Water News

Young Innovators: Student studies dams to stop algal blooms
Saskatoon StarPhoenix | December 26, 2015

In the wild, nothing seems to frighten Raea Gooding. She once ran for her life from an angry elephant in Nepal, and she has been meters away from polar bears on the tundra.

“None of these things scare me as much as the degradation of our water sources right here, right now,” said Gooding, who recently completed a master’s project at the University of Saskatchewan on improving the water quality of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. Read more


Province creating two new provincial parks
MyToba | December 22, 2015

The Province of Manitoba has announced the creation of two new provincial parks; Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park and Kinwow Bay Provincial Park. Both will include lands next to their namesake bays on Lake Winnipeg.

Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park will include 14,500 hectares of land to protect spawning grounds for fish, moose habitat, forests of trembling aspen, white spruce, jack pine, a black spruce muskeg and some low-lying areas of string bogs. Kinwow Bay Provincial Park will be slightly smaller at 8,400 hectares of land and will protect habitat for moose, stands of birch, willow and marshlands next to the shore, black spruce bogs, stands of tamarack and isolated areas of treeless muskeg. Read more


Winnipeg’s drinking water is vulnerable to zebra mussels, experts say
CBC News | November 18, 2015

Some zebra mussel experts say Shoal Lake is ripe for an infestation of the invasive water pest, even though they applaud the city for being proactive with plans to keep the mussels out of Winnipeg’s drinking water.

Experimental Lakes Area research scientist Scott Higgins says a number of factors govern the potential for a zebra mussel infestation. Read more


Manitoba First Province to Sign Right to Healthy Environment Declaration Championed by Dr. David Suzuki
Wire Service | October 16, 2015

The Manitoba government will invest $400,000 over the next two years in the new Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg, Premier Greg Selinger announced today, adding that Manitoba also becomes the first Canadian province to sign the Blue Dot Declaration put forward by the David Suzuki Foundation, which demonstrates the province’s commitment to a healthy environment for all Manitobans. Read more


Shoal Lake 40 bringing case to United Nations after decades under boil-water advisory
CTV News | October 5, 2015

A reserve cut off from the mainland and under a boil-water advisory for almost two decades is taking its case to the United Nations.

Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, which straddles the Manitoba-Ontario boundary, became isolated a century ago during construction of an aqueduct which carries water to Winnipeg. The reserve has no all-weather road and has been without clean water for 17 years. Read more


Winnipeg, parts of southern Manitoba clean up from stormy Saturday
CBC News | August 22, 2015

People in south-central and southeastern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, are cleaning up from a thunderstorm that rolled through the area on Saturday, flooding roads and some buildings.

Winnipeg saw 30 to 60 millimetres of rain in some areas during the noon-hour storm, says Environment Canada meteorologist Maxime Desharnais. Read more

Hailstorm, flash flooding slam Calgary, knocks out power to 20k customers
CBC News | August 4, 2015

The power went out in neighbourhoods across Calgary after the city was slammed by hail as a severe thunderstorm passed through on Tuesday afternoon.

As many as 20,000 customers in many parts of Calgary were without power in the early evening “due to adverse weather conditions,” Enmax said. Power was restored to all but a handful of districts in southeast Calgary by 9 p.m. ​ Read more

Campaign to help isolated Shoal Lake 40 First Nation intensifies
Global News | July 9, 2015

The campaign to help an isolated reserve that has been without clean water for almost two decades is intensifying as churches and musicians join leaders of Canada’s opposition parties in a call for action.

Shoal Lake 40 First Nation — which straddles the Ontario-Manitoba boundary — was cut off from the mainland a century ago when an aqueduct was built to supply fresh water to Winnipeg. The reserve has no all-weather road and has been under one of the longest boil-water advisories in Canada. Read more


Lake St. Martin starts rebuilding 4 years after massive flood
Global News | June 22, 2015

Lake St. Martin residents are one step closer to returning home four years after a devastating flood destroyed their community.

On Monday, the community announced a $300-million plan to rebuild the First Nation located 225 kilometres north of Winnipeg in Manitoba’s Interlake region. Read more


Cleaning Lake Winnipeg 3 tonnes at a time
Winnipeg Free Press | June 15, 2015

It has all the intricacies of a jail break, for phosphorus to travel from a little wetland near Holland into Lake Winnipeg.

First, phosphorus runs into Pelly’s Lake, which empties into the Boyne River, which drains into the Norquay Channel, a man-made channel from Carman to Brunkild. The water direction is mostly northeast to this point. Read more


Lake of the Woods outflow to increase
Kenora Daily, Miner and News | June 11, 2015

The Lake of the Woods Control Board authorized another outflow increase from the Norman Dam in Kenora on Friday, June 6, 2014. It was the second increase in as many weeks and the added inflow from the lake will raise the level of the Winnipeg River below the dam by 11 cm. and raise the Winnipeg River level at Minaki by 7 cm. Read more


Antifreeze flowing in creek beside popular recreation trail
CTV Winnipeg | May 4, 2015

CTV has uncovered antifreeze in a creek in North Kildonan.

