Progress Report on the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative 2008/09–2009/10 Part of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Clean Water
Government of Canada
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This report has been compiled to outline the activities conducted during the first two years (2008/09–2009/10) of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative (LWBI). Significant progress has been made in implementing the LWBI science plan, as well as in the areas of stewardship and facilitating governance. Activities have focused on developing the physical, chemical and biological knowledge required to describe the sources, transport, fate and effects of nutrients in Lake Winnipeg and throughout the watershed. Hydrological and climate models for Lake Winnipeg and Lake of the Woods have been developed to examine relationships between a variety of physical, chemical and biological processes and characteristics. Remote sensing satellite imagery data has been gathered and used to track algal blooms and assess water quality conditions. Isotope assessment of fish, foodwebs, lake sediments, and nutrients is generating important information and understanding of Lake Winnipeg and Lake of the Woods ecosystems and nutrient processes. Field work was initiated to examine the transport of nutrients in agricultural watersheds, the impact of snowmelt on nutrient transfer, and the impact of climate change and variability on the water cycle and its implications for nutrient transfer. A web-based information portal was developed in conjunction with stakeholders, to gather, store and share data concerning the watershed, and provide users with the tools and information they need to make effective water management decisions. Work began to compile and assess existing and historic data on Lake Winnipeg, in order to provide a baseline against which the results of current and future research can be compared. Most of the science projects and activities will continue throughout the remaining two years of the LWBI, during which the focus will be on completing these activities and synthesizing the results. This information will provide a better understanding of the nutrient dynamics in the watershed, and provide the basis for establishing sustainable nutrient objectives and water quality indicators for Lake Winnipeg. The Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund was launched in 2008/09. Approximately $1.7 million was approved for 25 community stewardship projects in the first three funding rounds. A Canada-Manitoba Memorandum of Understanding Respecting Lake Winnipeg and the Lake Winnipeg Basin was developed, to formalize collaboration and coordination of activities amongst the federal and provincial governments in support of Lake Winnipeg. More details about the activities and progress of the LWBI from 2008/09 to 2009/10 are contained in the following pages. A final report will be prepared in 2012, following the conclusion of the Initiative.