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Reality Check

RC-06: Are Manitoba Waterways, Rivers and Lakes protected?

Date Posted: May 23, 2011

There are four Manitoba Canadian heritage rivers, listed by Environment Canada, part of the heritage rivers system, of historic significance, natural value, or both. The Red River is a Canadian heritage river, reflecting both natural water systems in our province, and our trade and immigration history. The Seal, Hayes and Bloodvein Rivers in northern Manitoba are national heritage rivers of both historic and natural heritage. The Seal, Hayes and Bloodvein Rivers also occupy major places in aboriginal history.

The three northern heritage rivers have no dams or alterations. Most northern rivers have hydro development or have water power reserves for future hydro dams. Manitoba Heritage Rivers have no actual designation, and have no shoreline or corridor protection.

Lakes in Manitoba are only protected when inside a terrestrial protected area under the Parks, Wildlife, Ecological Reserve, or Forest Act. This means lakes are protected by default inside a protected area. Water adjacent to a protected area may be included in a protected area, but often open waters are not marked, monitored, or clearly surveyed. There are no management plans for these waters.

Manitoba has no protected area designations or management standards for rivers, or open waters. lakes, etc. No standards exist for management of lakes inside a terrestrial protected area. Many lakes, rivers, and fjords (along Hudsons Bay) inside 'candidate sites' wait for protected status.

Manitoba needs management standards for waterways and lakes inside and outside protected areas. Mapping, and monitoring of water adjacent to protected lands, and waters zoned protected, are needed. River corridors, for heritage rivers and others. Need protection. The next Protected Areas Strategy for Manitoba will need to protect and represent aquatic ecosystems. Current heritage river corridors should be protected.

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