GFM Network News

New dean of agriculture named for U of S

Soil science prof Angela Bedard-Haughn takes over Aug. 15

One of Western Canada’s major post-secondary ag institutions will get a new hand at the wheel this summer. The University of Saskatchewan announced Wednesday it has named soil science professor Angela Bedard-Haughn as the dean for its College of Agriculture and Bioresources for a five-year term starting Aug. 15. Raised on a family farm in

Opinion: Celebrate World Wetlands Day

February 2 is a day to remember the vital ecological importance of these distinct ecosystems

February 2, 2019, is World Wetlands Day celebrating the signing of the Ramsar Convention in Iran in 1971 where the purpose was to recognize the importance of wetlands to society. So what’s the big deal about wetlands? To start, we know that wetlands are considered to be a vital part of the Manitoba prairie landscape.

Consultations on streamlined drainage regulation end January 19

The draft regulations aim to reduce red tape and wait times, while increasing protection for wetlands

Manitobans have until January 19 to tell the province what they like — or don’t like — about the approach it proposes to protect wetlands as it introduces changes to Water Rights Regulation. Manitoba is introducing the most significant changes to Water Rights Regulation since the 1980s. The proposals include a more streamlined drainage approval

Manitoba’s Pelly Lake water-control project is cited as one example of how natural features can control flooding more cheaply than engineered structures.

‘Natural infrastructure’ — retain what you have; restore what’s lost

A new report says natural infrastructure can be cheaper than built infrastructure for controlling floods

Saving and carefully managing of wetlands, forests and other working natural landscapes can save Canadians millions in yearly flood damage costs, says a new report supported in part by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. This ‘natural infrastructure’ is also a viable and cost-effective alternative to traditional — and often much more expensive — built flood

Local ALUS co-ordinator and conservation district manager, Colleen Cuvelier, explains one of several perennial forage projects ALUS is funding in the Little Saskatchewan River Conservation District during a July 2018 field tour.

ALUS gains steam in western Manitoba

ALUS returned to its roots in the Little Saskatchewan River Conservation District in 2014, and producers are buying in

A multi-province program that promises to pay landowners for conservation practices is attracting so much interest in the Little Saskatchewan River Conservation District that providers say they can’t meet the demand. District manager and local ALUS co-ordinator, Colleen Cuvelier said program co-ordinators couldn’t accommodate all the proposals this year, estimating another 100-200 acres could have

The federal government says it’s putting millions into the fight to protect Lake Winnipeg.

Feds put up funds for Lake Winnipeg

Water quality and wetlands are key targets for the promised spending

The federal government will be spending $3.8 million over the next four years to fund groups working to protect Lake Winnipeg. Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced the funding for 23 new projects under the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program Aug. 2 in Gimli. The Lake Winnipeg Basin Program will take action to reduce

Weighing in on Manitoba's new Sustainable Watersheds Act.

New law aims to protect wetlands, lakes, rivers

The Manitoba government passes its Sustainable Watersheds Act to co-ordinate programs and policy in water management

The Manitoba government has adopted a carrot-and-stick approach to addressing an issue that has divided neighbours and cost the provincial economy billions due to flooding and reduced water quality. Fines for breaking the rules will rise sharply, but incentives for protecting key wetlands are being developed, and the approval process for low-impact drainage projects will be streamlined.

2,000 Hectares That’s how much wetland Manitoba loses every year to drainage. The new law specifies no net loss of “wetland benefits.” Source: Manitoba government $748 Million Protecting key wetlands would prevent 1,000 tonnes of P and 55,000 tonnes of N from entering lakes and waterways annually. The estimated saving on removal using existing technology:

A new government program could help compensate farmers for their work protecting 
environmental features like wetlands and riparian areas.

Manitoba budget contains multimillion-dollar conservation trust

There’s great potential for the trust to help farmers help the environment, says KAP

A $102-million conservation trust fund announced in the Manitoba government’s March 12 budget could help compensate farmers for protecting the environment, says Keystone Agricultural Producers president Dan Mazier. “That’s how I see the fund being used, but I’m not certain if all of it will be,” Mazier said from his farm near Justice, Man., in

Wetland restoration in Pembina Valley ‘a rarity,’ said CD officials

About 160 acres have been converted back to wetland after the landowners farming it saw more advantage using the acres to hold water than farming it at a loss

Brenda and Cliff Seward had known for a long while a certain piece of farmland wasn’t very productive — but they kept on cultivating it anyways. This was about 40 acres, once slough, and drained more than 30 years ago, explains Brenda who farms southwest of Morden in the Kaleida area. Read more: A watershed

David Lobb, of the University of Manitoba, says flood solutions will include keeping more water on farms, but not necessarily on fields.

On-farm water collection key to drainage management

Other farming practices such as enhancing soil health and better design 
and maintenance of surface drains can also help

Reducing run-off and improving soil health are the best path to address flooding and excess nutrients, according to a University of Manitoba expert on watershed management. These strategies include more collection of surface water before it leaves the farm and adoption of soil management practices that build soil structure and help water infiltrate, says David