Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/11/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
A gurgling baby gently shushed by his mom at a packed meeting may have plenty to cry about when he grows up, a panel of environmental experts warned a standing-room only crowd in Winnipeg on Sunday.
Growing water pollution woes in Manitoba and eroding federal protection of the environment could leave irreparable damage for future generations to face, the Save Lake Winnipeg forum heard at River Heights Community Centre.
"I feel sorry for the young people that are going to be around when that does happen," said John Shearer, the former senior biologist and operations manager for the soon-to-be-closed Experimental Lakes Area.
More than 100 people were at the event organized by provincial Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard, including Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba cottagers and First Nations residents.
"This situation is so dire it needs quick action," said Gerrard.
Nutrients polluting Manitoba's big lakes from phosphate-laden drainage are resulting in algal blooms overtaking the bodies of water, said University of Manitoba research scientist Greg McCullough.
Phosphorus from Winnipeg and flooding and runoff from North Dakota and Minnesota are taking a toll, he said.
Wetlands that used to hang onto those nutrients are disappearing, said Pascal Badiou, a research scientist with Ducks Unlimited Canada.
"Wetlands are like bathtubs on the landscape to trap water," he said.
In Manitoba, 90 per cent of the wetlands in the Red River Valley from Winnipeg to North Dakota have been lost, said Badiou.
Wetlands used to suck up the phosphorus now ending up in Lake Winnipeg, he said. Incentives to farmers to restore wetlands are a small part of an "ecosystem triage" needed to save the sick lake, he said.
"We've got to stop the bleeding." Otherwise, the City of Winnipeg investing $1 billion to upgrade its sewage treatment plant to remove nitrogen and phosphorus won't do much good, Badiou said.
"We're just going to add back what the City of Winnipeg is removing."
More wetlands will disappear if any new peat mines licensed by the province go into production, warned Eric Reder, the Manitoba director of the Wilderness Committee.
The committee is urging the province not to allow any new peat mining in the province.
It's also pressing the federal government to protect Canada's water and is making it an election issue, Reder said. The passage of omnibus bills C38 and 45 removed protections for Canada's fisheries, lakes, rivers and streams, he said.
"Our federal government values our industrial development over our water," said Reder.
Every day from now until the next scheduled federal election in October 2015, the Wilderness Committee is posting a different photo of an unprotected waterway on Facebook: www.facebook.com/1000Waterways.
"They've put our waterways in peril," said Reder.
"It's an assault on the most cherished resource we have in Canada."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 11, 2013 A6
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Wyatt back to running for council seat
Wynne to speak at Manitoba Liberals dinner
Award-winning writer, co-founder of Turnstone Press dies
B.C. teachers, employers reach tentative deal
Taxman wants to catch its own bad apples
Next title: Elizabeth, Queen of Scots?
First four jurors chosen in Magnotta murder trial
Harvard-educated architect talks City Beautiful at News Café Tuesday
Stretch of Aberdeen Avenue to be known as Honorary Taras Shevchenko Way.
Web filter lifts block on gay sites
Tories seek museum content
No acclamations in city school trustee races
Other Opinion: Personal freedoms suffer in pursuit of safety
Wasylycia-Leis would create urban ideas centre to spur innovation
NY: Wal-Mart levied fictional 'sugar tax' on soda
Afghanistan Memorial Vigil on display at legislature
Correction: Music-U2-iTunes story
Emergency crews at scene of serious crash
Author Miriam Toews on long list for Giller Prize
Harper could be Duffy trial witness
Wheels of justice turn slowly: a case for the ages
CMHR receives $500-K donation from Temerty Family Foundation
Don't be reckless, this time see Adams
Warm, sunny weather expected for rest of the week
Fletcher to take suicide bill to Senate
Police lay charges in 2001 B & E
Lava flows from Philippine volcano, thousands flee
Russian ruble drops to historic low amid sanctions
Sam Roberts Band to play the Burt in November
Manitoba leads country in increase in manufacturing sales in July
Black Label Society coming to town early in 2015
Vancouver's Mother Mother in town late November
This Ehlers kid can play a bit
Hotel expansion maxed out
Papers filed; race in full force
1 dead, 1 injured in Danish courthouse shooting
Science vs. sentiment
World Bank: Palestinian economy to shrink in 2014
Winnipeg's Carnegie libraries: a century of opening minds