Manitoba's Conservation Hotspots

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. Unfortunately, many of these remaining natural areas are under direct threat from development, while water and air pollution threatens them from a distance. The Wilderness Committee has targeted five Manitoba places--Conservation Hotspots--where preservation will make a huge difference for important plants, animals and ecosystems.

From the Saskatchewan River Delta, one of the planet’s largest freshwater deltas and bird migratory stops, to Chitek Lake Park Reserve, the only place in Manitoba where five species of ungulates exist – wood bison, woodland caribou, moose, elk and white-tailed deer, these Hotspots are unique. A rare treat of clear river water flowing through southern Manitoba can be found in the Whitemouth River Area, while the Fish Lake Area hosts a unique plant community in its rich calcareous peatlands. Finally, Gardenton and Pansy public pastures in southern Manitoba are home to tall grass prairie patches, one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada with less than one percent remaining.

These special Conservation Hotspots are at risk from a variety of manmade threats including hydroelectric damming disrupting water flows, encroaching agricultural development, logging and mining. It is sad fact that commercial interests have a large influence on protection decisions on public lands in this province. Manitobans need to ask government for a timeline and a goal for the amount of fully protected area in this province, as well as the resources and political will to reach that goal.

We need action now! Protecting the areas listed in this paper would increase our protected areas by almost one percent, a modest but significant goal. Help us ensure our rich natural heritage is preserved by voicing your opinion to the government, asking that Manitoba’s biodiversity and ecosystem services are protected in these Conservation Hotspots.

Take action and make your comments heard for the proposed Red Deer Lake Wildlife Management Area.


Google Map of Manitoba Conservation Hotspots
These are areas of high conservation value that are proposed for permanent protection by the Wilderness Committee. Click on them for more information.

View Manitoba Conservation Hotspots in a larger map


This campaign is supported by the Winnipeg Foundation.

Recent Developments

2 weeks 2 days ago
A Canadian environmental group is angry about recent mining exploration in the Cat Lake area of Nopiming Provincial Park, and wants the land protected instead.   Eric Reder is with Wilderness Committee.   Earlier this week, on an ice fishing trip he discovered workers with heavy equipment in the forest and patches of land with cut-down trees.   "Disturb a park? This is atrocious," said Reder.   "Parks aren't a place for economic benefit. Parks are put in place for the health of our planet.”
14 weeks 2 days ago
Please join Wilderness Committee Campaigner Eric Reder and Bird Studies Canada expert Christian Artuso for on-the-ground stories from their western water and wildlife wanderings.

Take Action

Help protect the Lower Bird River

Write a letter!

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, mining plans pose an imminent risk to the Bird River. 

Cabot Corporation, the company that operates the Tanco Mine at Bernic Lake, proposed a plan to drain water from Bernic Lake – a lake that has been contaminated from their mine operations – into the Bird River. After many Manitobans appealed to the provincial government about this issue, the application to drain the lake was withdrawn. But a new mining claim has been discovered on the banks of the river.

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!

Write a letter!

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. 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).

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.

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