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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.

Tagging and telemetry research begins to shed light on Red River catfish travels

March 3, 2019 – Grand Forks Herald

Learning what fish do in their natural environment long has been a focus of fisheries biologists and science-minded anglers alike, and the findings from an ongoing tagging and telemetry study involving U.S. and Canadian research partners are beginning to shed light on the movements of channel catfish in the Red River Basin.

Oddly enough, the two research techniques tell very different stories—at least to this point, said Henry Hansen, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student researcher who recently published his master’s thesis, “Implications of Channel Catfish Movement in an Internationally Managed System.”

Bottom line, channel catfish fitted with special tags inserted near their dorsal fins as part of what’s known as a “mark and recapture” study have shown a knack for moving upstream. In Grand Forks alone, local catfish guide Brad Durick has reported clients catching and releasing more than 60 catfish tagged near Selkirk, Man., more than 250 river miles away.

Based on tag returns, or “recaptures,” about 30 percent of the tagged, or “marked,” catfish reported caught in the U.S. initially were tagged in Canada, Hansen said.

By comparison, catfish surgically implanted with acoustic transmitters seem to favor moving downstream or staying close to where they were fitted with the transmitters, early findings show. READ MORE.

Peace camp set up in Hollow Water First Nation to oppose sand mine project

February 21 – APTN News

A proposed silica sand mine project in Manitoba has one First Nations community divided.

Members of Hollow Water First Nation, 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg, set up Camp Morningstar, a peace camp opposing the project, after exploration began on the project.

“The teepees were erected not so much as a protest or not so much as a blockade as it is for us to come together in ceremony,” said band member Lisa Raven.

The camp was started as a way to create a safe space to share concerns over the project, said Raven. READ MORE.

Winnipeg holds off on water and sewer rate hike in bid to gain more dollars from Ottawa, Manitoba

February 19, 2019 – CBC

Winnipeg is holding off on a proposed water-and-sewer rate hike this year as a gambit to pry more sewage-treatment money out of the provincial and federal governments.

On Tuesday, city council’s executive policy committee voted to hold off on a 4.7-per-cent rate hike that would have added $61 to the average annual household water-and-sewer bill.

The move was aimed at socking away more money for billions of dollars worth of sewage-treatment upgrades, including $1.8 billion worth of projects at the North End Water Pollution Control Centre, the largest of the city’s three sewage-treatment plants. READ MORE.