A partnership between the Seine Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) and ALUS Canada, a Weston Family Initiative, the ALUS SRRCD program was launched in July, 2019. Jodi Goerzen SRRCD manager commented about the partnership, “Right now there is a lot of local anticipation around how incentivizing alternative land use practices in our agricultural community will really become the catalyst to better water quality in Manitoba while generating an increased understanding to the benefits of ecological goods and services that some producers already provide. It is really encouraging to see ALUS Canada welcome the SRRCD into this national effort.”
The ALUS SRRCD program aims to address important local environmental issues, particularly the protection and enhancement of surface water and groundwater in southeastern Manitoba. “We are excited to partner with another strong conservation district in Manitoba,” said Paige Englot, ALUS Canada’s Prairie Hub Manager. “The ALUS Seine Rat River program will support farmers and ranchers who produce cleaner water, cleaner air and improved biodiversity,” said Paige Englot, ALUS Canada’s Prairie Hub Manager.”
To accomplish this, the ALUS SRRCD local Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC) made up of farmers and stakeholders prioritizes projects that remove sensitive, marginal sections of croplands and forage lands from agricultural production, to establish, restore and enhance wetlands, floodplains and additional water-retention areas. The SRRCD board is enthusiastic by what this partnership can do within the local conservation district, “This is the bold move towards protecting and sustaining the management of our land and water resources that Southeastern Manitoba has been waiting years to embark on,” comments Cornie Goertzen SRRCD Chair of the Board.
The ALUS SRRCD program is located in the Seine Rat River Conservation District, which covers approximately 6,700 square kilometres in southeastern Manitoba. The area is roughly triangular in shape, with its tip at Winnipeg and its base along the U.S. border, extending from the Red River all the way to the southeast corner of the province. The SRRCD is home to approximately 70,000 residents residing in 16 municipalities including the third-largest city in Manitoba, the City of Steinbach.
The SRRCD is comprised of three sub-watersheds including the Seine River, Rat-Marsh River and Roseau River with all of their respective drains and tributaries such as the Manning Canal, Seine River Diversion, Tourond Creek, Joubert Creek, Angle Drain and Jordan Creek. It includes the iconic geography of the fertile Red River Valley and the scenic Sandilands Escarpment. The western part of the district, the Red River Valley, features a great number of croplands. Moving eastward, this farmland gradually gives way to a mixture of parklands and rangelands, until reaching the heavily forested Sandilands region that also offers localized rangelands.
Through their ALUS projects, ALUS SRRCD participants will help to produce cleaner water, cleaner air and more biodiversity, including pollinator habitat, for the benefit of everyone in the community.
Like all ALUS programs, ALUS SRRCD is completely voluntary for local agricultural producers and landowners, and is overseen by a Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC). Harold Janzen PAC Vice-Chair and ALUS SRRCD demonstration farmer, “We are excited to demonstrate the good work farmers are accomplishing and to showcase how we can all be part of a sustainable tomorrow through participation in alternative land use programs like ALUS SRRCD.”
Together, ALUS Canada and the Seine Rat River Conservation District are working towards sustaining agriculture, wildlife and natural space for all residents – one acre at a time.
For program and contact details, visit srrcd.ca.