The municipalities of Lakeview and Westbourne on the shore of Lake Manitoba have donated thousands of acres of wetland for conservation. The Big Grass Marsh wetland is about five times larger than Birds Hill Park and is the largest conservation donation in the history of the province, as well as the largest conservation agreement of its kind in Canada.
“This is the kind of forward-thinking, responsible habitat management that ensures the protection of an iconic wetland that provides flood control, water quality enhancement, protection from drainage, carbon storage, and wildlife habitat,” said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh. “This region is historic and was actually the first wetland project tackled by Ducks Unlimited more than 75 years ago.”
The donation agreement signed by the two municipalities and the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation will ensure permanent protection of 45,000 acres of wetland and aspen parklands. Protection will help reduce the amount of phosphorous in water heading to Lake Manitoba by about 40 tonnes per year and will ensure the wetland continues to store about three million tonnes of organic carbon.
The area will still be open to hunting and trapping.
“This internationally recognized wetland has exceptional biological diversity and watershed values,” said Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation chair John Whitaker. “The corporation is honoured to accept these donations on behalf of all Manitobans.”