Bunn’s Creek, which runs alongside the Bunn’s Creek Trail, has an unknown quantity of antifreeze flowing through the waterway. Read more


Shoal Lake struggles with broken ferry, declares state of emergency
Winnipeg Free Press | May 30, 2015

The last link for the people of Shoal Lake 40 just broke down, raising the urgency for construction of a permanent road link to the First Nation.

An aging ferry that connects Shoal Lake 40 to the mainland was pulled out of the water last week, after a routine inspection determined that wear and tear on the hull had reached a point where it was no longer safe to float. Read more


Scathing report on health of Canada’s waters accuses Ottawa of willful negligence
Toronto Star | March 24, 2015

Canada is taking its vast freshwater resources for granted, wrecking them in the process, says a scathing new report.

Titled Blue Betrayal, it also warns that climate change; industrial farming; melting glaciers; oil, gas and mineral extraction; and dumping of waste — sometimes toxic waste — into our waterways are all growing threats to our diminishing water supplies. Read more


Lake Winnipeg Foundation joins Lake Friendly Accord
Winnipeg Free Press | March 20, 2015

The Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) is the latest signatory to the pact, which first came together when the provincial government and the South Basin Mayors and Reeves joined forces to examine Manitoba’s water issues. The goal of the accord, and the subsequent Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance, is to improve water quality by reducing nutrients and farmland runoff into Manitoba rivers and lakes. Read more


Manitoba ramps up for flood fight as snow, ice melt
Global News | March 20, 2015

Preparations for the spring flood season in Manitoba are well underway as the province has thawed out over the past couple of weeks.

The Portage Diversion is ready to open in the next few days, the Amphibex fleet has finished breaking 29 kilometres of Red River ice and flows out of to the Fairford Control Structure have been reduced, the province said in news releases Thursday. Read more


Winnipeg researcher tapping into cattails for energy and helping lake to heal
CTV News | March 3, 2015

An energy industry fueled by an environmental problem – a Winnipeg researcher is tapping in to the power of cattails. The researcher said harvesting them to help heal a lake has created a new type of fuel. Read more


A Precautionary Advisory Issued for City of Winnipeg Tap Water
City of Winnipeg | January 27, 2015


The Medical Officer of Health, Manitoba Health and the Office of Drinking Water have issued a precautionary localized boil water advisory for some parts of the City of Winnipeg. In an abundance of caution, the City of Winnipeg has decided to proactively issue a precautionary boil water advisory for the entire City of Winnipeg. Read More


Minnesota signs on to protect Lake Winnipeg
Winnipeg Free Press | January 21, 2015

Minnesota has become the first U.S. state to sign a Manitoba-initiated accord to protect Lake Winnipeg.

The provincial government announced the state’s commitment as the International Red River Basin Commission kicked off a three-day conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday. Read more


Challenging landscape Expert talks about environmental demands facing Manitoba
Winnipeg Free Press | January 17, 2015

Best known for saving the Experimental Lake Area, the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development was also among the first think-tanks with a global reach to paint the economy green.

We sat down with Henry David Venema, IISD’s chief scientist and vice-president for business development, to talk about environmental challenges facing Manitoba. Read more


Teamwork needed on climate change
Winnipeg Free Press | November 25, 2014

There are many obstacles facing those working on the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative. Their determination to come up with a plan to address land and water issues within the basin should be welcomed by all, but the biggest barrier is the poor record of co-operation among all affected governments over the past decade. Read more


Big Grass Marsh gets largest-ever conservation deal
Winnipeg Free Press | November 26, 2014

MANITOBA is entering the largest conservation agreement in its history to protect 18,211 hectares that make up the Big Grass Marsh. The province will announce today a deal to protect Manitoba’s third-largest wetland, a staging area for more than 100 species of birds, in a deal struck with the RMs of Lakeview and Westbourne. The Big Grass Marsh is on the west side of Lake Manitoba and harbours up to 200,000 geese annually and numerous other birds such as sandhill cranes. Read more


Museum eyes band’s complaint about water
Winnipeg Free Press | November 21, 2014

Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky is excited his First Nation and the museum are working together to highlight issues surrounding Winnipeg’s aqueduct. Photo Store

THE story of Shoal Lake 40 and Winnipeg’s water supply is headed for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Read more

Mayoral forum focused on environmental issues draws large crowd
Winnipeg Free Press | September 30, 2014

They leaned on windowsills, sat on the floor and peppered the candidates with questions about oil pipelines, beverage container deposits and electric buses.

Environmentalists packed a Wellington Crescent church Tuesday night for the latest in a string of mayoral forums, this one often dominated by technical questions that occasionally stumped the candidates. Read more

Drinking water contaminated by excreted drugs a growing concern

CBC News | September 22, 2014

If we’re taking it, we’re also drinking it: painkillers, blood thinners, hormones, chemotherapy agents, even cocaine and amphetamines.

