Minutes from Health and Care of Bridgwater Forest Meeting

Mr. Rodney Penner, City Naturalist attended the Feb 15th meeting and provided residents a detailed overview of the report I commissioned looking at the health of the forest in Bridgwater. I encourage everyone to read the Naturalist’s Report in detail.


Residents who attended the meeting were very interested in planting new trees in areas where many trees have died. Mr. Penner’s office assists with tree plantings – essentially they organize everything and residents just ‘show up’ to plant trees and often host a BBQ or picnic. We had a few volunteers offer to help organize a tree planting this year, and help develop and distribute educational materials.  These volunteers are considering forming a  ‘Friends of the Forest in Bridgwater’ group  (final name is being determined) to assist the City in setting up a regular care program for the forest. I will also help with funding and information distribution. IF anyone is interested in helping care for the forest, please email me at jlukes@winnipeg.ca

There were three key issues that Mr. Penner identified that were impacting the forest:


The technician who walked the forest and wrote the report identified areas that water was not draining property. Soil piled around catch basins preventing water from draining, a pathway preventing water from flowing to catch basins, obstructions preventing water to reach catch basins.
The City Parks department will enter the forest this spring and open up some blockages, create some trenches and install culverts in areas that are blocking water flow.


It is illegal to position your sump pump hose to drain off your property. Sump pumps must drain ONTO your property. If you look at Figures 3 and Figures 4 on pages 5 & 6 in the report, you will see areas directly behind homes where many trees have died. Excessive water draining onto tree roots will ultimately cause the trees to die. The roots will drown. A lot of these trees have died because of excessive watering, whether it be from poor drainage or the running of sump pumps into the forest.
There are multiple options homeowners can take to ensure the sump pump drains onto their property but does not rot or drown their lawns. A rain garden can be created with water loving plants, a water sprinkler system can be created to use the sump pump runoff to water lawns, etc.  An information brochure specific to the issues and solutions will be created and distributed to area residents who back onto the forest.


Dumping dead leaves, twigs, or tossing old Christmas trees into the forest has a very negative effect. The organic materials suffocate out any new growth, or introduce other materials that can have a negative effect on the forest.
Residents need to be educated on the damage that can occur when the forest is used as a dumping ground. An information brochure will be created and distributed to area residents who back onto the forest.


There are dead trees in the forest that may potentially present a hazard and could fall on your property.
The City will come out and cut down ‘hazardous trees’ in the forest that may fall on your property.  Please contact  311 and please feel free to have cc’ myself – jlukes@winnipeg.ca I will ensure diligent follow up on any hazardous trees.

In summary, we had a good turnout and there was keen interest. This is YOUR forest, I encourage  you to help take care of it.