Lake Winnipeg Foundation Inc. (LWF), a charitable, non-government organization, was established in 2005 to promote the restoration and protection of Lake Winnipeg and its watershed. In 2010, the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (LWBSF) presented an opportunity for the LWF to propose a project that would enhance research and monitoring capacity to assist in decision making 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 “Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping of Foreshore Areas of Lake Winnipeg South Basin and Development of Shoreline Management Guidelines” was prepared by the LWF and submitted to the LWBSF.
With funding awarded by the LWBSF and additional support from Thomas Sill Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Small Change Fund, the LWF coordinated the Lake Winnipeg SHIM project. The team of environmental specialists assembled by the LWF undertook field data collection, data analyses, report preparation, data product development, and project management and included: Terra Limnic Consulting (Winslaw, BC), Native Plant Solutions (DUC, Winnipeg, Mb), Aquatic Environmental Services (St. Andrews, Mb); Whelan Enns Associates Inc. (Winnipeg, Mb), Benson Fishers (Gimli, Mb), University of Manitoba, and Washington State University.
In addition to providing science-based information on Lake Winnipeg south basin shorelines, SHIM will help 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 (State of Lake Winnipeg 1999 to 2007). 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 options. 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
Part 1 - A Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping Report for the South Basin of Lake Winnipeg
Part 2 - An Overview Survey of Fish and Fish Habitat in Littoral Zone of the South Basin of Lake Winnipeg
part 3 - A Survey of Avian and Vegetation Communities in Littoral and Riparian Zone of South Basin of Lake Winnipeg
View the complete dataset on the CanWIN datahub