Whatever goes into us, also comes out of us, through our own biological effluent, every time we flush the toilet. The excreted drugs pass right through most sewage treatment processes and end up in rivers and lakes, and then in our drinking water. Read more


Fisherman mad, disappointed zebra mussels found in Lake Winnipeg
CBC News | August 11, 2014

Zebra mussels were found for the first time in Manitoba last October, and province began treating several harbours with potash to get rid of them.

Despite initial success, there are now a small number of the larval mussels in Lake Winnipeg, said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh.


Walk to save Lake Winnipeg passes 800 km mark
CTV Winnipeg | August 4, 2014

A group of Manitoban women are walking around Lake Winnipeg to raise awareness about water quality.

Katherine Sinclair was shocked to learn that Lake Winnipeg was named the most threatened lake of 2013 by Global Nature Fund. She decided to take action and organized the Lake Winnipeg Water Walk. Read more


Dikes hold during Assiniboine River crest
Winnipeg Free Press | July 10, 2014

The worst of this summer’s flooding is passing down the Assiniboine River with a cautious optimism settling in — for now.

At a noon briefing, provincial officials said the crest on the Assiniboine River at the Portage Reservoir crested at midnight last night at 52,100 cubic feet per second (cfs). Read more


Province unveils new surface water management strategy
Winnipeg Free Press | June 11, 2014

The Selinger government’s proposed plan to clean up Lake Winnipeg, and protect against a drought, includes tapping into its $5.5-billion infrastructure renewal plan.

The government says the $320 million set aside for flood protection and water control works will include surface water management projects, including tighter rules on agriculture drainage and developing water retention ponds to hold more excess water on the land. Read more


Anti-flood projects include ripping up city asphalt to allow water run-off
CTV News | June 4, 2014

OTTAWA – They paved paradise, and put up a flood zone.

Five cities across Canada will see some of their asphalt torn up and replaced with porous brick and gravel this summer to help mitigate the flash flooding that frequently follows extreme rainfall. Read more


Property owners fear repeat of 2011 flood
Winnipeg Free Press | May 31, 2014

It’s a conversation being heard all around Lake Manitoba this weekend — is history repeating itself?

All eyes are on the Portage Diversion and how much water the province is pushing through it from the still-swollen Assiniboine River into Lake Manitoba, now approaching official flood stage, just like it did during the disastrous 2011 flood. Three years ago, hundreds of properties around the lake were destroyed by high water and punishing waves. Read more


Timing critical in province’s zebra mussels battle
Winnipeg Sun | June 1, 2014

All signs point to success so far in the province’s attack on zebra mussels.

It’s been just over a week since the province descended upon Winnipeg Beach to pump its first batch of potash in an attack on the pervasive creatures.

So far, they are on schedule and beginning to see positive results, the coordinator of the project said. Read more

Eyes on Manitoba as it tries to blast zebra mussels in unique experiment

CTV News | May 11, 2014

They are small clam-like creatures that seem to spread in the blink of an eye and squeeze the life out of the rivers and lakes they inhabit.

This summer, those who grapple with zebra mussels will be watching Manitoba, where officials are trying to stop an invasion with a unique experiment. Read more

Farm reservoir keeps nutrients away from lake
Winnipeg Free Press | May 10, 2014

If every farmer did like Carl Classen, we might not be fretting about the future of Lake Winnipeg.

Classen has dug an on-farm reservoir to hold back drainage from his farm. That means nutrient-rich water runoff doesn’t flow into public ditches and ultimately Lake Winnipeg. Read more

Meet The Guy Who Just Went A Year Without Showering (And Isn’t Stopping)

Buzzfeed | April 30, 2014

San Diego resident Rob Greenfield just reached his goal of going a year without showering. And, surprisingly, he says it wasn’t that hard.

The founder of an environmentally friendly marketing company, Greenfield started his project with a bike ride across America. Read more

Rural Manitoba homes evacuated as Netley Creek flood waters rise
Global News | April 23, 2014

Homes in the rural municipality of St. Andrews were evacuated early Wednesday as an ice jam caused water to rise on Netley Creek.

About 35 Jenny Drive residents were told to leave their homes, said Darcy Hardman, the emergency co-ordinator for the rural municipality of St. Andrews. Read more

Red River crests in Winnipeg

CBC News | April 22, 2014

The Red River is receding in Winnipeg after cresting a little higher than expected on Tuesday.

It crept up quickly, jumping from 17.45 feet James on Monday morning to 19.17 feet James at its peak at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

MIKE HOLMES: Be water smart

Winnipeg Free Press | April 5, 2014

Earth has a limited amount of water. That means we have to learn to make it last for everyone, because it can’t be replaced.

