Sustainable Slopes – The Pembina Escarpment Partnership

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A stark contrast to the surrounding flat grasslands, the Pembina Escarpment marks the boundary between the Red River valley to the east and the prairies to the west. Rising 200 metres above the valley, this unique landscape was formed thousands of years ago as beach deposits on the margins of Glacial Lake Agassiz. The escarpment is steep and gouged with abrupt ravines, resulting in an increased risk of soil erosion. Surface water quality can be significantly impacted by soil erosion due to increased sediment and nutrient load, and can lead to the deterioration of water quality of communities within the watershed.

Sustainable Slopes is an environmental sustainability initiative designed to conserve woodlands along the Pembina Escarpment. The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, in partnership with the Pembina Valley Conservation District and the Manitoba Forestry Association, will work with landowners along the escarpment to permanently conserve at-risk lands through Conservation Agreements, and demonstrate sustainable uses of these lands through the delivery of Resource Management Plans.

This area, like much of Manitoba, is experiencing rapid agricultural and residential expansion, causing increased pressures on the natural habitat of the region, including its wooded slopes. Permanent protection of wooded habitat reduces soil erosion risk and enhances surface water quality through the reduction of water velocity and the capture of nutrients before they enter the watershed. But simple protection may not be enough, as woodlands have evolved under cycles of disturbance and rejuvenation. This is why MHHC has partnered with The Manitoba Forestry Association as they are experts in designing easy-to-implement management plans tailored to the individual’s goals for the property.

For more information on this program, please contact your local MHHC representative.
Funding support for this three year project has been provided by Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program .