The West Souris River Conservation District (WSRCD) held their annual banquet at the Pipestone Community Hall, Tuesday, April 30. The evening began with heartfelt Tributes to the late Glen Campbell, WSRCDs first manager, who passed away Jan. 8, 2019. Gregg Fotheringham reminisced of the many years he worked with Glen and the memories they shared. Stories from Dean Brooker, fellow coworkers and board members were also told with laughs and some tears. Glen had a huge impact on the conservation community and is greatly missed.
Doyle Piwniuk, MLA for Arthur-Virden gave greetings and presented a cheque for the Conservation Trust Fund. WSRCD staff applied for funding for two projects totaling $138,000. These projects include: The establishment of pollinator habitat in the Mixed Grass Prairie Region of Manitoba and improving water quality and advancing climate change adaptation in the lower Souris watershed. Cheryl Porter, representative of MP Larry Maguire, spoke of how Maguire wanted to show his respect for all the great work WSRCD has done. From a farming background, Maguire lives by the words, “If you take care of the land, it will take care of you.”
Pipestone Guild and the Pipestone Lions Club then put on an excellent supper of roast beef, ham, and many different sides to pick from and of course some delicious dessert.
Following supper, Manager of WSRCD Dean Brooker gave a presentation on current and new conservation projects for 2019. Programs including: Well Stock Chlorination, Abandoned Water Well Sealing, Riparian Enhancement, Soil Health, Livestock Water Improvement, Annual Seeding Orders, Water Retention, Education for Youth and Adults, and Land Donation.
External funding included: Tundra Oil &Gas/Richardson Foundation - $395,000 since 2002 (Renewing their grant in 2018 to West Souris River Conservation for $100,000 over four years), Growing Forward 2 - $220,000 since 2014, Environment Canada – SARPAL $224,000, City of Brandon Funding $58,000, Manitoba Hydro - $48,000, Ducks Unlimited Canada - $18,000, Enbridge - $27,000, Manitoba Culture & Tourism - $12,000, Foundations (Virden, Oak Lake, Reston, Brandon) - $15,000, Eco Canada Internship - $ 14,000, Nature Conservancy of Canada - $24,000, Lake Winnipeg Foundation - $4,500, Fish/Wildlife Enhancement Fund - $5,200, Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative - $14,000.
New to watch for in 2019: Conservation District Amalgamations 2020, The Conservation Trust – MHHC $138,000 and partnership with Canupawakpa Dakota Nation.
Kendra Kay of Elkhorn, (and band) continued the night with favourite Country and Rock Covers that made it impossible to not sing along.
Koko the Owl also made a guest appearance with handler Cassidy Howell to represent the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program. The evening was a complete success thanks to all the hard work of the WSRCD staff, donations from sponsors and all the kitchen staff and bartenders.