World Water Day was March 22. Why should we care about World Water Day? Because in some parts of the world, we’re using water faster than it can be replaced, and this is having a massive impact not just on our water supplies, but also on our food and sources of energy. Read more

Optimism high after research site rescued

Winnipeg Free Press | April 3, 2014

With the Experimental Lakes Area saved, the Winnipeg institute that swung the deal to preserve it now faces an even tougher task.

It’s up to the International Institute for Sustainable Development to put together a team of scientists to steer the future of research at the world-famous site. Read more

A place to shower, fill ‘er up
Winnipeg Free Press | March 17, 2014

Marcelino Robles has a new appreciation for water and won’t be taking it for granted when it starts to flow into his house again. Whenever that is.

The West End resident, whose pipes have been frozen for a week, filled up a number of large water jugs at the Cindy Klassen Recreation Centre Sunday afternoon to take home so his family of five can cook, clean and flush the toilet. Read more

Green streets: Function or frill?

Portland Tribune | February 27, 2014

It’s hard to miss all those mini-gardens popping up everywhere on Portland’s east-side streets, covering up the blacktop.

Some motorists curse the concrete-encased plantings — called bioswales — for gobbling up parking spaces or slowing traffic. Others wonder if they’re another example of improper spending by city utilities at customers’ expense. Read more


Report blames manganese for turning Winnipeg water brown
CBC News | January 30, 2014

Excess levels of manganese are being blamed for causing brown water to flow from some Winnipeg taps.

An independent report released Thursday blamed the naturally-occurring metal, which is found in groundwater, while city officials stressed there are no health issues. Read more

CEC could challenge ‘clean’ hydro mantra
Winnipeg Free Press | January 27, 2014

Earlier this month, the Clean Environment Commission concluded three months of numbingly detailed and occasionally passion-sparked hearings into the proposed Keeyask Dam. Read more

Where to put 13,500 tonnes of sewage sludge?
Winnipeg Free Press | January 14, 2014

That question, as well as a host of conversation topics around the subject of biosolids, will be discussed at a public meeting at the Manitoba Children’s Museum at The Forks this evening.

Undersea Freshwater Reserves Could Quench the World’s Thirst for Decades

Discover | December 6, 2013

Freshwater is fast becoming a scarce resource as our global population swells. Some say World War III will be fought over access to it. But newfound reserves of freshwater under the sea may represent a vast source that has been previously overlooked. Read more

Water prices a fracking big deal

The Province | October 26, 2013

Critics are raising alarms that oil and gas companies are getting a “free ride” from the provincial government for the billions of litres of water used in fracking operations every year. Read more

Parts of southeast Winnipeg under boil-water advisory

Winnipeg Free Press | October 9, 2013

A boil-water advisory has been issued by Manitoba Health for parts of Winnipeg and north of the Perimeter Highway.

Areas south of Bishop Grandin Boulevard to the Perimeter, and east of the Red River to the Seine River are under the advisory, said Winnipeg Regional Health Authority spokeswoman Heidi Graham Tuesday night. Read more

Averting water wars in the future

Live Mint & the Wall Street Journal | October 7, 2013

In an increasingly water-stressed world, shared water resources are becoming an instrument of power, fostering competition within and between nations. The struggle for water is escalating political tensions and exacerbating impacts on ecosystems. This week’s Budapest World Water Summit is the latest initiative in the search for ways to mitigate the pressing challenges. Read more

No water, no beer: brewers race to save the ales
NBC News | September 3, 2013

As water becomes increasingly scarce on our ever more crowded and warming planet, brewers of beer are racing to secure a steady supply of their most prized ingredient by using less of it.

“Without water, there is no beer,” Kim Marotta, the sustainability director for MillerCoors, the Chicago-based joint venture of international brewing giants SABMiller and Molson Coors, told NBC News. Read more

Interim funding rescues ELA

Winnipeg Free Press | September 3, 2013

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger says he hopes a final deal to transfer responsibility of the Experimental Lakes Area to the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development will be forthcoming in about half a year.

But in the meantime, Manitoba and Ontario have stepped forward with interim funding as part of their plan to keep the world-renowned water research facility open until that final arrangement materializes. Read more

Saskatchewan begins consultations of agricultural drainage
Manitoba Co-operator | August 21, 2013

The Saskatchewan government is asking citizens for their views on agricultural drainage through an online forum running Sept. 1 to March 31, 2014.

“We’re looking for input and opinions because drainage has been an issue for a while and the 25-year plan (for water management) identified it as an area of concern to be addressed,” Patrick Boyle, a spokesman for Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency said in an interview. Read more

Farmers Fight Back Against Toxic Algal Blooms
Quest – Exploring Science of Sustainability | August 8, 2013

Lakes are an important source of drinking water and tourism dollars in many places across the country. That’s why late summer toxic algal blooms are more than just an eyesore — they’re a threat to public health, the economy, and the ecosystem.

