June 6, 2005

WINNIPEG, May 27, 2005

The Honourable St├ęphane Dion, Minister of the Environment and the Honourable Reg Alcock, President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board today announced a $1.1 million per year Government of Canada investment in the future of the Lake Winnipeg watershed.

Funds will be used to enhance the scope of water quality monitoring efforts on the Red River and the south basin of Lake Winnipeg and provide an ongoing assessment of the biological health of these systems.

"Having basic information on the state of our water resources and on those factors which threaten their sustainability, is at the core of the Government of Canada's environmental responsibilities," said Minister Dion. "Lake Winnipeg is Canada's sixth Great Lake and its watershed supplies drinking water for thousands, supports a valuable commercial fishery and provides subsistence for Aboriginal communities. Today's investment will lead to more comprehensive information for future actions to restore and protect the watershed and therefore Canadians' health and prosperity."

"The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Lake Winnipeg through both scientific and watershed management approaches," said Minister Alcock. "This important investment complements the recent federal and provincial announcements on the transfer of the research vessel Namao to the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium, and the establishment of the Lake Winnipeg Implementation Committee. Together these provide a platform for governments and concerned parties to develop a long term strategy for the restoration and protection of Lake Winnipeg.

The Government of Canada has made substantial investments in water and water infrastructure projects across the country in recent years. Since 2000, the government has partnered with other levels of government in projects worth approximately $1.2 billion.

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