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Lake Winnipeg nominated for 'Threatened Lake of the Year, 2013' award

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Lake Winnipeg is in the running for 'Threatened Lake of the Year, 2013,' according to Global Nature Fund.

The organization said in a release today the Lake Winnipeg nomination was made by affiliate Living Lakes Canada. Global Nature Fund chooses the most-threatened lake in the world annually.

"As one of the largest lakes in the world, Lake Winnipeg is very well known, but not much is known internationally about the dramatic environmental problems of the lake and the wetlands in its watershed," said Udo Gattenlöhner, of Global Nature Fund.

Past winners include Lake Titicaca, on the borders of Bolivia and Peru, and the Dead Sea, which is shared by Israel, Jordan and Palestine.

"Many people in Germany and throughout Europe believe environmental problems hardly occur in Canada," Gattenlöhner said. "However, recent changes in Canadian policies seem to be eroding the protection particularly of vulnerable water ecosystems — and it is disappointing because this does not really fit with our image of Canada".

Global Nature Fund said Lake Winnipeg is the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world. Its watershed spans nearly one-million-square kilometres and stretches from the Rocky Mountains to Lake Superior.

Bob Sandford, chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of the U.N. Water for Life Decade, said: "Lake Winnipeg has at last been identified internationally as one of the world’s great fresh water disasters, just as many scientists predicted. Despite the efforts and good intentions of concerned Manitobans, Canada’s international environmental reputation has been down-graded to below that of a developing nation."

The ‘Threatened Lake of the Year’ will picked Feb. 2, 2013 on World Wetland Day.

"Lake Winnipeg is increasingly threatened by activities that destroy natural habitats, exacerbate flooding, reduce biodiversity, and contribute to climate warming," said Alex Salki, Science Advisory Council Chair to the Lake Winnipeg Foundation. http://www.lakewinnipegfoundation.org/

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