What does this mean for Manitoba?
The federal budget allocates 1.3 billion dollars over 5 years “to expand protected areas and help endangered and threatened species — a move that reflects its pledge to safeguard at least 17 per cent of Canada's land and inland waters by 2020.” What does this mean for Manitoba?
Thankfully, the Manitoba government has committed to helping Canada achieve the 17 per cent conservation target. This could transpose into the establishment of large protected areas for polar bears along Hudson Bay, which is an initiative that is already underway. It could also mean success for the upcoming process to locate areas to conserve within the Fisher Bay region on the southwest basin of Lake Winnipeg. Increased protection in this region will help safeguard wildlife habitat and maintain the area’s role in filtering excess nutrients that are plaguing our great lake. Funds earmarked to “help build Indigenous capacity to conserve lands and species” can support Indigenous led efforts to identify and protect areas of importance to nature, culture, and sustainable, low-impact economic tourism opportunities.
To date, Manitoba has protected approximately 11% of our wild lands and freshwaters. Our provincial government’s Protected Areas Initiative identifies many regions of the province that require additional protected lands so they can be labeled as “Adequately Conserved.” With federal conservation funds flowing to Manitoba and Indigenous nations,, this could be a great moment for Manitoba to accelerate its historically slow paced track record on landscape conservation. I sincerely hope that we take full advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) – Manitoba chapter