Spirits were high at Fort Whyte Alive as representatives of Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) Board of Directors and staff were honoured with the 2015 Alexander Bajkov Award. The award is given annually by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) to people who have worked passionately to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.
“The Seine-Rat River Conservation District exemplifies the community collaboration necessary to create meaningful change for Lake Winnipeg. Its board, staff, volunteers and the community members who participate in its many projects are dedicated to sustainable watershed stewardship – and not afraid to get their hands dirty. It’s a great example of grassroots cooperation in action” said Alexis Kanu, Lake Winnipeg Foundation’s Executive Director.
The Bajkov award is named in memory of pioneering fisheries biologist, Dr. Alexander Bajkov, and commemorates his contributions and dedication to the understanding of Lake Winnipeg. The award is usually presented to a single individual who demonstrates outstanding efforts to protect and restore the lake and its watershed. It was awarded this year to a group of dedicated individuals whose outstanding community efforts were recognized.
Since 2002, the SRRCD has promoted sustainable watershed stewardship in an area of southeast Manitoba with some of the largest nutrient loads flowing into the Red River and Lake Winnipeg. Many of their programs are aimed at re-establishing natural ecosystem capacity to reduce the high nutrient loads. The district’s efforts have led to involvement of new municipal partners, and improvements in municipal cooperation and relations. The SRRCD began as one RM and now involves the Municipalities of La Broquerie, Ste. Anne, Hanover, Stuartburn, De Salaberry, Ritchot, Taché, Reynolds, Springfield, Montcalm, Emerson-Franklin, Piney, City of Steinbach, Town of Ste. Anne, Village of St-Pierre-Jolys, and Town of Niverville.
Alex Salki, Chair of the LWF Science Advisory Council, nominated the SRRCD for this year’s award, “The SRRCD has been involved in many special projects and partnerships including water storage, abandoned well sealing, rain gardens, willow-bioengineering for erosion control, grassed waterways, tree planting, environmental education, water quality testing in local rivers, watershed assessments, and integrated watershed management planning. It is a grassroots organization working hard from the bottom up to bring about important changes necessary to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.”
Cornie Goertzen, Chair of the SRRCD Board of Directors, was all smiles as he graciously accepted the award on behalf of his beloved District. “The heart of our watershed initiatives are made up of grassroots experts who go the extra mile to build meaningful connections on the local level. While the wellbeing of our waterways are intrinsic to the health of Lake Winnipeg, our programs are strengthened through meaningful partnerships that have the potential to transform local initiatives into grassroots movements.”
The LWF is an environmental non-governmental organization working to restore and protect the health of Lake Winnipeg through research, public education, stewardship and collaboration. For more information about the LWF and its watershed initiatives, visit them online at www.lakewinnipegfoundation.org
The SRRCD is a grassroots conservation group dedicated to supporting and promoting the sustainable management of land and water resources in southeast Manitoba. www.srrwd.ca.