Tobacco Creek Model Watershed

The Tobacco Creek Model Watershed (TCMW) straddles three subregions, or "ecoregions" of the Prairie Ecozone; the Southwest Manitoba Uplands (also known as the Manitoba Escarpment), the Aspen Parkland, and the Lake Manitoba Plain. The Southwest Manitoba Uplands is home to many small lakes and ponds that are ideal habitats for waterfowl. Other wildlife includes white-tailed deer, black bear, ruffed grouse and moose. The Aspen Parkland has the most productive agricultural land in the Prairies and was once characterized by mixed tall shrubs and grasslands, but is now mostly farmland. This area is still a major habitat for waterfowl. Common crops in the watershed include - but are not limited to - oilseeds, corn, wheat and other cereal grains. This unique ecological position provides the opportunity to conduct applicable research and demonstrate innovative agriculture environment solutions.

Challenges related to water management in this watershed

The TCMW is located in an area where agriculture and food production is the main source of income for many communities. Intensive agriculture in the area has also contributed to water quality and biodiversity issues in the watershed and the Lake Winnipeg Basin. Flooding, nutrient loading and biological health are all pressing challenges in the watershed that farmers, municipalities, the agriculture industry, governments and researchers seek to address.  The monitoring framework will enable better decision making by evaluating the impacts of best management practices.

CWN-funded work and who is involved

Research is being led by Dr. Joseph Culp (University of New Brunswick; Canadian Rivers Institute; Environment Canada) and Dr. Howard Wheater (University of Saskatchewan; Global Institute for Water Security). Research being done for the TCMW will focus on monitoring agricultural impacts and testing various management practices on soil, water quality and drainage characteristics using rigorous economic, environmental and social indicators.

Research will include:

  • measuring flow rates, soil impacts, and water quality impacts watershed-wide;
  • assessing farm-management practices, and determine cost-effective conservation solutions;
  • assessing livestock impacts and costs, water needs, water impacts, forage benefits on riparian waterways;
  • maintaining a TCMW GIS system, including soil composition, water quality, farm income, farm costs, municipal infrastructure costs, and rain events; and,
  • expanding arrangements with university and government research partners.

The following researchers are conducting research through CWN's TCMW:

  • Joseph Culp, Professor, University of New Brunswick; Science Director, CRI; Research Scientist, Environment Canada
  • Patricia Chambers, Adjunct Professor, University of New Brunswick; Research Scientist, Environment Canada
  • Glenn  Benoy, Adjunct Professor, University of New Brunswick; Research Scientist, Environment Canada
  • Adam Yates, Assistant Professor, University of Western Ontario
  • Howard Wheater, Professor and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Water Security, University of Saskatchewan; Director, Global Institute for Water Security
  • John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change, Director of the Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Helen Baulch, Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan

RESEARCH SUMMARY

(5-page report)

CWN EN TobaccoCreek 2016