Nutrient runoff from farms is often a big driver of these harmful blooms. Now a group of Ohio scientists is trying to figure out how to keep nutrients on the farm and out of Lake Erie. Read more

Scientist miffed Tory MP takes credit for saving ELA

Winnipeg Free Press | August 8, 2013

SUPPORTERS of the Experimental Lakes Area are fuming at a new flyer from Winnipeg Conservative MP Joyce Bateman that takes credit for solving a problem her government created.

The flyer, which arrived in mailboxes late last week, offers an update on the Harper government’s plans to turn over control of the world-class freshwater research station to a Winnipeg-based environmental think-tank, the International Institute for Sustainable Development.Read more

Cattails could help restore Lake Winnipeg
CBC News | July 27, 2013

A team of researchers in Winnipeg hopes a simple plant can begin to restore health to Lake Winnipeg.

“Cattails are like the workhorses of wetland systems,” Lisette Ross, a senior wetlands specialist with Native Plant Solutions, told CBC News. “They need phosphorus and nitrogen to grow.” Read more

Calgary floods spotlight cities’ costly failure to plan for climate change
CBC News | Jun 28, 2013

Many Canadian cities and towns are ill-prepared for the rising frequency of catastrophic weather events like the southern Alberta floods, and it’s a problem that taxpayers will ultimately end up paying for, climate change experts say. Read more

‘Water Wednesdays’ in Winnipeg focus on protection
CBC News | Jul 3, 2013

First Nations activists in Winnipeg held a traditional water ceremony on Wednesday to highlight the importance of protecting clean water.

The afternoon ceremony at Memorial Park launched “Water Wednesdays,” a nine-week art project that will draw attention to what organizers say is the federal government’s “reckless stewardship of our water resources.” Read more

Province weeds out synthetic pesticides
Winnipeg Free Press | June 29, 2013

Manitoba will join several other Canadian jurisdictions in banning the sale and use of synthetic pesticides on lawns, playgrounds and schoolyards.

Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said Friday the prime motivation for the measure is the protection of children. Read more

Slow the flow… save the lake

Winnipeg Free Press | June 9, 2013

If you listen to the Selinger government’s latest plan to aid Lake Winnipeg, money has the power to scrub phosphorus from the water of Manitoba’s largest lake.

On Thursday, the province announced a new “Lake Friendly Accord” intended to leverage $1 billion worth of investment into ways to improve the ecological state of the vast Lake Winnipeg watershed, which stretches from the Rocky Mountains in the west down to the edge of South Dakota and then east into Canadian Shield between Atikokan and Thunder Bay. Read more

River is CentrePort’s water fix

Winnipeg Free Press | June 5, 2013

CENTREPORT Canada plans to draw water from the Assiniboine River to work around a First Nations legal challenge that had stalled the development of the international trade hub on the northwest edge of Winnipeg. Read more

Manitoba sues flooded-out First Nations

CBC | May 31, 2013

The Manitoba government is suing several First Nations that were hardest hit by the 2011 flood, responding to a $950-million potential class-action lawsuit with legal action of its own.

In a statement of defence filed on April 17, the provincial government denies responsibility for damages arising from severe flooding in the spring of 2011. Read more

Harper government eliminated reviews for oilsands projects following warnings of water disruption

Postmedia News | May 28, 2013

OTTAWA — The federal government removed some oilsands projects from a list of those requiring environmental screenings, after being told in an internal memorandum that this form of industrial development could disturb water sources and harm fish habitat. Read more

New units to help keep invasive aquatic species out of province
Winnipeg Free Press | May 22, 2013

Two new high-heat, high-pressure mobile boat decontamination units will travel the province this summer in an attempt to reduce the chances of invasive aquatic species entering Manitoba.

The two units will be based mostly at the Emerson border crossing and the Ontario-Manitoba boundary, but will also be seen at fishing tournaments and other summer events, the province said today. Read more

World’s oldest flowing water found deep in Timmins mine
CBC News | May 15, 2013

Water found in a deep, isolated reservoir in Timmins, Ont., has been trapped there for 1.5 billion to 2.64 billion years — since around the time the first multicellular life arose on the planet — Canadian and British scientists say. Read more

Manitoba rancher’s livestock perish in flash flood

CBC | May 13, 2013

A Manitoba livestock farmer says she’s still struggling to recover from flash flooding on her land that killed a dozen of her animals late last month. Karen Von Bargen, who farms near Gilbert Plains, Man., with her husband, Craig, said the overland flooding on April 28 caught them by surprise. Read more

Manitoba’s CentrePort in the Midst of Water Dispute
Water Canada | May 6, 2013

For several years, the City of Winnipeg, the Rural Municipality of Rosser, and the Province of Manitoba have been struggling over the question of how to extend water piping into the CentrePort development, which straddles the border between Winnipeg and Rosser. In 2011, the province, city, and rural municipality announced a $17-million agreement with CentrePort for the development of a large scale industrial park, which would need to be hooked up to Winnipeg’s water system. Read more

Manitoba announces $12 million for municipal water infrastructure
DCN News Services | April 29, 2013

NEEPAWA, MAN. — Manitoba has launched a three-year, $12-million Municipal Water Infrastructure Fund for water and waste-water projects in communities around Manitoba.

