MB Votes 2019: Will you commit to a timeline and target to protect remaining wetlands?
Full question: Healthy shorelines and wetlands limit the nutrients and sediment reaching Lake Winnipeg, yet Manitoba has no shoreline protection and new regulations that allow wetlands to be drained. Will you commit to a timeline and target to protect remaining wetlands?
PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF MANITOBA
The Manitoba NDP central office sent a response on behalf of all of their candidates.
“The NDP is committed to the principle of no net loss of wetlands benefits. That principle informed our introduction of The Surface Water Management Act, which sought to expand protections for surface water bodies and wetlands in Manitoba. We are committed to a target-based system that can provide accountability and transparency, in order to protect all classes of remaining wetlands.”
Manitoba Liberal Party
The Manitoba Liberal Party central office sent a response on behalf of most Liberal candidates. See exceptions below.
“Our party has pledged to invest $502 million into cleaning Lake Winnipeg including $50 million for pollutant-reducing projects outside of improving the North End Water Treatment facility which is currently the single largest contributor of phosphorous into Lake Winnipeg.
We have also included working with landowners to hold back water and using best practices and technology to ensure that our agriculture sector isn’t contributing to the deterioration of our lakes.
Our plan is to ensure the protection of current wetlands as well as restoring many that have been lost as a part of our wilderness section.”
Dr. John Gerrard, Liberal Party, River Heights
I believe that we need to achieve a level of stewardship of Lake Winnipeg and our boreal forest (including stewardship of peat bogs and marshes) which will provide for improved shoreline and wetlands protection. The issue of shoreline protection on Lake Winnipeg is an important one, but given the size of the lake, the natural history of the lake, and the fact that it is managed as a reservoir for Manitoba Hydro, it is one that will be difficult to achieve a situation with no shoreline erosion. Given the vast size of the peatlands in Manitoba's boreal forest, (peatlands are said to make up one third of Manitoba) and the potential for higher temperatures due to global warming, developing and implementing a strategy to manage wetlands in northern Manitoba is a gargantuan task. I believe we can achieve, in four years an overall goal as to what is achievable in terms of shoreline protection, and the outline of a strategy for future management of the boreal forest which optimizes our ability to protect shoreline and to preserve wetlands.
Green Party of Manitoba
The Green Party of Manitoba central office sent a response on behalf of most of their candidates. See exceptions below.
The Green Party of Manitoba is the only party to have a proven plan to protect the wetlands and actually increase the number of wetlands to help protect Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. Greens are committed to saving the environment and restoring natural habitat.
Liz Clayton, Green Party of Manitoba, Agassiz
We are committed to saving and restoring wetlands - we have a proven plan for this.
Martha Jo Willard, Green Party of Manitoba, Notre Dame
Marshes and wetlands are our natural water filters. Wetlands are distinct ecosystems. The water level can fluctuate throughout the year but it is noted for being primarily oxygen-free and made up of aquatic plants, with the ability to thrive in hydric soil. They are important in modulating shoreline wave action, reducing the impact of flooding as well as they possess the ability to absorb pollutants, thereby improving water quality. They improve biodiversity by providing a habitat for a wide variety of animals as well as having some species of plants and animals that do not occur elsewhere. The fringe of wetlands at the edge of the lake protects excess nutrients from agriculture reaching the lake and prevents algal blooms that choke the lake of oxygen. Strict limits of nutrient affluent into Lake Winnipeg must be instituted and fines levied for agricultural producers who violate those limits.
Janine Gibson, Green Party Manitoba, Steinbach
Healthy shorelines and wetlands limit the nutrients and sediment reaching Lake Winnipeg, it is shameful Manitoba has no shoreline protection and new regulations that allow wetlands to be drained. I strongly commit to a timeline and target to protect remaining wetlands. This is work I have been lobbying to accomplish for over 20 years!
Andrea Shalay, Green Party of Manitoba, Union Station
The Green Party of Manitoba is committed to restoring natural habitat and is the only party to have a proven plan to protect the wetlands and to actually increase the number of wetlands, which will help to protect lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba.
David Nickarz, Green Party Of Manitoba, Wolseley
Lake Winnipeg has been declared the world’s “Threatened Lake of the Year for 2013” by the Global Nature Fund, an international environmental protection foundation;
• excess phosphorus is entering the lake from inadequately treated sewage and from agricultural run-off, causing toxic blue-green algal blooms which are poisonous to vertebrates, including humans, and which choke out other life forms and undermine the balance of the lake’s food web; and
• lax sewage treatment regulations and agricultural run-off and are the main culprits creating the lake’s problems; Be it resolved: The Green Party of Manitoba supports increased efforts to reduce phosphorus run-off into Lake Winnipeg, which would include:
• mandating the strengthening and enforcement of manure management regulations for hog barns, chicken barns and feedlots in the Red River Basin to eliminate manure run-off;
• mandating proper sewage treatment and water testing by all municipalities in the Lake Winnipeg watershed to eliminate the contamination of waterways; and
• banning mining of peat lands, which are the filter for Lake Winnipeg; Be it further resolved: The Green Party of Manitoba urges the Province of Manitoba to take a stronger lead in pressing the federal government and other government bodies responsible for the Lake Winnipeg watershed to take urgent action towards establishing and maintaining effective stewardship for the lake. Watershed Management & Wetland Restoration Approved 2015 Whereas:
• Manitoba is experiencing higher levels of precipitation year-round, likely due to climate change;
• the disappearance of wetlands over the last century and the construction of drainage ditches has resulted in higher and faster flows of water off the land into rivers and lakes which, in turn, flood their banks and cause damage to property and the lands flooded;
• the restoration of wetlands on privately owned farmland would reduce the likelihood and degree of flooding in rivers and lakes; and
• farmers would require financial incentives to convert some of their farmland back to wetlands;
Be it resolved: The Green Party of Manitoba supports:
• policies and practices that provide farmers with incentives to create and maintain wetlands on their property, including: o reducing the current farmland municipal assessment portioning rate of 26% on farmland converted and maintained as wetlands, and increasing it on land left in production; and o providing farmers with grants to build water control and dam structures