Lake Winnipeg nominated as one of most threatened

Evelyn (l) and Jake Wall enjoy a walk along Lake Winnipeg in Gimli, Manitoba Saturday, October 9,...

Evelyn (l) and Jake Wall enjoy a walk along Lake Winnipeg in Gimli, Manitoba Saturday, October 9, 2010. MARCEL CRETAIN / QMI Agency

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:10 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- Lake Winnipeg has been nominated for a dubious honour: The world's most threatened lake.

The Global Nature Fund will name its choice for the Most Threatened Lake, 2013 on Feb. 2, World Wetland Day.

"As one of the largest lakes in the world, Lake Winnipeg is very well known, but not much is known internationally about the dramatic environmental problems of the lake and the wetlands in its watershed," said Udo Gattenlöhner, of Global Nature Fund.

Gattenlöhner said "recent changes in Canadian policies seem to be eroding the protection particularly of vulnerable water ecosystems -- and it is disappointing because this does not really fit with our image of Canada."

Past "winners" include Lake Titicaca, on the border of Bolivia and Peru, and the Dead Sea, which is shared by Israel, Jordan and Palestine.

In August, the federal government pledged to spend $18 million cleaning up the lake.

Alex Salki, science advisory council chair to the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, said that science-based management approach has not yet been implemented.

"Lake Winnipeg is increasingly threatened by activities that destroy natural habitats, exacerbate flooding, reduce biodiversity, and contribute to climate warming," Salki said.

Lake Winnipeg is the 10th-largest freshwater lake in the world, with a watershed that spans one million square kilometres.


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