The work by local water conservation groups to better protect water resources in Manitoba is being boosted with more than $134,000 in additional provincial funding, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick announced last week.

The development and implementation of watershed plans is being carried out by local conservation districts with the province assisting four groups with grants of $25,000 each for a total of $100,000. This is in addition to nearly $1 million provided this year in base funding to these four conservation districts.

“This watershed planning is part of a province-wide initiative based on partnerships with existing water conservation districts,” said Melnick.  “The initiative is founded in Manitoba’s Water Protection Act and is key to our overall provincial strategy to improve water quality through integrated watershed based planning.”

Development of an integrated watershed management plan includes gaining an understanding of issues in the watershed, compiling technical information to better understand them and then detailing actions to achieve the goals for the watershed.  The plan is submitted for provincial approval.

The four conservation districts that will prepare integrated watershed management plans include:

  • Alonsa Conservation District, to develop a plan for the Alonsa watershed;
  • Assiniboine Hills Conservation District, to develop a plan for the central Assiniboine and lower Souris River watershed;
  • East Interlake Conservation District, to develop a plan for the Willow Creek watershed; and
  • Swan Lake Watershed Conservation District, to develop a plan for the Swan Lake watershed.

“Water and its related resources are best managed on a local basis and this type of planning is best led by local stakeholders,” said Melnick.  “We thank Manitoba’s conservation districts for partnering with our government on this important work and for taking a leadership role.”

“We are also very pleased to support research co-ordinated by the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association with $34,475 in provincial funding to test the effectiveness of grassed buffer strips and off-site watering systems to keep nitrogen and phosphorus out of the water,” said Melnick.

In addition to Manitoba Water Stewardship, Manitoba Conservation and the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association, other partners in the project are the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, the University of Manitoba and participating local conservation districts and producers.

Read more about watershed planning at the local level in the next issue of Canadian Water Treatment.


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