The Province of Manitoba released a new Peatlands Stewardship Strategy on April 30, including Canada’s first stand-alone legislation on the subject. The legislation will ensure healthy, well-managed peatland ecosystems that provide important conservation benefits.
“Peatlands are an important resource for managing the effects of climate change because they are the most efficient, natural place to store carbon while also helping with water resource management, water filtration and biodiversity conservation,” said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh.
The peatlands strategy will include 22 interconnected initiatives under five themes: peatlands management, integrated environmental protection, responsible peatland harvesting and recovery, scientific enhancement, and public engagement.
Under the new legislation, provincially significant peatlands may be designated for protection of water quality, biodiversity, carbon stores, and research. It will also eliminate peat harvesting in all provincial parks and wildlife management areas, with the exception of the Moose Creek wildlife management area.
Chris Smith, head of forest industry and government relations for Ducks Unlimited Canada, said his organization was pleased with the new legislation and its focus on balancing protection and wise management.
“Peatlands are important wetland ecosystems that provide habitat for a wide range of waterfowl and wildlife species as well as the protection of water quality in the Lake Winnipeg watershed,” Smith said.