Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Protect Seal River

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SeaNorth Tours Churchill
Beluga whales near Churchill.

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SeaNorth Tours Churchill Beluga whales near Churchill.

Re: Protect Manitoba's white whales (June 12). I enjoyed reading Christopher Debicki's well-written piece about Manitoba's precious beluga whales and the great need for a robust management plan that will protect them.

Debicki notes the Seal River estuary as a place where our white whales go to feed, calf and avoid predators. What many may not know is that the Seal River is the largest remaining un-dammed river in northern Manitoba and its watershed is one of the last great intact ones on the planet. The lands that feed the river are truly special places.

The Seal's watershed is home to a plethora of wildlife including harbour seals, polar bears, caribou and grizzly bear that are once again making Manitoba home. Local people rely on the health of this landscape to carry out traditional economic activities and other sustainable pursuits.

Unlike the other large and powerful northern rivers, such as the Nelson and the Churchill, which have been forever damaged by shortsighted piecemeal developments, we have a chance to get the right balance for the Seal through a consultation process that includes local people and all Manitobans. I would gladly welcome the provincial government making the Seal River's entire watershed a priority area of the Manitoba Protected Areas Initiative.

Ron Thiessen

Canadian Parks & Wilderness

Society, Manitoba chapter

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 16, 2014 A8

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