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Phosphorus

Canada is a country defined by water – and improving the health of Lake Winnipeg is a well-established national priority, acknowledged through the policy priorities, mandate letters and throne speeches of successive federal governments.

But how do we move beyond good intentions and begin achieving meaningful results?

Together, the Lake Winnipeg Foundation and the Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective have released a position paper which identifies five things the federal government must do for Lake Winnipeg right now.

They are:

1. Recognize phosphorus as the cause of blue-green algal blooms on...

Grade 10 Biology students from Minot, North Dakota, are the newest citizen scientists to join the Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network (LWCBMN).

As part of their honours class, a small group of students from Minot’s Central Campus have volunteered to collect samples from the Souris River, using equipment supplied by LWF and following LWCBMN protocols developed by LWF science advisors. Their teacher was trained by LWF staff over Zoom.

LWCBMN is a long-term monitoring program coordinated by LWF which mobilizes citizens to collect water samples across rural areas of Lake Winnipeg’s...

Waves rolling onto a sandy shore.

Update: The deadline for public feedback on the IJC’s proposed nutrient loading targets and concentration objectives has been extended until March 28, 2020.

The International Joint Commission (IJC) works to prevent and resolve transboundary water disputes, investigating issues and recommending solutions to the governments of Canada and the United States. Guided by the Boundary Waters Treaty, which was signed in 1909, it was established in recognition that each country is affected by the other’s actions in lake and river systems along the border.

The IJC is currently soliciting public feedback...

It’s not every day you get to visit one of Canada’s primary sources of lake science. And it’s certainly not every day you get to stand on the shores of a humble little lake known simply as Lake 227 that has informed scientists’ understanding of eutrophication for almost half a century.

Located in northwest Ontario about an hour and a half east of Kenora, the IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is a natural laboratory comprised of 58 small lakes and their watersheds. The area was set aside for scientific research in 1968 and it’s an ideal setting in which to conduct whole-ecosystem science...

Harmful algae blooms have been increasing in size and frequency on Lake Winnipeg – contaminating beaches, reducing water quality, and damaging Manitoba’s important fishing and tourism industries.

Algae on Lake Winnipeg circa 2006; photo: Lori Volkart

Algae blooms are the result of eutrophication – a condition caused by an over-abundance of the nutrient phosphorus. All living things need phosphorus – in fact, it’s one of the ingredients in the fertilizers we give our house and garden plants and our agricultural crops to help them grow. However, too much of it is a problem because it contributes to the growth of blue-green algae (which is also...

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