Progress Well Underway to Implement Recommendations of Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board: Melnick

The Honourable Christine Melnick
The Honourable Christine Melnick

Reports by Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba Stewardship Boards Released 

Two years after the release of the Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board’s final report containing 135 recommendations for action, the board has evaluated the progress made by the Government of Manitoba in implementing the recommendations, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick said today, as she released the board’s progress report. 

“The board has recognized the tremendous challenge associated with implementing these 135 recommendations and has acknowledged the work of the province in making progress towards reducing nutrient loading,” said Melnick. 

The progress report said the province has demonstrated good progress on the majority of the 135 recommendations including:

  • recognizing the priority on reducing nutrients from waste-water effluents;
  • passing first-in-Canada legislation to virtually eliminate the phosphorus content in household automatic dishwasher detergent and to eliminate the application of fertilizers in buffer zones along waterways;
  • providing ongoing investment to research in and around Lake Winnipeg including support for the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium and the research ship Namao;
  • launching a public education campaign in conjunction with the south basin reeves and mayors promoting lake-friendly products that minimize impact to Lake Winnipeg;
  • implementing stronger measures and additional resources for licensing drainage projects and improving drain maintenance across the province; and
  • initiating work to restore and protect critical wetlands including Delta and Netley marshes. 

“Clearly the Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board’s recommendations on reducing nutrient loading to Lake Winnipeg did not sit on the shelf.  Showing strong leadership, the Manitoba government moved quickly to initiate implementation of most of the recommendations and further challenged the board to monitor progress, an indication that the deteriorating state of Lake Winnipeg is a very serious matter,” said Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board chair William Barlow. “No single entity, whether a municipal, provincial, or federal, or a non government organization can accomplish what needs to be done on its own.  There continues to be a real need to co-ordinate and implement concrete action on the landscape.”                                                                

The board’s 135 recommendations to address the health of the lake were contained in its last report to the province, released in February 2007. While not all recommendations in the board’s report were directed at the Province of Manitoba, the progress report rated the province based in part on its progress towards influencing other jurisdictions and organizations to take action.  

“The Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board’s report has provided a path forward to improve the health of the lake,” Melnick said. “Action is underway and will continue as we work to address a problem that was decades in the making. I have asked Mr. Barlow to work with stakeholders to ensure implementation continues with a focus on priority areas.” 

Melnick also recognized the work of the Lake Manitoba Stewardship Board and released its annual report for 2009.  

“I want to thank Dr. Gordon Goldsborough, chair of the Lake Manitoba Stewardship and the rest of the board for their hard work gathering information on the lake and its watershed,” she said. “I have asked the board to focus their efforts over the next year on a review of Manitoba Water Stewardship’s draft fisheries management plan for Lake Manitoba, which is currently under development, and to provide advice to me on the draft plan.” 

The Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board’s report on progress and the Lake Manitoba Stewardship Board’s annual report can be found on Manitoba Water Stewardship website at www.gov.mb.ca/waterstewardship/reports/index.html.

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