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New report provides insight into phosphorus management to protect Lake Winnipeg

The Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network (LWCBMN), coordinated by LWF, mobilizes citizen volunteers and conservation professionals to collect water samples across Manitoba in order to measure phosphorus concentration. Phosphorus is the nutrient responsible for the blue-green algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg and other water bodies.

This growing, long-term monitoring program has been actively sampling since 2016. A new report highlights insights gained by analyzing citizen-generated phosphorus data from the 2017 and 2018 field seasons. Among them:

  • Phosphorus hotspots exist and water flow matters: In 2017, LWCBMN identified some of the highest phosphorus exports ever reported in Manitoba. In contrast to 2017, the 2018 season was very dry; this low water flow resulted in low phosphorus export.
  • Frequent and responsive sampling is important: High-water events such as the spring melt or a heavy rainstorm are high-phosphorus events; if samples are not collected during these times, phosphorus loads may be underestimated.
  • Storing water on the land can protect Lake Winnipeg: LWCBMN data suggest that phosphorus export in hotspot areas can be reduced by replicating dry conditions using natural wetlands, constructed ponds and dams.

Click here to read the full report.

Regional reports from the 2018 and 2017 field seasons can be found here. All data generated by LWCBMN is also available online at lakewinnipegdatastream.ca

The 2019 field season is well underway, with the network aiming to collect more than 2,500 samples from more than 150 sampling sites across Manitoba. If you’re interested in volunteering with LWCBMN, please contact Chelsea Lobson, LWF Program Manager, Community-Based Monitoring.

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