South Basin of Lake Winnipeg Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping Project

The Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF), an environmental non-government organization, was established in 2005 to restore and protect the health of Lake Winnipeg and its watershed. In 2010, with support from the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (LWBSF) LWF undertook a project to enhance research and monitoring capacity in support of decision-making capacity for Lake Winnipeg. Based on an ecosystem assessment model developed by the Community Mapping Network in British Columbia (Mason and Knight, 2001; Mason and Booth, 2004) and applied to several provincial lakes, a proposal for a “Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping (SHIM) of Foreshore Areas of Lake Winnipeg South Basin and Development of Shoreline Management Guidelines” was prepared by LWF and submitted to the LWBSF.

With funding awarded by the LWBSF and additional support from Thomas Sill Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Small Change Fund, LWF co-ordinated the Lake Winnipeg SHIM project. The team of environmental specialists assembled by LWF undertook field data collection, data analyses, report preparation, data product development and project management, and included: Terra Limnic Consulting (Winslaw, B.C.), Native Plant Solutions (Ducks Unlimited Canada, Winnipeg, Man.), Aquatic Environmental Services (St. Andrews, Man.); Whelan Enns Associates Inc. (Winnipeg, Man.), Benson Fishers (Gimli, Man.), the University of Manitoba, and Washington State University.

In addition to providing science-based information on Lake Winnipeg south basin shorelines, SHIM data can be used to locate point and non-point nutrient sources, identify priority aquatic ecosystems that support nutrient reduction and sequestration, and achieve overall nutrient load reductions to the lake, the ultimate goal of the LWBSF program. Scientific studies indicate that most nutrients to Lake Winnipeg come from sources closest to the lake (The State of Lake Winnipeg Report, 2011). Communities and infrastructure situated directly adjacent to Lake Winnipeg pose significant risks to water quality from nutrient and contaminant loading, and to fish and wildlife from shore habitat alteration, disruption or destruction.

Creating a baseline inventory of existing Lake Winnipeg south basin shoreline conditions is the first step in preparing an integrated master plan for any future sustainable development. All shoreline activities require that regulators have access to science-based information to guide decisions for the protection, rehabilitation or development of shoreline areas. The Lake Winnipeg SHIM is a first attempt to provide some of this missing information.

The SHIM Reports; • Foreshore Inventory Mapping, • Ecological Habitat Index Ranking, • An Overview of Fish and Fish Habitat in the Littoral Zone of the Lake Winnipeg South Basin, and • Survey of Avian and Vegetation Communities in the Littoral and Riparian Zones of the Lake Winnipeg South Basin,

Section A contains the Citizens Report. Section B includes: The Foreshore Inventory Mapping report and the Shoreline Habitat Inventory Mapping report.

The Ecological Habitat Index for the SHIM fieldwork data analysis is included here also.

Section C are the Recommendations arising from this first demonstration SHIM project for a Manitoba Lake. A preface written by Alex Salki, project lead for the Lake Winnipeg Foundation describes the project.

Section D includes the References and Sources, and all other appendices, and attachments.

There are two Acknowledgements listings: in the Citizens Report, and at the beginning of the SHIM report.

Each section of the SHIM 2011-2012 report begins with a cover page that lists the contents for that section.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

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Author Lake Winnipeg Foundation
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