Cleaning Up Lake Winnipeg: The Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund


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Lake Winnipeg is fed by a vast basin covering approximately a million square kilometres, encompassing four provinces and four U.S. states. The water quality of Lake Winnipeg has been negatively impacted by excessive amounts of nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, from both rural and urban sources. More than half of these nutrients originate from outside Manitoba’s borders.

The Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (LWBSF) provides financial support for high-impact, solution-oriented projects aimed at reducing nutrient loads, and improving the long-term ecological health of the lake and watershed. Environment and Climate Change Canada administers the LWBSF with support from a technical review committee and a public advisory committee.

Livestock exclusion fencing along the Little Saskatchewan River
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada

Projects involving tried and proven activities, as well as projects demonstrating innovative techniques, technologies and measures to reduce nutrient inputs into Lake Winnipeg, are strong candidates for LWBSF funding. The LWBSF also supports activities that contribute to a better understanding of current conditions and track improvements in environmental quality within Lake Winnipeg and its watershed.

Fund Priorities

To be eligible, projects must address at least one of the following priorities:

  • Reducing nutrient inputs from rural and urban sources
  • Controlling point and non-point sources of pollution
  • Rehabilitating priority aquatic ecosystems that support nutrient reduction and sequestration
  • Enhancing research and monitoring capacity to assist in decision making

Eligible Projects

Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Implementation of beneficial management practices (BMPs) that reduce rural or urban non-point sources of nutrients (e.g. water retention projects, conservation tillage, riparian enhancements, phosphorus/nutrient management planning and recovery projects)
  • Wetland creation, restoration and preservation
  • Erosion control structures
  • Development and implementation of innovative technologies, techniques and pilot projects that reduce nutrient loading from municipal wastewater systems and other point source discharges
  • Scientific research to aid implementation of stewardship and remedial actions
  • Public education and outreach on nutrient management (e.g. to educate landowners, cottage/residential associations about environmental principles and practices to support the program)

Multi-year projects are eligible; however, LWBSF funding can only be applied to activities completed by March 31, 2017.

Healthy wetlands are part of the solution in reducing nutrient loading
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada

Eligible Recipients

  • Individuals
  • Non-profit organizations and associations (NGOs and ENGOs)
  • Industry and industry associations
  • Aboriginal governments and organizations
  • Provincial, municipal, territorial and local governments
  • Regional conservation districts and authorities
  • Research, academic and educational institutions
  • Watershed-based organizations


The LWBSF is intended to contribute no more than one third of total project costs; however, the Fund may provide up to a maximum of two thirds of total project costs. Projects are encouraged to leverage other funding sources and develop collaborative partnerships. In cases where other federal programs are supporting partners in a project, the total federal contribution must not exceed two thirds of the total cost of the project. Potential sources of matching funds and types of support (cash, in-kind, contributions by the applicant, landowners or others involved in the project, use of equipment, expertise, etc.) must be clearly outlined and described in the application.

Agriculture is a nonpoint source of nutrient loading
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada

Eligible Costs

  • Salaries and wages
  • Travel
  • Materials and supplies
  • Vehicle rental and operation costs
  • GST/HST not reimbursable by the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Management and professional services (legal, audit, accounting)
  • Contractors
  • Equipment purchase, lease and rental
  • Printing, production, translation and distribution
  • Costs associated with land securement
  • Reasonable share of overhead
  • Other incremental costs

Complete details regarding eligibility are available online. If you are unsure of the eligibility of your project, please contact Environment and Climate Change Canada for clarification.

Application Process

Stage 1 - Letters of Intent: Environment and Climate Change Canada issues a call for Letters of Intent each fall. Letters of Intent are submitted and reviewed by Environment and Climate Change Canada against eligibility requirements. Applicants are asked to submit a Letter of Intent (maximum 2 pages), using the template available online. Submissions may be sent in electronically or by mail (date-stamped before October 1).

Stage 2 - Project Proposals: Once a Letter of Intent is deemed eligible, applicants will be invited to submit a detailed proposal. All proposals received by Environment and Climate Change Canada undergo a technical review. The proposals and technical reviews are then evaluated by a public advisory committee that makes funding recommendations to the Minister of the Environment.

Once a proposal is approved by the Minister, a contribution agreement between the applicant and Environment and Climate Change Canada must be negotiated and signed. Written confirmation of all funding sources, a summary of project design, delivery, progress evaluations and anticipated results, as well as a budget forecast, must be completed before the agreement can be signed. Reporting requirements and project objectives are tied directly to a payment schedule that is outlined in the contribution agreement. Please note that funding is conditional on the successful negotiation of a signed contribution agreement.

A final report is required 30 days following the contribution agreement end date. The final report should include a project evaluation, financial, in-kind contribution records and, if applicable, a financial audit.

Further information regarding the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund may be found online.

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund
Suite 150, 123 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 4W2


PLEASE NOTE - Funding for the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund sunsets on March 31, 2017.

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