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Watershed Research Proposals Now Being Accepted

10 August 2011

Tobacco Creek, MB – Scientific researchers seeking to advance society’s understanding of flooding, nutrient loading, and biological health in agricultural watersheds are encouraged to explore emerging opportunities in the Tobacco Creek Model Watershed (TCMW).

See: TCMW_Announcement_ltr.pdf

Relevant Websites:

CWN Proposal Call Weblink

14 July 2011

The current proposal call managed by the Canadian Water Network is available via the CWN website at:

Appendix A to the call is included as part of the main RFP document. Additional appendices are available in the post below.

CWN Proposal Call Appendices

14 July 2011

Appendix A to the call is included as part of the main RFP document via the CWN website.

Appendix B contains three items, as below:
TCMW Management and Research Plan: 2004-TCMW_plan
STC Project Steering Role/Process: 2007-TCMW-STC_RoleProcess-27Feb
STC Project Acceptance: 2007-TCMW-STC_ProjectAcceptAgree27Feb

Appendix C: Background Documents
Relevant Background Research: 2011-TCMW_Background_Research-15Jul
Sample CWN Projects: TCMW_Sample_Projects.pdf

Appendix D: TCMW Proposal to CWN
Final TCMW Research Consortium Proposal: 2011-TCWM-CWN_Final-15Apr

Canadian Water Network Decision

27 June 2011

After an exhaustive national competition, initial scientific research funding of $600k was announced for the TCWM by the Canadian Water Network on 27 June 2011. A formal RFP for NCE Tri-Council-eligible researchers will occur on approximately 15 July, with proposals evaluated by an international panel of watershed experts. Research projects will commence early in 2012. Please see:

CWN news release: CWN_Announcement

TCMW Update and Thank You: TCMW Update and Thank You


27 June 2011

Led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Watershed Evaluation of Beneficial Management Practices (WEBs) has been underway since 2004. Many partners, including Ducks Unlimited Canada have played key roles in supporting this research. More details are available at:

The Deerwood Small Dam Network

27 June 2011

The Deerwood Soil and Water Management Association began establishing partnerships and delivering conservation programs in 1984. Between 1985 and 1996, 50 small headwater retention structures (small dams) were constructed by the association, primarily on the upland tributaries of two watersheds: Graham Creek and Tobacco Creek. A majority of the structures are located on the South Tobacco Creek (STC) watershed. A total of 26 Deerwood dams have water management impacts in the STC area (Figure). Three Deerwood dam designs exist:

1) Dry Dam/Flood Control Structures serve to decrease peak flows during spring snow melt and summer rainstorm runoff events by retaining water for a short period of time;
2) Backflood Dams retain water at a shallow depth over large acreages of annually and/or pasture cropped lands. Water is retained for at least two weeks before being released, thereby greatly increasing soil moisture in the flooded area to the benefit of crops and wildlife;
3) Multi-Purpose Dams are designed to reduce peak flow during spring snow melt and summer rainstorm runoff events by retaining water for a short period of time, and to store water for summer use. 50% of the dam storage capacity is retained for seasonal use. This may include stock watering, small scale irrigation, wildlife habitat, fish rearing, and groundwater recharge.

Figure: Deerwood’s small dam network has reduced local flooding
and erosion an related infrastructure damage

The small dams store water in pools which are generally the size of small ponds. They have reduced damaging peak stormwater and spring runoff flows by up to 90% at individual sites. At the base of the 29 square mile watershed, peak flow reduction has been measured at 25% (AAFC 1995). Deerwood’s efforts are now saving two local municipalities in excess of $50k per year in reduced costs for the maintenance and repair of roads, bridges, and drainage ditches. These savings are expected to occur for at least 50 years into the future (Oborne 1995). Many other jurisdictions have been exploring adoption of this approach, which may result in significant returns for farmers, municipalities, and the environment. Many small dams are located in former wetland areas (Figure).

Figure: Deerwood dam sites, South Tobacco Creek Sub-watershed

Twenty-six headwater retention structures now manage 30% of the 18,000 acre South Tobacco Creek watershed, resulting in a 25% reduction in overall peak flows. Local, high intensity runoff has been reduced by as much as 90% downstream of individual dams (AAFC 1995). At various rainfall runoff intensities, the modeled effect of Deerwood’s dams have been compared with those estimated for a larger control structure. Projected peak flow impacts indicate comparable effects, particularly with more common runoff intensities (i.e. 1:50 events). Trends of: reduced flooding and soil erosion, improved water quality, and lengthened runoff periods would be expected according to the PFRA model, which predicts Deerwood’s dams to be effective in reducing peak flows throughout the watershed by 25% and 19% in summer storms and spring snowmelts respectively (Figure).

Figure (AAFC 1995):
Individual Deerwood dams have reduced downstream peak flows by 90%, while 26 dams within the South Tobacco Creek watershed have been estimated to reduce overall peak flows by 25%.

Early Mismanagement

27 June 2011

Instances of flooding and erosion damage within the Tobacco Creek region have been well documented. In 1979, a 50 year spring runoff event resulted in one municipality claiming damages under the Manitoba Flood Damage Assistance Plan totaling $24,850. Agricultural productivity losses were estimated at more than $828,000. Site-specific damages for two sites for the 1979 event have also been estimated by MEHSSC (1988). At one location, damages occurred over 580 ha. (1440 acres), with associated total costs of $320,000. A second site experienced flooding and erosion over 3000 ha. (7500 acres) with damages estimated at $1,200,000. This site also experienced a severe thunderstorm event in 1986, affecting 1800 ha (4500 acres) and costing an additional $340,000.

An example of current water damage/costs in Manitoba:

Upstream Flow and Downstream Impact