THE LAKE MANITOBA PROBLEM:

 

AN INVITATION TO ACTION

 

 

Stakeholders are concerned over recent and future impacts on the many natural resources, including the shorelines, lakeside marshes, beaches, farmlands, fish and wildlife - and economic activities such as tourism, cottage development, lodge and outfitting operations, commercial and sport fishing, trapping and hunting in Lake Manitoba. This extends to Lakes Winnipegosis, St. Martin and Pineimuta as well. Although there have been several local meetings and provincial hearings concerning management of this system over the last forty years, the lakeís natural resources continue in a state of decline.

 

Manitoba Water Resources formally requested this summer that Manitoba government strike a commission to investigate these concerns and prepare for hearings in the near future. The Government has not responded to date but is expected to some time in 2001. The Lake Manitoba Basin Initiative (LMBI) was formed by a group of concerned citizens, sportsmen and landowners who want to encourage improvements in the control of Lake Manitoba water levels and quality. Wayne Cowan, of W.C. Rural Resources Inc., was hired to collect and share information on historical and present operation of the Fairford Dam and Assiniboine Diversion, local drainage and other activities that impact the lake system, through documentation and discussions with stakeholder groups like yourselves and resource managers.

 

 

What Have We Learned?

 

There have been surprisingly few studies of the impacts of these major works even though there were early indications of potential problems, especially in the south basin and Lake St. Martin - Pineimuta. Since construction of the Fairford River Dam in 1961 and the Assiniboine River Diversion in 1970, there have been many reports of dysfunctional lake levels and water quality, and deterioration of the associated marshes, beaches, shorelines, vegetation, fish and wildlife by the people who live around the lake and use its resources. Yet there has been very little investigation to determine their validity or to ensure against increasing damages.

 

Research into past studies, observations and documentations, and discussions with large numbers of stakeholders from all around the lake, and with associated resource managers and academics, has revealed a number of factors we need to address and learn more about in order to make intelligent, informed decisions that will improve the health of the lake system. Please consider:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Concerns

 

Many of the concerns were commonly shared among the people from all vocations related to the lake's resources:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invitation to Action

 

The Lake Manitoba Basin Initiative hopes this information is of value to all interest groups and all stakeholders. They now invite all concerned to join in a coordinated program to gather the information you suggested was required and to proceed to resolve the several impacts on the Lake Manitoba system, as outlined in the report. In this action, all interested parties would obtain a common understanding of the issues and devise a coordinated approach. Assignments of tasks to each group will be made eventually. The end result should be great improvements in the health of the lake system, its resources and aesthetic, environmental and economic benefits for all Manitobans.