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TCMW Background

27 June 2011

The Tobacco Creek Model Watershed (TCMW) initiative has been evolving as a logical extension of Deerwood’s agri-environmental partnership-building and research progress associated with the 79 km2 South Tobacco Creek Project (STC). During the early 1990s, it became clear that many area farmers and some local governments (rural municipalities) were experiencing measurable economic and environmental benefits from STC watershed management experiments. However, these benefits were decidedly local in nature, and beginning in 1999, increasing efforts focused on exploring the potential for expanding the STC experience.

The concurrent rise of Manitoba’s Water Strategy and its identified mission to be “a leader in integrated water and land use planning and management on a watershed basis” suggested to Deerwood that the time was right to begin establishing a “living watershed laboratory.” Members of the Deerwood Association knew there would be an eventual need for solid watershed science, and for scientific evaluation of the effectiveness of the various strategies, policies, and practices which may be employed in attempts to improve sustainability across Manitoba’s agricultural landscape.

Deerwood members also realized that complete community support of any significant watershed initiatives would be required for meaningful change to occur on the agricultural landscape. Deerwood began discussing these issues and opportunities with its scientific research partners and meeting with area rural municipalities whose day-to-day decisions were somehow influenced by the natural and human-influenced realities of Tobacco Creek. Deerwood and its community partners, including the RMs of Dufferin, Lorne, Morris, Roland, and Thompson (Figure) developed and secured several private and public funding proposals to advance their watershed planning work. Soon joined by Pembina Valley, and later, the La Salle Redboine Conservation Districts, a well-represented Community Committee evolved to shape the TCMW. All municipalities have made cash and in-kind contributions which have been received and/or pledged to support future work.

Figure: TCMW Rural Municipalities

TCMW Rural Municipalities

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