PROVINCE RELEASES FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND, SCIENTIFIC ASSESSMENT ON STATE OF LAKE WINNIPEG
– – – Comprehensive Assessment Released as Province Announces Further Steps to Save the Lake: Melnick
The first comprehensive assessment of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of Lake Winnipeg since intensive lake monitoring began in late 1990s was released today by Manitoba Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick.
“Led by Manitoba Water Stewardship and Environment Canada, this report represents an extensive collaboration by many researchers from government, universities and non-governmental organizations,” said Melnick. “It will serve as an important reference to measure progress as our efforts continue to restore the health of Lake Winnipeg.”
The assessment lays out the current and ongoing research on Lake Winnipeg including water quality, water levels, algae growth and climate conditions. It also looks at future issues that are emerging on the lake.
“The Manitoba government is committed to taking the steps necessary to save Lake Winnipeg and protect our province’s waterways,” said Melnick.
Today, the minister formalized new proposed standards for nutrient reduction in municipal and industrial waste water across Manitoba, stating nutrient reduction is a key component of the province’s strategy to restore the health of Lake Winnipeg. The province will be meeting with municipalities and stakeholders this month to discuss the updated nutrient removal standards, she said. The proposed standards, objectives and guidelines can be found on the Manitoba Water Stewardship website. Comments on this initiative will be accepted until Aug. 4.
The minister also announced over $275,000 in Manitoba Water Stewardship grants for initiatives including:
$200,000 for continued wetland restoration incentives led by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation and Ducks Unlimited;
$25,000 for Manitoba Eco-Network’s Water Caucus;
$25,000 for fishery-enhancement projects;
$24,000 for the Manitoba Envirothon; and
$10,000 to explore grey water recycling at Dakota Community Centre, an initiative of a new Clean Water Technology Strategy that is being launched in Manitoba.
Annually, the province invests over $5 million to support the Manitoba Conservation Districts program. A steady increase of funding over the last several years has led to many positive benefits in sustainable land and water management in Manitoba including five new integrated watershed management plans this year in the Little Saskatchewan, Netley-Grassmere, Shell River, Assiniboine Birdtail and Pembina River conservation districts, said Melnick.
“As Manitobans continue to battle with unprecedented flooding, it’s important we realize the impact our waterways have,” the minister said. “As a government, we are committed to assisting all Manitobans in emergency situations like this year’s flood. At the same time, it’s critical we look to the future and for ways to protect our water for generations to come.”