“This fund will help us move forward on projects that will help protect our lakes and rivers, and reduce the amount of nutrients entering our waterways, which is critical to saving Lake Winnipeg,” said Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux. Read more

Ontario steps in to help save ELA

Winnipeg Free Press | April 24, 2013

OTTAWA — The Ontario government is stepping in with cash to save the Experimental Lakes Area.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said her government is negotiating with Ottawa, Manitoba and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, to get the “critical” scientific research program back on its feet. Read more

Watershed down: Flooding, climate change, agriculture continue to wreak havoc on Lake Winnipeg

Winnipeg Free Press | April 20, 2013

When Lake Winnipeg was named 2013’s threatened lake of the year, scientists muttered: “I told you so.”

“It really was no surprise to me,” said University of Manitoba research scientist Greg McCullough. “The condition in Lake Winnipeg is far more serious than any of the other large lakes in the world.”  Read more

Cold weather and more snow aggravate flood risk in Manitoba
Global Winnipeg | April 10, 2013

WINNIPEG: Stubborn winter-like weather that has so far refused to end is adding to flood worries in Manitoba.

This year’s delayed thaw means the snow is likely to melt suddenly when warm temperatures finally arrive, which could be accompanied by spring storms.

“There is potential for mixed rain with snowfall, as well as a rapid snow melt,” Phillip Mutulu, the government’s chief flood forecaster, said Wednesday as he released the third flood outlook of the year. Read more

Alberta officials test for contaminants after Suncor plant leaks waste water

The Globe and Mail | March 26, 2013

Officials from Suncor Energy Inc. and Alberta Environment are scrambling to test for contaminants after the discovery Monday that industrial waste water from the oil sands giant’s base plant was leaking from a ruptured pipe into a pond close to the Athabasca River. Read more

No peat mines in provincial parks

Winnipeg Free Press | February 23, 2013

Manitoba is banning peat mining in provincial parks as well as in a region east of Lake Winnipeg that’s been nominated as a UNESCO world heritage site.

The ban means Sun Gro Horticulture Canada, which had applied to extract peat in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, will be prohibited from developing its long-held leases in the park. Read more

Manitoba’s water bodies threatened, forum hears

Winnipeg Free Press | February 11, 2013

A gurgling baby gently shushed by his mom at a packed meeting may have plenty to cry about when he grows up, a panel of environmental experts warned a standing-room only crowd in Winnipeg on Sunday.

Growing water pollution woes in Manitoba and eroding federal protection of the environment could leave irreparable damage for future generations to face, the Save Lake Winnipeg forum heard at River Heights Community Centre. Read more

Water Is Everyone’s Business As World Population Tops Seven Billion

Worldcrunch | February 10, 2013

SANTIAGO – As the world’s population grows, the demand for drinkable water grows with it. By 2050, it is projected that one billion people will not have full access to this fundamental resource.

Recent statistics and projections from the United Nations are cause for real concern. In 2050, the global population, which is now beyond seven billion inhabitants, should reach 10 billion, with a predicted 10% of them — at current rates of access — who will be shut off from proper drinking water. Read more

Greenpeace leaks draft Arctic Council oil spill treaty

Eye on the Arctic | February 6, 2013

Greenpeace Canada has obtained a draft of the Arctic Council’s Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution that officials have claimed is genuine. In a press release on Greenpeace’s website, Christy Ferguson, Arctic project leader for Greenpeace Canada, called the 21-page agreement “effectively useless.” She stated Read more

Lead found in Brandon water

Brandon Sun | February 7, 2013

Thousands of Brandon homes may be getting city water contaminated with lead.

The city released the information at a hastily-organized press conference today, saying that the drinking water in up to 3,600 households may be contaminated with lead. Health Canada says that long-term exposure to lead has been linked to poor intellectual development, kidney problems and hearing, among other things. Read more

Lake Winnipeg most threatened in world in 2013

CBC News | February 2, 2013

Lake Winnipeg has earned a disturbing new title from the Global Nature Fund (GNF), as the Threatened Lake of 2013. “That this huge Canadian lake is faced with problems similar to those of lakes in more densely populated countries is hard to believe,” stated the organization, which is based in Berlin, Germany. Read more

Idea of copper mine in park angers environmentalists

Winnipeg Free Press | February 2, 2013

A local environmental group blasted the province Friday for considering a copper mine in Grass River Provincial Park.

But Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said the new mine, to be established on a mine-exploration site, is a recognition of the value of the mining industry in the province and will be subject to a strict environmental review before any approval. Read more

Water Demand for Energy to Double by 2035

National Geographic | January 30, 2013

The amount of fresh water consumed for world energy production is on track to double within the next 25 years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects.

