For immediate Release
March 22, 2016
On World Water Day, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is amplifying the call to save Lake Winnipeg by highlighting the fundamental need to ensure the nutrient filtration capacity of boreal forests and wetlands is a primary consideration in land use decisions within its watershed. As approximately 75% of the water that enters the lake is initially filtered through the boreal forests and wetlands of Manitoba, maintaining these ecosystems is key to meeting the provincial target of a 50% reduction in the phosphorous that plagues the lake.
“The boreal forest and its wetlands act as kidneys that greatly reduce the overdose of algae-causing nutrients damaging this beloved water body,” said Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of the Manitoba chapter of CPAWS. “If we fail to secure the health of the boreal within the Lake Winnipeg watershed, we will fail at bringing the lake back to a state that Manitobans can be proud of.”
The boreal is a highly connected ecosystem that moves water slowly across the landscape. Impacting this connectivity with infrastructure and extractive industrial ventures can negatively impact the natural water flow, which can result in an increase in nutrients that hurt the lake and consequently, the wildlife, commercial fishing industry and lake-centred tourism industry.
Polling conducted by Probe Research in 2015 demonstrates that 88% of Manitobans want the majority of the Boreal protected from industrial developments . In 2007, over 1500 scientists called on federal and provincial governments to protect the majority of the boreal or risk greatly reducing its life giving services, such as global oxygen production, clean water supply, climate mitigation, and healthy wildlife habitats.
“Ensuring the health of the boreal and restoring Lake Winnipeg should be gifts we give to ourselves and to future generations,” added Thiessen.
CPAWS would like to see all political parties running in the provincial election develop concrete plans and timelines for the restoration of Lake Winnipeg that includes stewardship of the boreal within the watershed and its vital services.
For more information and interviews:
Ron Thiessen, Executive Director
Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society – Manitoba Chapter