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Manitoba from the Air
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The Red River Plain South of Sperling

This photograph is an extreme version of what is shown on figure 3.87. The only drainage channel that approaches a natural state is a small stretch of the Little Morris River in the extreme east 1, but even it is bounded by embankments on both sides. All other drainage channels are artificial and drain in straight lines down a very gentle incline from west to east. Several follow section lines, which in turn are followed by gravel roads so that the channels are not discernible on the photo. Nevertheless, topographic maps show from north to south: Forrester Drain 2 that flows into the Morris River, just off the photo to the east; an unnamed drain, which can be seen on the photo where it bends northwards near the eastern edge 3, Burnett Drain 4, which flows into the Little Morris River (off the photo); Brown Drain 5, which also flows to the Little Morris River; another unnamed drain 6, which can be seen on the photo as it is channeled between embankments (it too flows into the Little Morris River); Tobacco Creek 7, which is probably the most obvious channel on the photo as it flows between prominent embankments and into the Little Morris River in the east (small bridges cross Tobacco Creek at several section lines 8); and finally in the south Bell Drain 9 and Anderson Drain 10.[i]

This area was marshy until artificial drainage was used to reclaim it for agriculture early in the Twentieth Century. The soils developed on lake-deposited silt are uniform in texture and very fertile; consequently, virtually every acre is devoted to arable agriculture. Farming is intensive with many fields in one section 11, in contrast to the extensive agriculture with only a few fields per section in southwestern Manitoba. Farms are located mainly along section lines 12 with one or two per section. Although the land is exceedingly flat, even here minor depressions are picked out by water producing a mottled texture 13. In the southeast are some very indefinite strandlines 14.

PTH 3 15 out from Winnipeg bypasses Sperling 16 and continues west towards Carman (off the photo). The CN line 17 follows the same direction but runs through Sperling. The boundary between townships 5 and 6 18 runs across this area. This is also a municipal boundary, between the RM of Dufferin to the north and the RM of Roland to the south, and an unnamed drain follows it.


[i] For details about drainage of this area see Carlyle, W. J., “Agricultural Drainage in Manitoba: the Search for Administrative Boundaries” in River Basin Management: Canadian Experiences, eds. B. Mitchell and J. S. Gardner. Waterloo: University of Waterloo, Department of Geography Publication Series, No. 20, 1983. 277-295.

Figure 3.88

The Red River Plain South of Sperling