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Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative Science Program

Under Phase I of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative (LWBI), a science plan for the lake and its basin was implemented to better understand the gaps related to ecology and nutrient cycling, and the sources and transport mechanisms for nutrients. 

The science plan for Phase II of the LWBI includes further monitoring and research to fill priority knowledge gaps in science, finding ways to measure results, and assessing the effectiveness of efforts to clean up the lake. 

Phase II of the LWBI science plan (2012-2017) encompasses four key deliverables:

  1. Address knowledge gaps related to the impact of human activities, particularly land use, on fate, effect and delivery of nutrients in Lake Winnipeg tributaries.
  2. Develop predictive capabilities in support of nutrient management in Lake Winnipeg and its basin.
  3. Undertake water quality and biotic monitoring to track the spatial and temporal flux of nutrients transported from the watershed to Lake Winnipeg and support modeling scenarios.
  4. Address critical knowledge gaps in lake nutrient dynamics relative to changes in nutrient loads to Lake Winnipeg.

Several projects are currently underway to study the fate and effects of nutrients originating from agricultural activities, especially in the Red-Assiniboine sub-watershed.  Modeling of possible methods to manage nutrients in the basin and Lake Winnipeg is also occurring alongside transboundary monitoring of the lake’s biology and water quality.

Environment Canada and other federal and provincial partners are developing watershed nutrient loading estimates and nutrient concentration measurements, tracking or “finger-printing” the sources of land-based nutrients, and analyzing micro-toxins and algal bloom trends in Lake Winnipeg.  Scientists are also examining the role of hydrology and climate on nutrient loading, measuring the nutrients retained in dams and reservoirs, analyzing nutrient change and identifying best practices for nutrient management. 

Get details on the investments being made in science for Lake Winnipeg.

Sampling plankton communities in Lake WinnipegMeasuring the turbidity of Lake WinnipegWater sampling activities along the shore of Lake Winnipeg