Posted by: Vicki Burns | December 12, 2010

Maude Barlow Ignites Manitoba Conservation Districts Annual Conference With Dynamic Opening Address

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual conference of the MCDA( Manitoba Conservation Districts Association). It was well attended with several hundred people from all over the southern half of Manitoba. The Conservation Districts in Manitoba have been charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing integrated watershed management plans. They are doing much of the real “on the ground” work that needs to happen to in order to restore the health of our watersheds.

image of 3 children splashing in water

Kids playing in safe, clean water

Maude Barlow gave the opening key note address and she was riveting in her speech. She had just returned from the climate talks in Cancun and brought the unwelcome news that Canada had received all 3 of the “fossil” awards for standing in the way of a meaningful progress towards a climate change accord. She went on to heighten awareness of the need for Canada to adopt a national water policy. She praised the Conservation Districts for their “hands on” work in restoring the health of our watersheds. I find it impossible to listen to Maude without getting even more committed to the urgency of the work that we need to do to protect our precious water resources.  She provided a terrific start to the conference by establishing the important context within which we’re all working.
Over the next 2 days there were several good presentations from different conservation district managers talking about some of the progressive new ideas they’re working on. One of the most striking was from Ryan Canart of the Upper Assiniboine Conservation District talking about the concept of AgroForestry .  The last few presentations were from other groups ( Canon Envirothon Manitoba Eco-Network CIER) working on water issues, including our own Foundations in the Lake Winnipeg Watershed Initiative. All in all, it was a great opportunity to network and to learn about what’s going on around the province.



  1. It would help if the ‘higher levels’ let much more money flow through to the bottom as that is where the grass roots action is happening. If it doesnt start to flow through, we will all drown in the water.

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