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Manitoba Launches Public Consultations on Watershed Planning Initiatives

Aug. 22, Provincial Government News Release:

The Manitoba government has launched public consultations on three new environmental initiatives, which will improve water management and modernize watershed planning, Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires and Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced today.

“Our government believes there are tremendous ecological opportunities to improve the future of our province through effective watershed management strategies,” said Squires.  “With the development of these watershed-based planning initiatives, our province will be better positioned to address the challenges of climate change, reduce nutrient loading in our lakes and waterways, protect against drainage and flooding, and improve water quality in partnership with landowners, stakeholders and other levels of government.”

Manitobans will be asked for input on a made-in-Manitoba program called GRowing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW), a new partnership with farmers to create ecological goods and services on the agricultural landscape.  It is based on the alternative land-use services model, originally developed in the province by Keystone Agricultural Producers and Delta Waterfowl Foundation.  It would encourage beneficial management practices like water retention, grassland restoration, wetland restoration or improved riparian area management by incenting farmers to create new environmental improvements in these areas. Read more.

Consultation documents are available at www.gov.mb.ca/sd.  Manitobans can submit comments to watershedconsult@gov.mb.ca or by mail until Oct. 6.

‘Pray for the waters’: Great Water Gathering brings Indigenous, non-Indigenous protectors together

Aug. 18, CBC News:

Aldeen Mason is a grandmother now, but she still remembers swimming in the Winnipeg River, in her home community of Sagkeeng First Nation. However, her favourite place to swim was also downstream from the local paper mill.

“Whatever they put into the waste, it went into the river and it affected us because we were downstream. And I remember when I was 10 or 11 years old, I would start getting this guck on the bottom of our feet when we went swimming; it would stick to the bottom of your soles,” said Mason.

Eventually, the pollution from the mill meant that the Mason family was no longer able to swim in the river, and were forced to fish upstream from the mill.

“We used to have a lot of sturgeon in the river and now you hardly see [them],” she said.

She remembers her father walking to the local paper mill in the 1980s to join a protest.

“Eventually that paper mill closed down. I think it’s been about 20 years now,” she said. “Sure, people complain about the loss of jobs and stuff like that. For us, that was our life.” Read more.

How Vernon RCMP volunteers are protecting us from a new threat: invasive mussels

Aug. 17, InfoTel News:

Crime prevention volunteers in Vernon are on the lookout for an intruder of a different sort: invasive mussels.

It’s not necessarily work that you would normally find RCMP volunteers doing, but Vernon’s Crime Prevention Coordinator Regan Borisenko says the threat of invasive quagga and zebra mussels is too great to stand by and do nothing.

“We are doing marine vessel safety checks anyways,” Borisenko says of their summertime work at Vernon’s Paddlewheel Park boat launch on Okanagan Lake. “Now, volunteers also look for invasive mussels on boats and trailers.”

The mollusks have been spreading across the U.S. for years and in 2013 they were discovered in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. So far, the mussels haven’t made their way into the Okanagan, but prevention is becoming more and more critical. Read more.

Manitoba experts fear N.D. water plan harmful here

Aug. 11, Winnipeg Sun:

A proposal to address drought in the U.S. by shifting water into the Red River Valley has sparked fears of invasive species and added pollution in Manitoba.

But those who support the Red River Valley Water Supply Project say it would send only treated water up to Canada and much less of it than a previous failed proposal envisioned.

The State of North Dakota has budgeted up to $30 million for the project, including $17 million for planning and permitting, and $13 million for construction, pending approvals. Duane DeKrey, general manager of the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District in North Dakota, said the project still awaits several approvals but he’s optimistic construction will be permitted. Read more.