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Reality Check

RC-04: Are Manitoba Wildlife Management Areas Protected?

Date Posted: April 30, 2011

According to the Manitoba Conservation "Protected Areas" website: "[a]t a minimum, protected areas prohibit, through legal means, logging, mining (including aggregate extraction), and oil, petroleum, natural gas or hydro-electric development."

Wildlife Management Areas ( WMAs) are designated under the Wildlife Act. Originally none of Manitoba's WMAs were protected. Over 5 years WMAs were reviewed to locate lands that were intact, and available for protected status. The government continues to designate new wildlife management areas, without protecting the lands.

The "Protected Areas" website lists 52 wildlife management areas) "whole or partial protection", and states " ....the [WMA] system has grown to encompass almost 2 million hectares (5 million acres) of valuable wildlife habitat throughout the province, but only around 1/4 of lands encompassed by the WMA system have permanent protection."

Three WMAs listed on the "Protected Areas" page (Assiniboine Corridor Wildlife Management Area, Parkland Wildlife Management Area, and Whitewater Lake Wildlife Management Area) have units or areas that allow oil and gas extraction and exploration, and therefore do not meet the government's own definition of a protected area.

Kaskatamagan and Kaskatamagan Sipi,WMAs underneath Hudsons Bay, with Kaskatamagan expanded from the former Cape Tatnum WMA, were designated in 2009. Saskeram (95,453.26 Ha) and Tom Lamb (216,417.54 Ha) WMAs located near The Pas, remain candidates for protection, first identified as candidates in 1963 and 1965.

Manitoba Conservation needs to protect WMA lands, where ever possible, starting with the buffer on Wapusk National Park. A public workplan, with goals and benchmarks is needed.

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