Category Archives: featured

Minnesota study raises concerns about Red River, Lake Winnipeg water quality

February 27, 2019 – CTV News

The deterioration of water quality in the U.S. portion of the Red River is taking a toll on Lake Winnipeg as well as fish and aquatic insects downstream from the Red’s headwaters, according to a new report released by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The study looked at fish and insect communities in the Red River near Breckenridge, MN north to the Canadian border.

It found there is too much sediment in places due to increased runoff which can make it more difficult for fish to find food, detect predators and reproduce.

“Climate changes have led to more rain and more storms,” the report states. “More drainage, through ditches and more recently subsurface tiling, brings much more water into the Red River.”

“Drainage increases the peak flows and intensifies the low flows. These fluctuations are hard on fish and other aquatic life. Generally speaking, fish and aquatic insect communities are doing reasonably well, but decline as you go downstream.” READ MORE.

Teens band together to help Shoal Lake

February 27, 2019 – The Winnipeg Free Press

The simple act of turning on a tap to get a cool glass of water was enough to fire up Meg Boehm and Eric Jasysyn’s idea for change.

The two students from the Seven Oaks Met School are hosting a benefit concert and fashion show Friday at 7 p.m. at the Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre to join forces with the community of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to get clean drinking water in every home.

Shoal Lake 40, located about 200 kilometres east of Winnipeg on the Manitoba-Ontario border, is the source for Winnipeg’s drinking water, but the community itself doesn’t have a water treatment plant and has been under a boil-water advisory since 1997.

Boehm and Jasysyn are mobilizing forces and resources, from their peers right up to government leaders, with their eyes on one prize: getting construction started on a long-needed water treatment plant in the community. READ MORE.

Red River’s red flags: sediment threatens fish

February 27, 2019 – The Winnipeg Free Press

The Red River is not the greatest home for fish and more can be done to make it better, Minnesota’s first comprehensive study of river water quality and fish and insect communities says.

The study, produced by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, says the Red River, which forms the border between that U.S. state and North Dakota, has places where there is so much sediment in the water, it makes it hard for fish “to find food, detect predators and reproduce in cloudy water.”

As well, the study found fish can’t go into some areas because of high bacteria counts, and levels of both phosphorus and nitrogen are increasing.

“Generally speaking, fish and aquatic insect communities are doing reasonably well, but decline as you go downstream,” the study says. “The high nutrient levels contribute to the severe algae downstream in Lake Winnipeg on the Canadian side of the basin.” READ MORE



Province Releases First Flood Outlook for 2019

February 28, 2019 – Manitoba Provincial Government News Release

Focus on Red River at This Time: Schuler

The risk of major spring flooding in the Red River Valley in 2019 is high, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said today.

“Early forecasting data shows that we expect to see major flooding along the Red River, with both the Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion pressed into service,” Schuler said. “Manitoba Infrastructure continues to gather data and work with counterparts in the United States and Saskatchewan to ensure timely information is available.”

With normal weather conditions, levels on the Red River south of the floodway are expected to be near 2011 levels.  Unfavourable weather conditions, including late season snow, spring rains and a more rapid snowmelt, would bring Red River levels comparable to the 2009 levels, which saw extended road closures of PTH 75 and other roads, and evacuations in some areas.  Water levels will be below the flood protection levels of community and individual dikes.  However, partial closure of some community dikes may be required to maintain local access.

Flows on the Assiniboine and Souris rivers are also expected to be high.  However, peak water levels will be below flood protection levels.  Flows may produce some flooding of farmland and low-lying areas.  The Shellmouth Dam will be operated to store a portion of the spring run-off, thereby reducing downstream river flows.

Manitoba’s major lakes are expected to remain within their respective operating ranges.  There is a low risk of overland flooding in the Interlake, upper Assiniboine and Whiteshell lakes areas.  The Saskatchewan River and Carrot River in northern Manitoba are at moderate risk of overland flooding.

Based on long-term weather forecasts, below-normal temperatures are expected in March and April, further delaying snowmelt, with the risk of spring rains occurring at the same time.  Manitoba Infrastructure is collecting ice thickness samples across Manitoba basins.  Ice is expected to be thicker than normal, which would increase the risk of ice-jam flooding.

“March remains a crucial month in terms of snowmelt and weather conditions, and how that will affect the flood forecast going forward,” Schuler added.  “We expect to update Manitobans with more information as updated forecast data becomes available.”

The province will also be providing more detailed information to municipal officials.  Further outlooks will be issued as updated forecast data becomes available.  More information about flooding and how to prepare for an emergency situation is available at www.gov.mb.ca/flooding.