Watersheds are defined as areas of land that captures precipitation (i.e. rain, snow melt) and funnels it to a river, lake or stream. They are a community where people, business, agriculture, government, institutions, plants, and wildlife are all interconnected by common resources. The community influences the watershed and the watershed influences the community. Declining health through flooding, poor water quality, soil erosion, loss of wildlife habitat, streambank erosion, wetland drainage, lack of drought protection and increasing water demand are all common concerns for many of these watersheds in southern Manitoba. Integrated Watershed Management Plans are an organized way of looking at big picture issues and setting long and short-term priorities for improving the health of our watersheds. These plans are holistic and provide a venue where all watershed residents, local municipalities and government agencies can openly discuss watershed concerns and work together to develop lasting solutions.
The Redboine Watershed District has been established as Water Planning Authority (WPA) by the Provincial Government for watersheds within our boundaries. This means that the District has been assigned the responsibility of preparing and implementing Integrated Watershed Management Plans (IWMP) for watersheds within the district. The La Salle River IWMP was completed in 2010 and has been in the implementation stage ever since. The Boyne-Morris River IWMP, which RBWD shares joint WPA duties with the Pembina Valley Watershed District, was started in 2016 and is currently in the final stages of development. The Boyne-Morris River IWMP will be replacing the Stephenfield Lake Watershed Management Plan that was completed in 2005 and was an important document guiding watershed decisions in the Boyne River watershed for 15 years.