Well Inventory

Our summer field staff will be going door-to-door this summer offering Roseau River Watershed residents in the RM of Piney an opportunity to test their private well water for free. Any water that ends up in the Roseau River is part of the Roseau River Watershed area. All residents have to do is answer a few quick questions about their well. Our staff will collect a well water sample from a kitchen or outdoor tap and send it to Winnipeg on behalf of residents. Horizon Laboratory in Winnipeg will test the sample for the presence of coliform and E. coli bacteria. The lab will then contact residents directly with their results. This program is completely voluntary and free for residents in the RM of Piney.

We look forward to seeing you around this summer.

If you have any questions about our water well inventory program, you can contact our office in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at

Testing your Private Well Water

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

They say that everything comes to an end – except for farmer sausage, which has two ends. Now that the wurst of the winter months have come and gone, we are looking forward to the beginning of a brand new season.

Every spring and summer, the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) offers a private well water testing program to all residents in our district. You can have your private well water tested for the presence of E. coli and Coliform bacteria. Horizon Lab Ltd. will test your private well water at a rate subsidized by the Province of Manitoba.

It is a good idea to know what is in your drinking water. The Province of Manitoba recommends that you test your private well water every spring after the snow melt and spring runoff, or after any flooding events.

RM Private Well Water Testing Days

We offer this program once a month throughout the spring and summer. Taking advantage of this program can save you a trip to Winnipeg. SRRCD staff will take your sample to Winnipeg for you on the testing day. Our private well water testing days are on the following dates:

• May 7

• June 4

• July 2

• August 6

• September 3

Here’s what you need to do:

You can pick up a water sample bottle in advance from your local RM office. There are two short forms you need to fill out with your sample. Follow the sampling instructions on the “Chain of Custody” form and drop off your sample at your local RM office on the testing day. You need to drop off your samples before 11:00 a.m. If you live in the RM of Piney, you need to drop off your sample before 10:00 a.m. at the RM of Piney office in Vassar.

The cost of the program is $21.26 (including tax). The lab accepts payment by cash or cheque. Cheques must be made payable to Horizon Lab Ltd.

Participating RMs

Here is a list of participating RMs and drop-off locations:

• SRRCD office, 123 Simard St. – La Broquerie

• R.M. of Ste. Anne office, 395 Traverse Road – Ste. Anne

• R.M. of Hanover office, 28 Westland Dr. – Steinbach

• R.M. of DeSalaberry office, 466 Sabourin St. – St. Pierre-Jolys

• Town of Niverville office, 86 Main St. – Niverville

• R.M of Taché office, 1294 Dawson Rd. – Lorette

• R.M of Ritchot office, 352 Main Street – St. Adolphe

• SRRCD office, R.M of Stuartburn, 108 Main Street N – Vita

• R. M of Franklin office, 115 Waddell Ave. East—Dominion City

• R.M of Piney office, 6092 Boundary St. – Vassar

You can contact your local RM office if you have any questions. You can also contact our office in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at

Wishing you Well

Each new season starts with the highest hopes for a fresh beginning. The SRRCD would like to wish you the very best of a wonderful summer filled with outdoor activities, summer travels, and delicious barbeques. Just remember that even hot dogs are shocked by how they are made.

Promoting Environmental Education for Students

Meet Dorthea Grégoire

Dorthea Grégoire reaches into the critter pond at the Tourond Creek Discovery Centre. She is surrounded by grade six students from Steinbach. They squeal with excitement as Dorthea uses her hands to remove a water bug from her net. There is a huge grin on Dorthea’s face as she teaches the young students about the type of insect she is holding.

Dorthea is the Roseau Watershed Technician at the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD). She runs our field office in Vita and is well known for her enthusiasm and active involvement in her community. Dorthea is about to finish her PhD from the University of New Brunswick. She is an environmental expert who specializes in insect and plant interactions. You could spend hours listening to Dorthea tell you stories about her research adventures in the great forests of Acadia. Dorthea also has a tremendous heart for children and a passion for environmental education. You might spot her facilitating educational activities at places like the Tourond Creek Discovery Centre.

Tourond Creek Discovery Centre (TCDC)

The Tourond Creek Discovery Centre (TCDC) is an outdoor classroom used to host schools from the surrounding area. This old landfill has been transformed into a nature centre that is bursting with life. The TCDC is home to many different plant and animal species. Students can walk along the trails that connect several different ecosystems in the centre. A viewing tower overlooks the landscape, including a picnic shelter, dock, and shallow pond.

Students participate in hands-on learning activities, like “critter-dipping.” Critter-dipping is an activity that students participate in by catching insects in the shallow pond. Students use magnifying glasses to identify the different types of insect species that live in this ecosystem.

The TCDC is available for your school to use as a unique way to engage students in an outdoor setting. The TCDC website has plenty of resources for primary, middle, and secondary school teachers. These resources provide teachers with lesson guides and activities for fun, outdoor lessons. You can learn more by visiting the TCDC online at

River Watch

The SRRCD has partnered with South Central Eco Institute to bring “River Watch” to local schools in our district. River Watch is a citizen-science program. It gives schools an opportunity to participate in water quality testing of their local waterways. Students are involved in all aspects of water quality testing. They help to collect and analyze the samples, as well as monitor water quality parameters such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and pH. The SRRCD provides on-the-ground-technical support to interested teachers. We will show the students how to conduct the different types of tests and help them understand what the results mean for their watershed. All the data collected through the River Watch program are entered online

Contact the SRRCD Today

You can learn more about how the SRRCD supports environmental education by contacting our office in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at, or

Excited Children

The students at the TCDC are getting ready to go to their next activity station. They chase each other along the hiking trails as I follow behind. I stop by the critter-dipping station to visit Dorthea and to catch my breath for a moment. Dorthea enthusiastically tells me about all the different types of insects she saw in the pond. She pulls out one of her trusty field guides and eagerly flips through its glossy pages. She shows me pictures of various insects and tells me in great detail how each one is different from the others. Dorthea has a wonderful way of relating her extensive knowledge and experience. Her joyful personality gives me a sense of ease as I try to shepherd the energetic sixth graders from one activity to the next. I am thankful that the children are under the care of excellent teachers and facilitators who are passionate about promoting environmental education.

Seal your Abandoned Wells

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) will cover up to 100% of the total cost of sealing your private well. Our well sealing program is part of our ongoing work to reduce the potential for groundwater contamination. Old wells that are not maintained can allow pollutants to directly enter the aquifer below. Large diameter dug and bored wells can also pose a serious risk to public safety. These older wells can be a hazard for children and animals who could fall into them.

In 2014, the SRRCD sealed 28 wells in our district. The cost of sealing each of these wells was covered by the SRRCD.

We are now accepting applications for our 2015 abandoned well sealing program. All you need to do is complete an application and provide a refundable deposit of $100. You can contact our La Broquerie or Vita offices for more information, or visit us online at

Main Office
123 Simard St.
La Broquerie, MB

Field Office
108 Main St.
Vita, MB


SRRCD Sealing an Abandoned Well


 Protecting your Riparian Zone

March 2015

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

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.

Local Farmers Initiate Grassroots Project

February 2015

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