Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

More protection for wetland

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THE Manitoba government has broadened protection for a unique orchid-rich wetland along Highway 59 northeast of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

The province is doubling the size of the Brokenhead Wetland Ecological Reserve to 1,240 hectares from 563 hectares.

Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said the area contains representatives of more than 70 per cent of Manitoba's orchid species along with many other rare plants.

"Over the past seven years, the ecological reserve has been protecting and nurturing a precious piece of Manitoba's natural heritage and our goal is to continue to do this," Mackintosh said Friday.

The Brokenhead ecological reserve is one of 22 protected ecological reserves in Manitoba. It features 23 species of provincially rare and uncommon plants, eight species of insect-eating (carnivorous) plants and 28 of Manitoba's 36 native orchid species.

Protected areas may be used for research, education and nature study, but are free from intensive recreational development. Access to the Brokenhead reserve remains limited to walking tours. Areas designated as ecological reserves benefit Manitoba's network of protected areas by prohibiting commercial logging, mining, hydroelectric and oil and gas development. However, Mackintosh noted First Nations and aboriginal people are the traditional stewards of this land and will continue to exercise their treaty and traditional rights.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 25, 2012 A7

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