And even though fracking—high-pressure hydraulic fracturing of underground rock formations for natural gas and oil—might grab headlines, IEA sees its future impact as relatively small. Read more

Province gives Lake Winnipeg programs $600,000

Winnipeg Free Press | January 21, 2013

Projects aimed at cleaning up Lake Winnipeg got a $600,000 shot in the arm today from the Selinger government. Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said the goal of each of the programs is to reduce the amount of algae-producing nutrients entering the lake.

Lake Friendly will get funding of more than $75,000 for its ongoing public awareness campaign telling Manitobans on how they can reduce the amount of phosphorus and other contaminants from entering the lake’s watershed. Tips include reducing the amount of vegetable waste disposed through a home kitchen garburator, installing a holding tank at the cottage and cleaning up after pets. Read more

Lake Winnipeg nominated for ‘Threatened Lake of the Year, 2013’ award
Winnipeg Free Press | January 10, 2013

Lake Winnipeg is in the running for ‘Threatened Lake of the Year, 2013,’ according to Global Nature Fund.

The organization said in a release today the Lake Winnipeg nomination was made by affiliate Living Lakes Canada. Global Nature Fund chooses the most-threatened lake in the world annually. Read more

Wilderness Committee seeks peat mining ban

Winnipeg Free Press | January 9, 2013

A local environmental group is seeking a ban on peat mining in Manitoba.

This morning, the Wilderness Committee will deliver more than 830 letters to Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh backing its cause. The group said thousands of Manitobans have also contacted the government, objecting to a planned peat strip mine in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. The province has been reviewing the park mine proposal for at least a year. Read more

Oil sands development polluting Alberta lakes: study

Globe and Mail | January 7, 2013

Oil-sands development is polluting nearby remote Alberta lakes with rising levels of a toxic carcinogen, refuting long-standing claims that waterway pollution in the region is largely naturally occurring, a study has found. Read more

Sewage plant upgrade on hold – North End treatment facility big phosphorus polluter

Winnipeg Free Press | November 26, 2012

Winnipeg plans to delay upgrades to its largest sewage-treatment plant for another year despite new data that shows the facility remains among the nation’s worst for phosphorus pollution.

Preliminary 2011 emissions data from the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) released late last week show the city’s North End Water Pollution Control Centre dumped 205 tonnes of phosphorus into Winnipeg waterways last year, down from the 247 tonnes it released the previous year. Data show the Winnipeg plant remained the fourth-largest phosphorus polluter of any industrial facility in the country, behind sewage-treatment plants in Vancouver and Montreal. Read more

After federal changes to waterways rules, 90 per cent of protected lakes lap on Conservative shores
Ottawa Citizen | October 29, 2012

OTTAWA — The vast majority of lakes that retain federal protection under the government’s proposed changes to waterway rules lap up against ridings held by Conservative MPs.

While revisions to the Navigable Waters Protection Act has stripped federal oversight from thousands of Canadian waterways, 90 per cent of the lakes that will still be designated as protected are in Tory territory, a Citizen analysis shows.

By contrast, only 20 per cent of the designated lakes, itemized in the second omnibus budget bill, are in ridings held by New Democrats. Only six per cent splash on Liberal shores. Read more

Safeguards for water, fish and human health bulldozed by Omnibus 2 say environmental lawyers
West Coast Environmental Law | October 19, 2012

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA  – The federal government has repeated its anti-democratic and draconian tactics of Spring 2012 by introducing an omnibus bill that goes far beyond what is justifiable in an actual budget bill –compromising safeguards for the environment and human health without proper study and debate.

Along with over 30 other pieces of legislation, Bill C-45 again takes aim at the Navigable Waters Protection Act (now the Navigation Protection Act) and the Fisheries Act. Once used to steward a sustainable environment, clean water and healthy oceans, these foundational Canadian laws continue to be rewritten to give oil companies an easier ride. Read more

New Zealand’s Whanganui River Gains A Legal Voice
Huffington Post | September 18, 2012

If corporations are people now, why can’t rivers be?

Under a landmark agreement, signed in New Zealand earlier this summer, the Whanganui River has become a legal entity with a legal voice.

The agreement is the result of over a hundred years of advocacy by the Whanganui iwi, an indigenous community with a long history of reliance on the river and its bountiful natural resources.

The Whanganui, the third longest river in New Zealand, will be recognized as a person under the law “in the same way a company is, which will give it rights and interests,” Christopher Finlayson, a spokesperson for the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, told the New Zealand Herald. Read more

Feds don’t want ELA closed: Tories
Winnipeg Free Press | September 18, 2012

OTTAWA — Just as Ottawa is looking at what it would take to shut down the Experimental Lakes Area, Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent told the House of Commons Monday his government does not want to see the ELA actually close.

