The Souris River Watershed District is currently working on a few water retention projects in its catchment area, which stretches from Kola south to the US border and then west to the US border. of Saskatchewan, totaling 7,000 km².
“We’ve been very busy,” shares manager Dean Brooker. “We are doing a lot of water retention structures, these are small dams. We have 2 in progress at the moment in Boissevain-Morton. These are repairs on structures that were built several years ago, so we fix them.”
The total district-wide cost allocation for the fiscal year is just over $1 million. “Part of the funding comes from the Gro-Trust. It’s a grant program where we can access funds every year. The provincial government has set aside money with the Winnipeg Foundation and we have access to the interest every year, in all 14 watershed districts. “
The watershed district’s mandate is not limited to water control. Soil and water conservation is in their wheelhouse of expertise.
“We actually have a number of programs that landowners can access for the district,” says Brooker. “Some of the seed is for saline areas, so we provide that at no cost to landowners and they can usually get up to 50 acres of seed through us.”
Securing Class 1 and 2 wetlands on cultivated acres is a program that has been quite popular among landowners. “It’s these ponds in the spring, and when we have a runoff in the summer, it fills up. And then the water usually recedes pretty quickly. But, we pay landowners up to $75 per acre for these wetlands class 1 and 2 over 10 years.There is also a caveat on the land title, but we just ask them not to drain the wetlands for those ten years and they can still farm through them.
This program has been offered by the Watershed District for the past 2 years. Brooker encourages landowners to consider the program if they have Class 1 and 2 wetlands.
“If you are interested, please call one of our offices in Deloraine or Reston and our staff will get back to you,” he adds.