The Manitoba government is advancing protection and support for water resources through a number of initiatives including enhancing the Lake Friendly Initiative and expanding watershed districts, Environment and Climate Minister Kevin Klein announced.
“Water is a precious resource and we all need to work together to ensure we make every drop count,” said Klein. “We are making investments in initiatives that enhance protections for Lake Winnipeg and our watersheds, helping ensure the sustainable management of our valuable water resources, now and for future generations.”
The Manitoba government has invested $75,000 to enhance the Lake Friendly Initiative and support the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region as it transitions the Lake Friendly Initiative from the South Basin Mayors and Reeves Inc. and continues critical efforts to protect the health of Lake Winnipeg.
In 2008, nine communities (Alexander, Bifrost, Dunnottar, Gimli, Selkirk, St. Andrews, St. Clements, Winnipeg Beach and Victoria Beach) on the shores of Lake Winnipeg formed the South Basin Mayors and Reeves Inc. and established the Lake Friendly Initiative to help address water quality in Lake Winnipeg and its watershed. The initiative has included a green products campaign and action guides for municipalities, farms, schools, business and Manitobans.
The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region will build on those collaborative efforts to reach more Manitobans and promote tangible actions to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg, the minister noted, adding that funding will also support adaptation of existing Lake Friendly resources to support current provincial strategies and priorities including the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan and the Water Management Strategy .
“To protect our freshwater resources and help prepare for the impacts of a changing climate, we need to connect people to resources that educate and enable action,” said Colleen Sklar, executive director, Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. “The support from the Manitoba government will allow us to build awareness, plan together and incorporate actions across the region to improve the health of lakes, rivers and streams.”
The minister noted, in collaboration with municipal partners, the Manitoba government is again expanding its successful Watershed Districts Program to help enhance protections for Manitoba’s waterways and help further the goals of the new water management strategy, including the improvement of co-ordinated water management and governance across watersheds, basins and aquifers.
“Manitoba’s Watershed Districts Program is one of the most successful land and water conservation partnerships in Canada,” said Klein. “We are thrilled to announce expansion of the Northeast Red, Pembina and Redboine watershed districts to include several new municipalities and to expand the included area in several existing municipalities.”
The Manitoba government has enhanced core funding by $265,000 to three watershed district expansions including:
- Northeast Red Watershed District to include the rural municipalities (RM) of St. Clements, Lac du Bonnet and Reynolds and expand the included area in the RMs of Brokenhead, Ste. Anne, Tache, and Springfield;
- Pembina Valley Watershed District to include portions of the RM of Roland; and
- Redboine Watershed District to include portions of the RMs of Roland and Macdonald.
“Manitoba Association of Watersheds is grateful for the Manitoba government’s continued support of the Watershed Districts Program,” said Garry Wasylowski, board chair, Manitoba Association of Watersheds. “Through its continued investment in the program, we are pleased to welcome new municipal partners into the Northeast Red, Redboine and Pembina Valley watershed districts. We want to acknowledge and thank all of our municipal partners for their continued support of effective, collaborative and sustainable watershed management throughout Manitoba.”
Watershed districts are partnerships between the Manitoba government and local municipalities to protect, restore and manage water resources. Fourteen watershed districts are established under the authority of the Watershed Districts Act and are charged with developing and implementing programming to improve watershed health.
Watershed district expansion supports the strategic objectives of Manitoba’s new provincial water management strategy.
To read more about the Watershed Districts Program, visit www.manitobawatersheds.ca