Government of Canada protecting the Lake Winnipeg basin

News release

July 30, 2020 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Lake Winnipeg basin is the second-largest watershed in Canada, covering close to one million square kilometres, which span over four provinces and four states. Home to seven million people, the basin is an important freshwater resource. Over the past several decades, Lake Winnipeg has faced significant challenges to its water quality.

Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Terry Duguid, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced $1.18 million to support 15 new projects under the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program.

These projects will address key water-quality issues in the Lake Winnipeg basin, including addressing algae growth, enhancing collaboration throughout the basin, and engaging Indigenous Peoples in freshwater management.

The Parliamentary Secretary was joined today by representatives from the University of Manitoba and the Manitoba Metis Federation. One of the projects, carried out by the University of Manitoba in collaboration with the Manitoba Metis Federation, received $50,000 to expand community-based water-monitoring efforts and create a water-weather keeper program. The Manitoba Metis Federation will be receiving an additional $130,000 to lead another project that aims to increase the number of Metis citizen scientists measuring phosphorus concentrations and gather traditional knowledge on the health of Lake Winnipeg. Through investments like these, the Government of Canada is protecting fresh water across the country.

Quotes

“Projects likes these will have a positive impact on our community, economy, and natural environment. Lake Winnipeg is a significant resource to numerous communities and Indigenous Peoples across the basin, generating millions of dollars each year. It is so encouraging to see Canadians stepping up with innovative and practical ways to address some of our most pressing freshwater challenges.”

– Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“These innovative local projects will help address freshwater issues across the Lake Winnipeg basin through action and collaborative efforts. By working together, we have made important strides in understanding ongoing and emerging threats to Lake Winnipeg’s water quality and ecosystem health to preserve this vital resource for future generations.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • Lake Winnipeg is Canada’s sixth-largest lake and the eleventh-largest freshwater lake in the world. Its watershed is the second-largest in Canada and includes parts of four provinces and four US states.

  • The Lake Winnipeg drainage basin is nearly one million square kilometres in size and is home to nearly seven million people.

  • In 2020–21, $1.18 million will support 15 projects in protecting water quality throughout the Lake Winnipeg basin through the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program. A total of $25.7 million over five years was allocated to the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program, in Budget 2017.

  • A total of $8 million is available for application-based projects, under the grants and contributions portion of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program.

  • Excessive nutrients, like phosphorus, contributed to algae growth and deteriorated water quality in Lake Winnipeg. The recent release of the State of Lake Winnipeg (second edition) was a collaborative effort between Manitoba and Environment and Climate Change Canada, and findings indicate that nutrient loading to the lake still remains a challenge.

Associated links

Contacts

Moira Kelly
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-271-6218
moira.kelly@canada.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
ec.media.ec@canada.ca

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