The District Manager of the Seine/Rat River Conservation District is expecting issues like localized flooding to get a lot more attention through a consultation process announced last week by the Manitoba Government. The province wants input on practices like water retention and wetland restoration that involve giving farmers incentives to make environmental improvements.
Jodi Goerzen says there has been a long history in our region of draining land to make it productive for agriculture. But she adds this has led to a lot of localized flooding year after year. Goerzen hopes the consultation will lead to a new way of doing things.
"Rather than drain, thinking about; How can I look at alternatives to drainage? How can I do something sustainable, maybe hold some of that water back? And, what are options? Maybe there's a payment for this, maybe there's a program for this, maybe there's something in the conservation district that we can look through and look for some alternative options to show people that there are really great alternatives that benefit both the landowner and the community."
Goerzen appreciates the government's move in this direction and explains why it's so important.
"To have a government that's getting behind this and saying , yes, nutrients into Lake Winnipeg are a concern for us and localized flooding issues, and the impacts of those, are a huge concern for us and we want to support local communities and locally-driven community decisions to reduce the water and the impacts on our changing landscape and provide a resilient community, that's huge."
Goerzen adds, people want to enjoy the land that we have in the future and every landowner wants that for the next generation. She believes these changes can lead to a very successful and even more productive landscape in the southeast in the future.
The consultation process remains open until October 6th and all interested people can participate. Forms are available online from the Manitoba Government website. Goerzen is hoping the province will follow up by announcing new initiatives later this year or early next year.
"I think right now I'd even be happier with targeted funding so that we can really use the science that we already have and say, yes, these areas and these programs work, let's put money behind that."