Posted by: Vicki Burns | February 8, 2013

Lake Winnipeg “Threatened Lake of World 2013” Spurs Attention and Action

The announcement that Global Nature Fund has selected Lake Winnipeg as the Threatened Lake of the Year worldwide has garnered much attention from Manitoba media as well as across the country. It’s not the kind of announcement that anyone is proud of but it is definitely providing an opportunity to raise awareness about the increasing threat of blue-green algae blooms that in some years have covered up to 15,000 sq.km. of the lake’s surface.

Blue-green algae dried up on beach on Lake Winnipeg

Blue-green algae dried up on beach on Lake Winnipeg

The media attention to this announcement has allowed us to talk about some of the solutions to the lake’s problems and in particular, to emphasize the idea that everyone can be involved in helping to clean up the lake. Starting with simple things like making sure our cleaning products are Lake Friendly, by checking for the EcoLogo Certification, to designing a “green” garden that doesn’t need cosmetic fertilizers, there are many ways we can start to help the lake right in our own homes. Check out the Lake Friendly website for tips on products and practices that “lake friendly”.

Beyond that there are more substantial changes we need to make such as stopping the draining of wetlands and upgrading our sewage treatment systems in Winnipeg and in many rural lagoons. These measures will require government regulation and financial support. For these things to happen we need many more citizens to lend their support so our elected officials will know it matters to us.

Lake Winnipeg’s plight has drawn the attention of diverse groups including the organizers of the Thinkers Conference in Winnipeg Feb.21-23. It has become one of the featured themes of this year’s conference and we’re looking forward to hearing about some of the progressive solutions being presented there by IISD, DUC and the Lake Winnipeg Foundation.

So to sum up, all of us who are working to save our precious Lake Winnipeg are galvanized by the attention and commitment that this Threatened Lake designation has brought to our cause. We are more determined than ever to turn this situation into a good news story.

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