New Computer Technology To Bolster Watershed Protection
Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh and Lynette Gillen, regional vice-president, RBC Royal Bank, today announced $225,000 in private sector funding for the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation’s new stream bank and watershed health program focusing on Lake Winnipeg.
“This is an outstanding example of corporate social responsibility in action and we appreciate this grant to protect the quality of our water in Manitoba, specifically Lake Winnipeg,” said Mackintosh. “This new program will bring together governments, non-government organizations and private companies to support individuals and achieve common goals.”
The funding will be used to put in place a newly developed computer tool that can analyze aerial photography to produce detailed maps of stream banks, and which can then be used to compare the health of different areas along a waterway so government and environmental organizations can prioritize resources in the right places.
Through the Green Banks: Clear Waters project, the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation and four local conservation districts (all of which have waters flowing directly into the Red River or Lake Winnipeg itself) will enhance the delivery of watershed health programming by:
- mapping the vegetation along several waterways in Manitoba,
- assessing the relative health of stream banks on a farm-scale, and
- delivering custom projects and workshops to improve watershed health and awareness.
“The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation and their partners, including the East Interlake Conservation District, are using new, innovative ways to support healthy practices for watersheds and watershed planning in Manitoba,” said Gillen. “RBC Royal Bank is pleased to support this project as part of our $50-million Blue Water Project that provides financial support to innovative watershed health programs.”
The RBC Blue Water Project is an innovative, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world’s most precious natural resource: fresh water. It includes a $50-million commitment to organizations that protect watersheds and ensure access to clean drinking water.
The RBC Blue Water Project also promotes responsible water use through awareness programs and supports programs that encourage businesses to develop and commercialize innovative solutions to the water issues facing the world. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $33 million to more than 500 not-for-profit organizations worldwide to protect watersheds or ensure access to clean drinking water.
Established in 1986, the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation is a Crown corporation responsible to the minister of conservation and water stewardship with a mandate to conserve, enhance and restore fish and wildlife habitat. In total, MHHC’s conservation agreements now ensure more than 110,000 acres of wetlands, grasslands and riparian areas found on private land, an area 12.5 times bigger than Birds Hill Provincial Park, will continue to be protected across the province.