Lake Friendly Practices Highlight Need For Collaborative Action: Shared in Video

Jul 17, 2012 | Chamber News

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and a number of partners have identified practical ways people can contribute to water management practices aimed at improving the health of the world’s lakes.  A coalition of partners have worked together with the Lake Friendly Project, led by Colleen Sklar and the Mayors and Reeves of the North Basin of Lake Winnipeg to bring the project to fruition.

“The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce launched a multi-year strategic direction at the recent AGM on April 29, 2012 that will see the Chambers unanimously supporting a coordinated and unified direction to work on the most challenging environmental issue that this province has ever seen,” said David Newman, who was the Master of Ceremonies at the Chamber luncheon on June 22 where this was announced. “Our policy committee has worked hard to come back with a strategy that will see the coming together of the stakeholders to find a solution.”

“The Chambers are fortunate to have partners in this process such as the Red River Basin Commission, Manitoba Lotteries,  Keystone Agricultural Producers, IISD, the mayors and reeves of the north basin, Rivers West, Manitoba Pork and Robert Sandford, EPCOR Chair, United Nations Water for Life Decade, “ said Graham Starmer, CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “ We believe strongly in the power of ‘us’ and approaching this from a unified and integrated lens – stronger together.”

Starmer praised the efforts of Colleen Sklar and her passion and dedication to taking this project from an idea to a vision and to practical reality.  Sklar gave full credit to her partners as well as to the Mayors and Reeves of the North Basin who have shepherded this project since Day One.

Launched last week at a special luncheon hosted by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, the video “What You Do Matters” was showcased to a crowd of over one hundred people who gathered to pledge support to initiate practical ways to clean up the Lake.

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has collaborated with other stakeholders to develop Do What Matters: Lake friendly practices and actions, a guide for residents, farmers, fishers, recreational users, cottagers, students, businesses and local governments. The publication emphasizes the importance of collective action.

VIDEO LAUNCHED:  The special presentation of What You Do Matters is a 22 minute video worth viewing.  The video outlines a number of issues that a number of experts have identified that are of concern to anyone living in the 1 million Sq Km area of the Lake Winnipeg Basin.  Click here to view the video.

While the guide was developed to address issues within the Lake Winnipeg Basin, the best practices described in the guide can be applied to aid any lake experiencing eutrophication (nutrient loading). Nutrient loading can lead to severe and potentially toxic algal blooms.

These practices can help combat nutrient loading in Lake Winnipeg, the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world, and also help water bodies such as the United States and Canada’s Lake Erie; Hungary’s Lake Balaton; Japan’s Lake Biwa; Lake Victoria in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya; and Lake Dianchi in China.

“We want lake friendly practices and actions to become second nature to people,” said Henry David (Hank) Venema, director of IISD’s Water Innovation Centre, one of the collaborators. “We’re learning lessons and coming up with innovative solutions in the Lake Winnipeg Basin, and we can share these to help other countries experiencing similar problems.”

Colleen Sklar, Executive Director of the Lake Friendly Project shared that the real strength of Do What Matters: Lake friendly practices and actions is that it highlights that everyone—business, government, farmers, homeowners—all need to be part of a broad-based solutions culture that can save money and create other environmental benefits while healing our lake.

Among the best practices featured in the guide are:

  • Sustainable procurement policies for lake friendly products.
  • Nutrient recycling and recovery from wastewater treatment facilities.
  • The use of native grasses and plants requiring low nutrient and water inputs.
  • The use of permeable materials such as wood decking or gravel for parking pads and sidewalks to allow water to percolate into the ground.
  • On-farm water storage and runoff reuse (for example using conserved and restored wetlands).

The full guide to lake friendly practices and actions can be found at http://www.lakefriendly.ca/pdf/Lake_Friendly_Practices_and_Actions.pdf

  The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce launched a multi-year strategic direction at the recent AGM on April 29, 2012 that will see the Chambers unanimously supporting a coordinated and unified direction to work on the most challenging environmental issue that this province has ever seen.

“The Chambers are fortunate to have partners in this process such as the Red River Basin Commission, Manitoba Lotteries,  Keystone Agricultural Producers, IISD, the mayors and reeves of the north basin, Rivers West, Manitoba Pork and Robert Sandford, EPCOR Chair, United Nations Water for Life Decade, “ said Graham Starmer, CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “ We believe strongly in the power of ‘us’ and approaching this from a unified and integrated lens – stronger together.”

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