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Pelly's Lake Project breaks ground!

Nestled in the rolling hills about four km east of Holland, Man., is the site for Pelly’s Lake Watershed Management Project.

“Not every project comes with a view like this,” said Justin Reid, Manager of the La Salle Redboine Conservation District (LSRBCD), at the site of the soon-to-be-built interpretive park.

The park overlooks 630 acres (about half the size of Assiniboine Park) of hay and pasture land that will be covered in water next spring. Pelly’s Lake will be approximately two metres deep in the middle and just over one meter deep around the marshy edges.

Over the next few weeks the LSRBCD will start construction on two water retention structures. Next spring, the structures will collect run-off with the goal of reducing spring flooding, increasing hay production, recharging groundwater, improving wetland health and removing nutrients from the Boyne River System before it reaches Lake Winnipeg.

The LSRBCD is working with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and a local Hutterite colony to harvest cattails and turn them into biofuel – much like the ongoing cattail project at the Netley-Libau marsh. Harvesting cattails to use as an energy alternative has the potential to remove up to 5,000 kg of phosphorus from the water system every year. Instead of draining into Lake Winnipeg, where contributes to the growth of harmful algae, phosphorus will stay on the land and feed the crops.

“You can do something anywhere you are in the watershed to help Lake Winnipeg,” Reid said.

Justin Reid, district manager of the LaSalle Redboine Conservation District, points out an area of the site that will soon contain a dam.

The LSRBCD has partnered with many different groups to make the multi-faceted project a reality, including the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, which provided funding through the foundation’s Stewardship, Research and Education Grants Program.

LWF’s contribution will go towards water-quality monitoring – enabling the project team to test water  as it flows in and out of the lake, and measure phosphorus levels now and in the years to come.

The Pelly’s Lake Watershed Management Project is a real-world example of a collaborative solution to a complex problem. In fact, the project encompasses five of the eight actions identified in LWF’s Lake Winnipeg Health Plan: Keeping Water on the Land, Monitoring our Waterways, Promoting Agricultural Water Stewardship, Investing in a Clean Water Economy and Taking Responsibility.


(l - r) Dana Hay, program officer with Environment Canada, Justin Reid, district manager of the LaSalle Redboine Conservation District, Roy Wood, chair of the LaSalle Redboine Conservation District's board, Gord Mackintosh, provincial minister of conservation and water stewardship, Tim Sopuck, CEO of Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, Harold Purkess, landowner and reeve of the RM of Victoria

Great work to all the people and groups who have worked together to make this project happen!

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