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New federal investment in citizen science

(l-r): Dan Vandal, MP for Saint Boniface-Saint Vital; Alexis Kanu, Executive Director of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation; Al Kristofferson, Managing Director of the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium; Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change; Terry Duguid, MP for Winnipeg South; Tim Sopuck, CEO of Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation; Elder Mary Maytwayashing; Photo: Marlo Campbell

The Lake Winnipeg Foundation will receive $260,000 in federal funding over four years for the Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network (LWCBMN), a growing network of citizens, scientists and conservation professionals taking action for healthy waters.

This new support is part of $3.8 million in funding over four years for 23 projects under the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program. Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, made the announcement on Aug. 2 in Gimli.

“Citizen science can play an important role in pointing the way towards solutions for Lake Winnipeg,” said LWF executive director Alexis Kanu at the announcement.

“The Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network is tackling the root causes of algae blooms by identifying phosphorus hotspots across the landscape, creating opportunities to target funding and action to achieve the greatest impact for our beloved lake.”

Since 2016, LWCBM volunteers and staff have been collecting water samples across southern Manitoba using scientifically vetted protocols. Samples are then analyzed in a lab to measure phosphorus concentration and determine the amount of phosphorus being exported off our landscapes into our local waterways.

Over the past three years, LWCBMN has expanded from 12 sites to 100, from 200 samples to 1500. This incredible growth is a testament to the dedication of citizen scientists and conservation groups who are leading the charge for healthy waters.

Now, federal funding will be used to grow network capacity and support activities including:

  • Developing and maintaining shared monitoring protocols, tools and training for all partners;
  • Subsidizing analysis costs which are a major barrier for local groups on their own;
  • And ensuring that collected data is interpreted and shared back to all community participants in a way that is useful, accessible and timely.

At LWF, our members have been taking action to restore and protect Lake Winnipeg since 2005. We recognize that the health of our shared waters is our collective responsibility – and we take that responsibility seriously.

This latest federal investment is a recognition of the incredible leadership of lake-lovers across the watershed who, for more than a decade, have been steadfast in their efforts to educate, advocate and act on behalf of Lake Winnipeg.

Going forward, the shared concerns of our members will continue to drive LWF’s work. Bringing the voice of lake-lovers to the tables of decision makers, we remain committed to speaking up for water, advocating for meaningful solutions and co-ordinating evidence-based action.

To learn more about the Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network and how you can get involved, click here.

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