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A new tool to save our lake!

Dunnottar Mayor Rick Gamble (left) and Manitoba Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship Gord Macintosh (right) reach out to shake hands as Canada Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq looks on.Today saw an encouraging step forward in the mission to save Lake Winnipeg.

Three levels of government become the first signatories to the Lake Friendly Accord, a made-in-Manitoba agreement that promotes taking action to reduce the amount of harmful algae-causing nutrients such as phosphorous from entering into the waterways that flow into our lake and protect water quality.

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, federal minister of the environment, the Honourable Gord Macintosh, provincial minister of conservation and water stewardship, and Dunnottar Mayor Rick Gamble, chair of the South Basin Mayors and Reeves, signed the Accord at the Hotel Fort Gary this morning.

In attendance were representatives from some of the 75 stakeholders who belong to the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance. The Alliance is a provincially driven initiative that’s bringing together groups and organizations from different sectors to share information and co-ordinate efforts to reduce nutrient loading.

LWF is a member of the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance. We were also chosen to chair the Science, Research and Traditional Knowledge Working Group, one of six groups established under the Alliance to develop specific strategies and actions to reduce phosphorous loading into our lakes and rivers.

Reducing phosphorous in Lake Winnipeg’s watershed – the area that drains into it – is key to restoring and protecting the health of our great lake. One of the challenges we face is that this watershed is huge, stretching across four Canadian provinces, four American states and multiple First Nations. That’s why collaboration is so crucial; as Minister Mackintosh said at today’s signing, “We’re all in this together.”

As a science-based organization on a mission to identify and support solutions to ensure a clean, healthy Lake Winnipeg and watershed now and for future generations, we are encouraged to see all levels of government recognizing both the importance of Lake Winnipeg and the need to take action to save it. We look forward to seeing concrete actions take shape as a result of this first step.

Minister Aglukkaq called Lake Winnipeg one of Canada’s most precious freshwater resources. We agree. Our hope is that more organizations and individuals will sign the Accord and confirm their commitment to do their part to save our lake.

Learn more about the Lake Friendly Accord here.



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