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Lake Winnipeg Still Under Threat, Say Advocates

January 29, 2014 8:36 AM | News

Lake Winnipeg (CHRISD.CA FILE)

Lake Winnipeg (CHRISD.CA FILE)

Lake Winnipeg advocates are speaking out about the lack of work being done to protect the sixth-largest freshwater lake in Canada on the anniversary of the body of water being designated as “threatened” by the Global Nature Fund.

The Save Lake Winnipeg Project is calling for a commitment from all three levels of government to invest in upgraded sewage equipment to stop damaging phosphorous from entering Lake Winnipeg, where it causes extensive blue-green algae blooms. They are also asking for government to annually release data about how much phosphorous is making its way into the water.

“We have not seen any data on the annual amounts of phosphorus going into the lake for 7 years, even though government staff is collecting the data every year. That is simply too long,” said Vicki Burns, director of the Save Lake Winnipeg Project.

The phosphorous from sewage feeds blue-green algae blooms that contain toxins that can prove dangerous to both wildlife and humans. The Save Lake Winnipeg Project says that in the past year, research from Australian scientists has found that some blue-green algae blooms can be linked to a neurotoxin called BMAA, which leads to increased risk of motor neuron disease.

“We need action now to stop this unhealthy trend. Another year has passed since the Threatened Lake Designation and we still cannot measure any progress,” said Burns.

“If there has been any progress in cutting the amount of phosphorus that is getting into the lake, we don’t know about it.”