Posted by: Vicki Burns | December 17, 2012

Bi-National Efforts Pursued to Save Lake Winnipeg

I was heartened to read this news item detailing a forum that was held at the University of Minnesota on Dec.13. Shared Waters, Shared Responsibilities offered Manitoba a chance to plead our case to Minnesotans about the dire straits that our Lake Winnipeg is in right now. Our Premier, Greg Selinger, proposed the idea that Manitoba develop an accord with Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the Canadian provinces, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta that all contribute water (containing the problem phosphorus) to Lake Winnipeg.

Lake Winnipeg Watershed map

Lake Winnipeg Watershed map

The greatest majority of phosphorus that is feeding the blue-green algae blooms in Lake Winnipeg flows down the Red River so in order to restore the health of the lake it is going to be imperative to have the cooperation of our southern neighbours. However, I and many others, believe that the first step in this important process is for the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba to demonstrate real leadership in decreasing our contribution to the excess phosphorus and nitrogen that are polluting our lake. We have to show that we are willing to spend the money to improve our city’s wastewater treatment to decrease the phosphorus load from the largest city close to the lake.

Beyond that there are several ways in which we can decrease the nutrient run-off from the landscape by keeping water on the land. Earlier this week I participated in a presentation entitled Keeping Water on the Land in which the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association presented our ideas to the provincial government caucus, the first step in our collaborative efforts to get action on these ideas. I’ll share more about Keeping Water on the Land in a future blog.



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