The Government of Manitoba tabled Bill 46: The Save Lake Winnipeg Act June 2011 to protect Lake Winnipeg from excessive nutrient loading. It is expected to pass before the end of the legislative session in summer 2011.
The act tightens rules on expanding hog farms and manure spreading, protects wetlands that filter out pollutants, and forces the City of Winnipeg to build a sewage treatment plant with a focus on phosphorus rather than nitrogen. Amendments to Manitoba's Crown Lands Act, Environment Act, Mines and Minerals Act, Planning Act, and Water Protection Act are listed in Bill 46.
The introduction of Bill 46 came two days after release of a report, led by University of Regina biologist Peter Leavitt, that blames Manitoba crop and livestock production for at least half of Lake Winnipeg's phosphorus problem. The report says phosphorus loading must quickly be addressed on the lake to avoid uncontrolled algae growth and production of deadly toxins.
The aim is to cut the amount of phosphorus in Lake Winnipeg in half, but no timeline for achieving such an objective is provided.
"I'm frankly not so sure that can be achieved. That's going to require considerable lifestyle changes on the part of pretty much everyone in the watershed," said Gordon Goldsborough, a biology professor at the University of Manitoba.
Any individual citizen, or representative of an organization, can make an oral or written submission to the Legislative Review Committee before the new legislation is passed. The Committee will sit at 6pm on June 13th, 2011 in Room 255 of the Legislative Building in Winnipeg Manitoba. If you would like to register to make a submission contact the clerk of the Manitoba Legislature at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-945-3636.
Manitoba Wildlands just completed Reality Check #13 to review the previous 2003 Lake Winnipeg Action plan. The health of the Lake Winnipeg has continued to decline. Increased toxic algae blooms continue to choke Lake Winnipeg, which has been called the "sickest lake in the world."
View June 5, 2011 Carman Valley Leader article
View June 2, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View June 2, 2011 Opinion piece by Dr. David Schindler
View June 2, 2011 CBC News article
View June 2, 2011 Canadian Press article
View June 2, 2011 Reuters article
View June 2, 2011 Government of Manitoba news release
View Bill 46: The Save Lake Winnipeg Act
View 2011 Dr. Peter Leavitt, et. Al., Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and Society (Department of Biology, University of Regina) report
View June 11, 2011 Manitoba Wildlands 2011 Reality Check
View Manitoba Wildlands Lake Winnipeg page
Government of Manitoba, Canadian Press