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Province Funds Water-Quality Improvement Projects, Watershed Planning Through Conservation Districts

by NationTalk on April 11, 2008473 Views

April 11, 2008

Water-quality improvement projects and the development of locally-driven watershed management plans are being supported with more than $330,000 in provincial funds, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick announced today.The support includes a new round of Water Stewardship Fund grants with $213,280 going toward 11 projects and $125,000 to four conservation districts.

“We are funding a number of water protection and awareness activities in Manitoba that help preserve our rich water resources,” said Melnick. “In addition, managing watersheds more effectively to better maintain water quality requires strong partnerships and we have found excellent partners in the existing conservation districts.”

The projects supported through the Water Stewardship Fund grants address the priorities of watershed management, planning and implementation, water-related research, education, water conservation and stewardship, and economic development. (See attached list).

Watershed management plans spell out local priorities and actions for areas of land where rainfall and other precipitation gathers and then flows into rivers, creeks, streams, marshes or lakes. These plans help ensure a healthy, viable watershed, the minister said.

The province has completed new memorandums of understanding with four conservation districts to be designated as water planning authorities for five watersheds. Last year, these conservation districts received a total of approximately $1 million in programming support. New funding for planning stage work includes:
· Pembina Valley Conservation District, $50,000, as designated water planning authority for two Pembina River watersheds;
· East Interlake Conservation District, $25,000, as designated water planning authority for the lower Interlake watershed;
· Intermountain Conservation District, $25,000, as designated water planning authority for the east Duck Mountain/Sagemace Bay watershed; and
· West Souris River Conservation District, $25,000, as designated water planning authority for the west Souris River watershed.

The planning work includes gathering information on the watershed’s resources and public consultation with local stakeholders on watershed issues. Plans are to be submitted for provincial approval.

“Water and its related resources are best co-ordinated on a watershed basis and this type of planning is more effectively led by local people,” said Melnick. “We acknowledge the strong efforts of Manitoba’s conservation districts on this valuable work and their active role at the planning level.”

Under Manitoba’s Water Protection Act, a total of 13 integrated watershed management plans have been launched under the direction of 10 conservation districts.

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Backgrounder: Recent Support Under Manitoba’s Water Stewardship Fund

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