The former Board Chair of the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District is being recognized for his involvement in building the organization. 

Cornie Goertzen (submitted photo)

Earlier this month, the Manitoba Association of Watersheds announced the recipients of its 2021 Watershed District Builder Award. Cornie Goertzen and Roy Wood are this year's winners. Wood served with the Redboine Watershed District, while Goertzen was with the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District.

"Cornie just put his heart and soul into the watershed district, and it was just amazing to see," says Jodi Goerzen, Manager of the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District.

Goertzen joined the watershed community in 2002 and stepped down in 2020.

"He just had such a value placed on face to face meetings and he was able to gain the ears of many ministers along the way," adds Goerzen.

She says he always encouraged the district to build relationships and build bridges as that is where the funding comes from. She adds he was able to exemplify what it means to be a watershed district member on the ground.

"And having that local farmer knowledge is really what was driving the whole vision of our district and still does," she adds. "He's just a really great example of what it means for the local knowledge to be acknowledged and kind of brought to light for the contributions that the farmers make in our watershed district."

The Manitoba Association of Watersheds also hands out an annual Watershed District Award. This year's winners included the Vita Community Child Care Centre for their efforts in building a rain garden.

"That was such a great initiative to capture the rainfall coming off of their roof and they tied it into an outdoor playground for the children as well," she explains. "So it was just a really great initiative there."

Goerzen explains the rain garden idea really came from Dorthea Gregoire, who is both a staff member for the Watershed District but also a board member for the daycare. With all the renovations going on at the daycare, Goerzen says it was Gregoire's idea to incorporate a rain garden into those plans.

Meanwhile, the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District also recently learned that its Roseau River Integrated Watershed Management Plan that has been worked on since 2016, has finally been approved and adopted by the minister. She notes it will be going to print and then released to the public.