“We have made it very clear to all stakeholders and interested parties that the intent is not to close the Experimental Lakes Area,” Kent said. “Environment Canada will assist the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in finding a suitable organization or a consortium to manage operations so that research by the academic community can continue.” Read more

Manitoba, Alberta lakes surveyed have high levels of toxin

CBC | August 14, 2012

A survey of more than 250 lakes across Canada has found a potent liver toxin in every province, with the highest concentrations in central Alberta and southern Manitoba. The survey published in a scientific journal has found the toxin in certain types of blue-green algae. The toxin, called microcystin, is found in lakes heavily loaded with nutrients from agricultural runoff and development.The survey found nearly 10 per cent of the 256 lakes surveyed had microcystin levels that exceeded Canadian guidelines even for recreational use. Read more

Feds to spend $18M on Lake Winnipeg cleanup: Harper

Winnipeg Free Press | August 2, 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today $18 million in funding to clean up Lake Winnipeg.

“We are leaving our bit of the world a better place,” he said at a press conference in Gimli, Man., on a hotel on the shore of the lake. The funding is for the second phase of the Lake Winnipeg cleanup initiative that began in 2006. For every dollar Ottawa spends, the province and other partners in the cleanup pitch in $2, he said.

Funding for the cleanup was due to end this year, but Harper is committing federal support for another five years. Read more

Water, anger on the rise in Westman
Winnipeg Free Press | July 26, 2012

BRANDON — As the Assiniboine River continues to rise in western Manitoba, so too does the anger and anxiety of many Westman residents.

Accusations and counter-accusations over who is to blame for this summer’s flooding are slowly giving way to growing apprehension over the possibility the “high-water event” of 2011 may be repeated in the spring of 2013.

At the heart of the controversy lies the Shellmouth Dam and reservoir.

Located about 25 kilometres northwest of Russell, it was constructed for the dual purpose of protecting downstream communities from periodic high-water flows on the Assiniboine, and supplementing low-water flows on the river during dry conditions, ensuring a reliable water supply for Brandon, Portage, industrial users and farms that rely on irrigation. Read more

Peat-mining loophole irks wilderness group
Winnipeg Free Press | July 21, 2012

An environmental group is decrying the rush to mine peat in the Riverton area near Lake Winnipeg.

The Wilderness Committee said new peat-extraction proposals are continuing to pop up in the area despite a 2010 provincial ban on new quarry leases. That’s because peat-mining companies already held numerous leases before the NDP government’s Save Lake Winnipeg Act was proclaimed.

Sunterra Horticulture (Canada) Inc., recently applied for an Environment Act licence to expand its operations to the Bullhead, Little Deer Lake and Ramsay Point bogs about 40 to 80 kilometres north of Riverton. The company said it needs the new mines because its nearby Beaver Point bog is nearing the end of its productive life. Read more

Rising acidity of oceans a major threat to coral reefs
CBC News | July 8, 2012

Oceans’ rising acid levels have emerged as one of the biggest threats to coral reefs, acting as the “osteoporosis of the sea” and threatening everything from food security to tourism to livelihoods, the head of a U.S. scientific agency said Monday. The speed by which the oceans’ acid levels has risen caught scientists off guard, with the problem now considered to be climate change’s “equally evil twin,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco told The Associated Press. Read more

Ex-Fisheries directors urge Harper to reverse freshwater-research cuts

The Globe and Mail | June 22, 2012

Four former senior bureaucrats in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to reconsider the withdrawal of funding to a research centre in Northwestern Ontario that has been studying freshwater ecosystems for half a century. The four men – Burton Ayles, who was regional director-general from 1993 to 1995; Herbert Lawler, who was the regional director-general from 1973 to 1986; Paul Sutherland who was regional director-general from 1986 to 1993; and Rick Josephson who was regional director of fisheries and habitat management from 1981 to 1989 – say they are “deeply disturbed” by the potential closure of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) field station. Read more

Cleanup of latest Alberta oil spill could take all summer
The Globe and Mail | June 9, 2012

Gord Johnston’s tranquil life along the Red Deer River in central Alberta was shattered Thursday night as the nauseating scent of crude oil hung in the air and a coffee-coloured liquid lapped the banks near his home. He reported the oil leak and, within two hours, a helicopter dispatched by a local oil company landed on his 57-acre property near Sundre, Alta., to fly him over the devastating scene. Mr. Johnston, who works in the oil patch, could see oil “boiling up” in the river at the site of a pipeline crossing. Read More

Manitoba ranks low on green report card

Winnipeg Free Press | June 8, 2012

Manitoba’s place on a newly released Green Provincial Report Card is shameful. Corporate Knights, a company that focuses on clean capitalism by providing information that markets may use to develop green initiatives, released its third bi-annual Green Provincial Report Card today. Manitoba ranked 11th — with a grade of C+ — placing ahead of only Saskatchewan and Alberta. Read More

Start fighting the next flood now

Winnipeg Free Press | June 1, 2011

The flood season of 2011 is among the worst Manitoba has ever seen. Many residents are now demanding permanent solutions to our chronic flood problems.

Provincial and municipal flood officials are pouring tremendous resources into moving more water through our valleys, but the laws of physics limit the speed at which water will move across the prairie landscape. Long-term solutions to our flood woes require looking upstream. Read more