Recent Updates from the Manitoba Field Office

2 days 7 hours ago

WINNIPEG — As seasonal talk of pulling Santa's sleigh begins, the Wilderness Committee is warning the provincial government that it is running out of time to release 15 federally required habitat protection plans -- one for each of the woodland caribou ranges in Manitoba.

7 weeks 1 day ago

WINNIPEG — The Wilderness Committee is highlighting continuing damage to Nopiming Provincial Park from off-road vehicle use and is calling for a strengthened management plan to be finalized

7 weeks 3 days ago

By Eric Reder

Winnipeg Free Press, October 11, 2016

 

For 10 years, I’ve wandered through our northern forest, walking through clearcuts auditing the logging operations, or bushwhacking along rock ridges inspecting woodland caribou habitat. Logging is taking a lot out of these woods, and it’s clear this ecosystem can’t handle the impact.

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Manitoba Field Office

Welcome to the Wilderness Committee's Manitoba Field Office. The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based wilderness preservation group with 60,000 members, supporters and volunteers, and we are hard at work on the ground in Manitoba. We’ve helped gain protection for over 50 major wilderness areas in Canada, including millions of hectares of critical wildlife habitats, and some of the world’s last large tracts of old-growth temperate rainforest and boreal forest. Through public education, grassroots mobilization, and strategic research, we are working on protecting the wild spaces and species in the province to ensure a healthy future for all Manitobans. We encourage you to join us in our work. 

To sign up for email action alerts and campaign updates from the Manitoba office, please complete the full form below:

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Stretching from the east side of Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg far into the province of Ontario is one of the greatest natural areas left on earth. The Heart of the Boreal is a vast wilderness filled with jack pine-covered granite ridges, black spruce and tamarack lowlands, and more lakes than you can imagine.

Manitobans are fortunate to still have vast expanses of intact, representative ecosystems within our province. These wild lands provide ecosystem services – byproducts of healthy and natural wild areas – to maintain our own health through clean air and clean water.

The vast expanse of Hudson Bay splits the center of Canada’s north country, allowing access to the Arctic Ocean. Here the remote shoreline – inaccessible from southern roads – is barren and wild, with sparse and stunted trees dotting the tundra. A hardy menagerie of animals make this habitat their home: arctic fox and muskox, polar bears and caribou, beluga whales and ring seals, Ross’ gulls and short-eared owls.

Manitoba’s provincial parks are home to remote sparkling lakes, clear rivers, sandy beaches and wild boreal forests. You can hike through natural grasslands in Spruce Woods, relax on the sand at Grand Beach, cross-country ski at Duck Mountain, spot rare orchids in Nopiming, or paddle down world-famous canoeing rivers in Atikaki.

In October 2014, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. filed a formal application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to build the Energy East pipeline – a 4,600-kilometre pipeline from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick intended to transport diluted bitumen from the tar sands.

Canadians are increasingly aware of the severe environmental issues associated with peat. For centuries peat was used as a source of fuel, and in modern times it is commonly used as a growing medium in amateur gardening. Unfortunately, peat mining is an incredibly destructive and unnecessary industry.

The north is often symbolized by caribou. School children even know of the massive herds made up of thousands of barren ground caribou migrating across the open tundra. The caribou is one of those iconic species, featured prominently on Canada’s 25-cent coin.

The Wilderness Committee has worked on boreal forest research and protection for decades. We were inspired to take action because the boreal forest makes up over half of Canada, is threatened on multiple levels by numerous industrial activities such as the tar sands, and has many wildlife and plants that are declining.

Make Your Voice Heard

Tell the federal government to strengthen its killer whale Action Plan

Speak up for BC’s killer whales today!

For over 15 years we’ve been fighting to protect species at risk like BC’s northern and southern resident killer whales. 

During the late 1990s, we campaigned with other environmental organizations to help create a federal endangered species law, which culminated in the Species At Risk Act (SARA) in 2003.

While this was good news, the federal government dragged its heels when it came to implementing SARA, especially identifying and protecting habitat and releasing species at risk recovery strategies. This was particularly true for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), which for years failed to identify critical habitat or properly address the risks to these killer whale populations.

After exhausting other avenues for change, we finally went to court with the Georgia Strait Alliance, David Suzuki Foundation and Raincoast Conservation Foundation, represented by Ecojustice. In 2010 we won a significant legal victory when the courts ruled that DFO had failed to legally protect the resident killer whales’ critical habitat “including their food supply and quality of their marine environment.”

Killer whales are among Canada’s most at risk and most beloved animals. But today there are just 83 southern resident killer whales and approximately 275-280 northern resident killer whales in the wild. These whales were on the original SARA listing in 2003, but 13 years and several successful lawsuits later, they’re still waiting for meaningful conservation action.

Today, that can change. And with your help it will!

The federal government’s latest draft Action Plan was released this June and we have until August 14, 2016 to give feedback. Action Plans are very important for the recovery of species at risk because they identify timelines for recovery, what actions are need to recover a species and how the actions are to be coordinated and implemented.

BC’s resident killer whales need a real plan that addresses their immediate threats -- loss of salmon, noise pollution and contaminated waters -- as well as their long term health and safety. They need a plan with clear enforcement roles and mechanisms. This draft has made a good start, as it considers fisheries’ closures, uses science to reduce toxic pollution exposure, and plans for marine protected areas. But much of the language is vague and unenforceable and it won’t help these whales in a meaningful way.

You can help make the Action Plan better by telling SARA and DFO to make it specific, time-bound and actionable.

Speak up for the whales today!


Photo: Breaching orca (Don Johnston)

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Thursday, September 22, 2016 (All day)
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