The Government of Canada has announced new funding for the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program to be distributed over the next four years.
Lake Winnipeg generates millions of dollars of revenue through hydroelectricity, recreation, and commercial freshwater fishing. And, it’s a significant cultural, social, and economic resource to Indigenous Peoples and communities in the Lake Winnipeg Basin.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced $3.8 million in funding for 23 new projects under the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program. The Lake Winnipeg Basin Program will continue to take action to reduce excessive nutrients from entering the lake, and it will also enhance collaboration throughout the Basin and support the engagement of Indigenous Peoples on freshwater issues.
“Clean water is an essential resource for Canadians: It’s critical for our health, the environment, and the economy,” said Minister McKenna. “And the Government of Canada is pleased to work with environmental groups, Indigenous Peoples, and government partners to collaborate with communities within the Lake Winnipeg Basin and achieve tangible results to improve the overall health of the lake.”
This funding will help mitigate the excess phosphorus in Lake Winnipeg, the main cause of toxic and nuisance algae that negatively impacts water quality. Minister McKenna was joined by many of the 23 funding recipients-including the Lake Winnipeg Foundation and the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.
The Lake Winnipeg Foundation will receive $260,000, over four years, for a project that engages citizen scientists to collect, analyze, and share multi-year phosphorous data to support targeted action. The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation will receive $400,000, over two years, for wetland conservation and restoration in the Lake Winnipeg Basin. This project will include restoring 60 hectares of drained wetlands and protection for 660 hectares of intact wetlands.
The Government of Canada has invested $25.7 million in the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program, which is part of the $70.5-million funding allocated for freshwater protection in Budget 2017. The Program builds on the results of previous federal initiatives and is intended to be a more targeted approach to reduce nutrients entering Lake Winnipeg. These efforts are part of a broader Government of Canada effort to advance work on freshwater management in Canada.
“Lake Winnipeg, Canada’s other great lake, is an important resource for Manitoba’s freshwater fishery, tourism, and energy sectors,” Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South. “It is by harnessing the knowledge and expertise of all those connected to the basin that we will be able to restore the health of Lake Winnipeg, and advance water management efforts throughout Western Canada.”
Investing in the protection and conservation of our natural environment through initiatives such as the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program helps us to better adapt to climate change, strengthen our clean-growth economy, and protect freshwater resources for generations to come.