The Manitoba government has launched public consultations on two draft regulations to support a true approach to watershed management in the province.
“Our government is committed to developing watershed management strategies that promote sustainability and resilience, and solidify watershed districts as the keystone for implementation efforts province-wide,” said Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires. “Water does not follow political or administrative boundaries. These proposed changes support our made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan with a consistent approach to water governance and modernize a historically successful watershed-based program.”
The Manitoba government is looking for feedback on the draft regulations that would add flexibility for local watershed districts in the areas of board appointments and terms, calculating municipal contributions, and handling board contracts and agreements related to water and soil projects. This realignment would also streamline the watershed planning process for municipalities, stakeholders, and landowners by eliminating the need to involve multiple conservation districts within a single watershed. In addition, the changes would:
- Rename and smoothly transition from conservation districts to watershed districts with watershed-based boundaries.
- Further enable partnerships on a watershed basis with Indigenous communities and industry.
- Clarify watershed district board policies and procedures.
- Outline district board corporate status and appeal of board decisions.
“With the pressures on our soil, water, habitat and climate, the work of Manitoba’s conservation districts has never been more important,” said Ray Frey, chair of the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association. “Over the past year we have been working with the province and conservation districts through discussions and planning for the transition to watershed districts. As the association that supports all conservation districts in Manitoba, we look forward to promoting the future watershed districts as key players in protecting Manitoba’s watersheds.”
The proposed watershed districts regulation and the watershed management regulation are available for review and comment on the Manitoba Regulatory Consultation Portal. The deadline for feedback is November 25.
Comments collected during this consultation period may be used by the Manitoba government to inform changes to existing legislative, regulatory, program, and policy frameworks. The comments received will be kept confidential.
More information about Manitoba’s Conservation District Program can be found here.
Header image credit: Tony Webster.