– – – Support for Lake Friendly Accord Grows: Minister Mackintosh
FARGO, N.D.—The Red River Basin Commission (RRBC) has joined the growing list of signatories to the Lake Friendly Accord and signifies the first cross-border support for the accord, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced here today.
“Manitoba is pleased to have more partners join the effort to protect water quality across the Lake Winnipeg watershed including in the Red River,” Minister Mackintosh said. “It’s great to see this new support join the Canadian government, the Province of Manitoba and the South Basin Mayors and Reeves who signed the accord on March 21.”
The Manitoba government and the South Basin Mayors and Reeves first partnered in June 2013 to announce the Lake Friendly Accord and establish the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance. Their goal is to co-ordinate efforts and promote leadership to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen loading, and protect water quality.
Since then, about 75 other stakeholders from across Manitoba have joined the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance. They are working collaboratively to:
facilitate information sharing,
enhance collaboration and co-ordination,
improve reporting and accountability,
increase efficiencies and technology transfer,
enhance stewardship and economic opportunities, and
celebrate nutrient reduction success stories.
All stakeholders and residents of the Lake Winnipeg basin have a role to play in reducing phosphorus and nitrogen loading to waterways including Lake Winnipeg, Minister Mackintosh said, adding the Lake Friendly Accord provides a framework for stakeholders to identify actions to reduce nutrient loading and improve water quality.
“The Red River Basin Commission is dedicated to developing and implementing a natural resource framework plan that includes six main focus areas including water quality,” said Jeff Lewis, executive director, RRBC. “We look forward to working with the states of Minnesota and North Dakota and the Province of Manitoba to make water quality improvements to reduce the nutrient load of the Red River.”
Algal blooms are an important issue in lakes, rivers and streams across the Lake Winnipeg basin, said the minister. The basin covers one million square kilometres across Canada and the United States including parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and Manitoba.
The RRBCwas formed in 2002 to address land and water issues from a basin-wide approach. It is made up of a 41-member board with representatives from cities, counties, rural municipalities, watershed boards, water resource districts, joint-powers boards as well as representation from First Nations, a water supply co-operative, a lake improvement association and environmental groups. North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba have also appointed members to the board.
Earlier this year, Manitoba released a document, Lake Friendly in 50 Ways, to highlight the action underway to reduce nutrient loading and improve water quality. For more information on the Lake Friendly Accord and the full list of the 50 ways Manitoba is lake friendly, go to: www.manitoba.ca/lakewinnipeg.