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Give Manitoba’s reindeer cousins a safe winter home

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As images of reindeer and snowy evergreens appear as part of our seasonal celebrations, it’s time to care for the reindeer cousins right here in Manitoba – the woodland caribou.

Of the 15 caribou ranges in Manitoba, the Owl-Flintstone range around Nopiming Provincial Park is the most at risk. The Wilderness Committee has proposed a new protected area adjacent to Nopiming Provincial Park, called the Nopiming-Owl Lake Caribou Protected Area, based upon the habitat area and proposal identified in the government’s 2011 Manitoba Draft Action Plan for this caribou range.

There have been many strategy documents published by governments over the last few years, but little on-the-ground action. All the strategies say the same thing: these shy forest icons need large tracts of undisturbed forest to thrive. So let’s give it to them!

You can help by taking this simple step right now: write a letter and tell the Manitoba government to give the Owl-Flintstone caribou the gift of a protected winter home, just like they called for in 2011.

Click here to write your letter now >>

To read more about the woodland caribou and our expeditions into winter caribou habitat, check out this blog post. To view a map of the proposed protected area, click here.

 


Photo: Caribou (Jakob Dulisse).

 

No Crude Oil Shipments Through Churchill, Manitoba!

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We need you to raise your voice against a terrible plan to ship crude oil through northern Manitoba communities to the Port of Churchill, and then by tanker through Hudson Bay. It’s a terrible idea that would put this fragile ecological area at risk!

Most people only know Churchill as the place to see polar bears and beluga whales; in fact, it’s the best place in the world to see them. Omnitrax, the company that owns the port and railway, plans to put those polar bears and belugas in jeopardy by shipping crude oil through this region.

We’ve already documented many aspects of this plan that simply won’t work. You can read about the area’s lack of oil spill containment equipment on our blog post here, and even see a government video of cleanup equipment failing in icy northern waters. You can read about how dangerous this rail line is in this blog post, which chronicles four separate derailments and accidents that occurred on this rail line while I was travelling to and from Churchill in the fall of 2013.

For some of the remote communities along the rail line, this single railway is their only access to the outside world – and to each other. How can oil spill response equipment be transported into these communities, when the only rail line has an accident on it? How do you evacuate people when there is no road into these communities? How do we safeguard the population, the wildlife, and the lands and waters that provide for them, when the only access – the rail line – is blocked by a train derailment?

Finally, Hudson Bay itself has no crude oil being shipped through it right now. We do not need to put Hudson Bay at risk. Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec will all share the risk if crude oil is transported through Hudson Bay. This plan does not need to happen!

Please use this letter-writing tool to contact federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, and voice your opinion today! Share this information with your family, friends and neighbours – the more people who speak up, the better.

We must ban crude oil shipments through Hudson Bay to protect marine ecosystems, to protect the fragile northern ecology, and to protect the Bushline and Bayline communities – and the territories they rely on to thrive.

Click here to write to the Minister of Transport today.                      

 


Photo: The rail line heading into the Port of Churchill, Manitoba (Eric Reder).

Comment on Manitoba’s Plan for Nopiming Provincial Park

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The Manitoba government is asking for public input on a new Management Plan for Nopiming Provincial Park. This is welcome news, and it means that Manitobans get to choose what kind of park they want. Should mine companies bulldoze the forest? Should the military cut down trees at will? Should wakeboard competitions be held on wilderness lakes in the park? Manitobans can have their say to help keep our park natural and wild.

The Wilderness Committee has assembled A Greenprint for Nopiming, a guidance document for the government to consider as they create a draft park plan. Please take the time to read it, and then use our letter-writing tool to send a letter to the government, asking them to implement these recommendations.

Write a letter now >>


Photo: Nopiming Provincial Park (Eric Reder).

Help protect the Lower Bird River

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The Bird River is a real conservation hotspot in Manitoba, one that we’ve highlighted in our recent educational report, Wild Manitoba: 5 Natural Treasures at Risk. This region encompasses a wealth of wildlife, is relatively pristine and is accessible for many people by foot or by paddle.

However, there is an imminent risk to the Bird River. 

Cabot Corporation, the company that operates the Tanco Mine at Bernic Lake, has proposed a plan to drain water from Bernic Lake – a lake that has been contaminated from their mine operations – into the Bird River. The Manitoba government has sent Tanco’s application back to them, requesting additional research and information about the proposal. The plan could easily be resubmitted though, as the Bird River has no protection whatsoever right now.

The Wilderness Committee is proposing a new protected area to encompass the lower Bird River, one that will protect it and the surrounding lands for future generations.

Please join us in our campaign by sending a letter to the Manitoba government, asking them to permanently protect the lands and waters of the lower Bird River.

Write a letter now >>

 


Photo: The lower Bird River (Eric Reder).

Protect these 5 natural treasures now!

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Manitobans are fortunate to have access to many stunning wild lakes, rivers, and forests. These wild places are both beautiful and necessary to our survival, and our ability to thrive within a functioning ecosystem. This year, as in years past, the Wilderness Committee has identified five key areas in Manitoba that urgently require protection from our provincial government.

These areas include:

  • Lower Bird River
  • Red Deer Lake
  • Duck Mountain Provincial Park (where logging is still permitted)
  • Churchill and Hudson Bay polar bear habitat
  • Nopiming-Owl Lake caribou habitat

You can read more about the threatened wilderness areas listed above in our educational report, Wild Manitoba: 5 Natural Treasures at Risk.

Safeguarding these natural treasures will put us on the path to the Wilderness Committee's target: to see 20 per cent of Manitoba protected by the year 2020. But to achieve this goal, we need your help!

Take action today by writing to Manitoba’s Premier, letting him know how much you support efforts to protect the province’s wilderness.

Write your letter today >>

 


Photo: Lower Bird River (Eric Reder).

Stop mining in Manitoba's Provincial Parks

Manitoba is one of the few jurisdictions in the world to allow mining activity in provincial parks. Our province has 14 parks and one park reserve that are under threat from the destructive mining industry. The parks play host to a staggering 792 mining claims, 22 mineral exploration projects and 4 mineral exploration licenses. Some of these are in the province’s most well-known parks, including Whiteshell, Nopiming, Paint Lake and Grass River. We know these parks need to be protected so they can provide ecosystem services such as water and air filtration, biological diversity and climate regulation. Parks also provide us with places to relax, learn and enjoy the magnificent wilderness Manitoba offers. Mining definitely does not support healthy ecosystems, provide recreational value nor does it fit into the vision of our provincial park system.

Help Stop the Manitoba "Peat Rush"

Manitoba is suffering from a “peat rush” right now, with companies currently trying to get approval to strip mine thousands of hectares of boreal lowlands to harvest peat moss. Peatlands, however, are an important part of a healthy Manitoba environment.

Peatlands, which are all wetlands, are natural filters that provide and store clean, clear fresh water. Peat lowlands also provide important habitat for unique plant species like the carnivorous pitcher plant (right), as well as moose. But the most significant benefit of peatlands is that they store vast amounts of carbon, which helps mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Mining peat will reduce or eliminate all of these ecological benefits.

Please write to the Minister for Conservation and Water Stewardship, and let him know your opinion on this important public land issue.

Write your letter today!

Voice your opinion on the new Red Deer Lake WMA

One of the most effective ways to bring change is to write a letter to your elected representatives. Although it takes a little more time, a simple typed or handwritten letter is considered to represent 500 like-minded citizens. Writing a short letter is one of the easiest ways to exercise your voice and participate in active citizenry which is crucial to ensuring your vision for the future is heard.