West Souris River Conservation DistrictBy admin
WSRCD was formed in 1995 as Manitoba’s seventh conservation district through a partnership with the Province and four municipalities. Today that partnership has grown to include seven municipalities (Pipestone, Albert, Sifton, Edward, Cameron, Wallace and Arthur) and encompasses 4352.5 square kilometers in the southwestern corner of Manitoba. WSRCD is governed by an eight member board and programs are delivered by three full-time staff and a seasonal work crew. WSRCD is a registered charity.
Communities in WSRCD face numerous challenges in sustaining long-term productive use of their natural resource base. As the WSRCD Board, we envision a landscape where the land, water and related natural resources exist in a healthy, sustainable state and are capable of supporting a healthy and economically viable community over the long term. Our role is to help our local agricultural community to achieve this end by fostering personal and community initiatives, by using district staff and financial resources strategically and by developing partnerships with others who share our desire to support local initiatives and at the same time maintaining and enhancing ecosystem health. To meet our goals WSRCD has developed and delivered up to 30 resource management programs for residents in order to address local issues related to water quality and quantity, soil protection and improvement, wildlife habitat enhancement, protection and preservation of threatened ecosystems and environmental education for all ages.
Some of our accomplishments include planting 20 miles of shelterbelts in a single year, assisting farmers to plant thousands of acres of forage to protect and improve soil, monitoring and protecting water quality by annual testing of surface and groundwater and by the sealing of more than 100 old water wells throughout the district. Wildlife programs have included habitat enhancement projects in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, as well as, stream inventories through Manitoba Conservation to assess fish habitat. It was through one such inventory that a species of fish not known to inhabit our streams was found to, in fact, be present.
Environmental educational and youth initiatives are key to the success of our programs. WSRCD has developed numerous educational programs and currently has ten or more programs to offer our schools. We are seen as educational leaders within our communities and were honored as Educator of the Year by the Forte la Bosse Teachers’ Society in 1996 and in 2007.
WSRCD is currently planning for the future management of our watershed having initiated an Integrated Watershed Management Planning process in partnership with Manitoba Water Stewardship and our municipalities.
WSRCD developed the Canupawakpa Nature Trail along the Pipestone Creek in 1999. This one kilometer trail has become a popular stop for tourists and is one of the district’s best educational features. WSRCD is also involved in the development of two new trails near Melita.