All Stakeholders Urged to Cooperate in Improving Lake Winnipeg Water Quality

Aug 25, 2010 | Corporate Member News

A University of Manitoba soil scientist suggests everyone needs to reduce their contribution to nutrient loading to help improve Lake Winnipeg water quality.

Despite a range of provincial government initiatives designed to reduce the levels of phosphorus ending up in Lake Winnipeg, overall water quality in the lake has continued to decline.

As a result of warm wet weather the problem has been especially acute this year.

Dr. Don Flaten, a soil scientist with the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, suggests everyone needs to do what they can to reduce their contribution to nutrient loading in the lake:

I think if you take a look at the overall picture you’d find that in the very large watershed that feeds into Lake Winnipeg at least half of the phosphorus for example going into Lake Winnipeg is coming from outside the province.

Within the province over the long term it’s probably split between let’s say one third coming from natural background, one third from cities and towns and one third from agricultural activities.

I think probably the most important overall principle for curing the problems that are affecting Lake Winnipeg is for everyone regardless of whether their share is small or large to do what they can to reduce their share.

Playing the blame game where we in the country blame the people in the city and in the city we blame the people in the country for the problem doesn’t really help cure Lake Winnipeg’s problems at all.

Each of us regardless of whether we’re in the city or the country needs to do our share in reducing the nutrient loading to the lake.

Dr. Flaten stresses, regardless of the type of phosphorus applied whether it’s synthetic fertilizer phosphorus or phosphorus that’s in manure, it all needs to be managed carefully.

He estimates manure phosphorus applications constitute about 15 percent of the phosphorus that’s applied within the province and about half of the manure that’s applied is in the form of hog manure so its a small but significant factor and the livestock industry is just one of many small contributors.

For UniversityNews.Org, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

*This first appeared in the August 25, 2010 edition of University News, a presentation of the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences, to learn more click here.

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