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Manitoba Protected Areas Grade 2004 Technical Assessment
Manitoba Wildlands - July 2004

The annual protected areas grade for Manitoba is based on six World Wildlife Fund Endangered Spaces Campaign assessment criteria, applied to the protected areas grades across Canada, including Manitoba, through the 1990s. The Wildlands Campaign of the Canadian Nature Federation continued to issue the Manitoba grade from 2000 to 2003. The criteria are now applied by Manitoba Wildlands each year, to government protected area commitments and actions. Penalties and bonuses are applied to the basic grade to highlight specific successes or problems. Information for the assessment is provided by the Manitoba Government.

D    1) Application of Ecological Criteria to Design, Select and Designate new protected areas. Manitoba Conservation has not regained its capacity to design and designate protected areas that achieve representation of the province's natural regions. Updated consultation maps and technical methods report not available, for a third consecutive year. Ability to assess representation on a natural region, enduring feature basis appears to be lacking.

D    2) Strategy and Action Plan Development to complete protected areas system for each natural region on an ecological representation basis. The Conservation Minister has renewed his commitment to the intent and ecological standards of the Action Plan for a Network of Protected Areas, and to develop a new Action Plan for 2005 and beyond. This is the second year that the Action Plan has not been updated, and the third minister to make a commitment to update it. Release in fall 2004 of an Action Plan with clear targets, priority sites, and timelines (2005 - 2008) for steps to complete Manitoba's network of protected areas is essential.

C    3) Protected Areas System Completion to Date** Based on Manitoba Conservation data. No representation data provided for new 2004 protected areas. No improvement in natural region representation assessment since 2000. 15,500 ha of new protected lands (crown lands) were added to the system in 2004. ** This grade is triple weighted.

D    4) Rate of Progress in Protected Areas Designation The slow rate of protected areas establishment, especially in boreal forest regions, means a significant number of decisions are needed to complete Manitoba's regional network of protected areas. The rate of intended development in Manitoba's forest regions far exceeds the rate of protected areas establishment. Only one third of the job is done. Manitoba's boreal forest regions and northern taiga regions are a priority on an international basis for protected areas establishment.

C    5) Protection Standards Maintained or Extended for existing protected areas. Interim protection for the Poplar/Nanowin Rivers Park Reserve has been extended. The Minister has indicated the intent to arrive at permanent protection for the Chitek Lake Park Reserve. One new protected area in forest natural region 7 established. One new ecological reserve established. Steps to acknowledge community pastures as protected lands have been stalled for years.

C    6) Legislation/policies to assist private sector in protected areas establishment. 4000 ha of tall grass prairie lands owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) became part of Manitoba's Network of Protected Areas, based on protection regulations under the Mines Act, and a new MOU between Manitoba and the Nature Conservancy. A plan to continue to identify, and recognize NCC lands as protected areas is needed. A public registry of all conservation easements, and private protected lands is an essential tool for this criterion.

  • Extension of Poplar/Nanowin Rivers Park Reserve protection until 2009
  • Commitment to permanently protect Chitek Lake Park Reserve
  • Protection and inclusion of Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) tall grass prairie lands in protected areas network, new agreement with NCC
  • MOU between Manitoba and Canada to negotiate a National Park agreement for Manitoba's Interlake region by summer 2005
  • Commitment to prohibit development in lands that are candidates for the National Park in Manitoba's Interlake
  • New Bell & Steeprock Canyons protected area, in forest natural region 7
  • Manitoba Mines and Geological Survey staff and Ministerial support to Protected Areas Initiative, especially for consultation technical tools, and withdrawal of crown mineral rights from protected areas
  • East Side Manitoba World Heritage Site on Canada's WHS list, commitment from Minister of Conservation to work with affected First Nations communities
  • Written support from Manitoba Hydro CEO for protected areas establishment in Manitoba natural regions
  • Commitment from new minister to Protected Areas Initiative deliverables, including new Action Plan on same ecological, representation, and geographic regions basis
  • Manitoba Conservation intent to enter into an MOU with the Métis Nation, through the Manitoba Métis Federation
  • Commitment to continue to fulfill the standards and intent of the First Nations Protected Areas MOU

  • Absence of new Action Plan for a Network of Protected Areas, for two years
  • Mapping errors, and variances: in technical information, public information available and requested
  • Sector consultation protected areas maps overdue for 3 years
  • Meetings of the First Nations Protected Areas Working Group cancelled
  • Failure to fulfill commitments for 2003-2004 year
  • First Nation and Aboriginal consultations regarding Bell & Steeprock Canyons protected area unfinished
  • Weakness of comments and input from Manitoba Conservation re: protected areas for Wuskwatim Projects EIS and environmental review
  • No plan to establish protected areas in boreal forest regions before hydro development
  • Failure to maintain clarity regarding protected areas and protecting the boreal during the East Side Planning Initiative, as per its terms of reference
  • No increase in representation of natural regions by new protected areas since 2000
  • No technical report regarding ecological design, assessment of areas for representation upon design / protection
  • Lack of staff, budget, technical capacity Protected Areas Initiative