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Province funds watershed planning

These plans are considered vital to the province-wide push to implement watershed plans.

Four conservation districts have received additional funding to develop their Integrated Watershed Management Plans.

These plans are considered vital to the province-wide push to implement watershed plans.

Cheques of $25,000 were issued to four C. D. managers on the opening day of the recent Manitoba Conservation Districts Association convention.

Alonsa C. D. manager Harry Harris said the funding comes on top of their usual budget for the year and is earmarked specifically for IWMP development. Harris said there is usually a two-year time limit, but is confident he can speed up the process as the C. D. already has a Surface Water Management Plan almost completed.

Steve Carlyle, manager of the East Interlake C. D. said the funds will assist the EICD in completing an IWMP in the Willow Creek Watershed. The watershed includes the town of Gimli. “This will be the third IWMP the EICD will be involved in,” said Carlyle.

His district is currently in the final draft stage of an IWMP for the Icelandic-Washow Bay Creek watershed which should be finished in January. They are also in the plan formulation stage for the Netley-Grassmere IWMP, which should be completed shortly after the start of the Willow Creek Watershed IWMP.

“Our goal is to have IWMPs take approximately one year to complete. At this rate we will have all four of our sub-watershed that comprise the EICD with a completed IWMP by spring 2011,” he said.

After spending two years on an amalgamation, as well as partnering with other districts to work on a watershed management plan for the Pembina River, the new Assiniboine Hills conservation district received funding to work on the central Assiniboine and lower Souris River watersheds.

Manager Barb Kingdon said the experience will allow for them to move more efficiently through the process.

She said public meetings are well attended if the timing is right. She is hoping time will be on their side again.

Her district has a challenge as it is still not solely based on watersheds, so partnerships are essential. Down the line, there is a possibility that the boundaries might be adjusted, but for now, the focus is on completion of the IWMP.

Brent Erlendsen, manager of Swan Lake Watershed conservation district said his C. D. will be completing a plan for the Manitoba portion of the Swan Lake basin. He expects to have a very close working relationship with the stakeholders and various representatives on the Saskatchewan portion. He said the two provinces have a consensus to work closely to benefit the entire watershed.

A project management team will be put together and then work will begin on the “characterization” of the watershed. Considerable data exists and once all is compiled, any voids need to be addressed and that information gathered.

As one of the newest C. D. s, Erlendsen said they had limited resources, but are very pleased with the recent funds which will allow them to continue the project.

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