Ninette, MB - Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris announced $46,500 through the Recreational Fisheries Partnership Program to install an aerator to improve water quality and improve fish habitat for Pelican Lake. The Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program forms a key component of the Government of Canada's conservation agenda to better protect and promote recreational fisheries.
"Countless anglers from across Westman all have a story about their luck at Pelican Lake," said Larry Maguire. "Pelican Lake is not only well used by local anglers, but it's great for the region's economy as it brings tourists and fishing enthusiasts from across the province. I am pleased our Government is partnering with local anglers to improve the fishing habitat so it can be enjoyed for generations to come."
Pelican lake is a 17.5km long by 2km wide shallow body of water with an average depth of 3 meters. The lake suffers from heavy eutrophication (enriched with nutrients causing algae blooms), with as much as 1 meter of suspended organic material on the bottom. The lake is also subject to winter fish die-offs, occurring once every 5 to 10 years. In 2013, the Healthy Lake Committee raised funds to install a small 90 cfm lake bottom micro-bubbler aeration system at the north end of the lake to test whether aeration could help clean up the lake and prevent future winter die-offs. To date, the efforts are positive as they've seen significant de-stratification of the water column and a significant reduction in the suspended organ layer on the lake bottom.
Trevor Maguire, the project lead from the Healthy Lake Committee said, "Receiving this grant is a huge step forward to improving the health of Pelican Lake. A healthy lake benefits the recreational fishery, the people that use the lake and the businesses that support the lake and surrounding area, everyone wins."
The health of Pelican Lake directly affects the local economy. Lake activities such as recreational fishing, boating, and swimming draw many visitors to the area. This means traffic for the local businesses; visitors need groceries, fishing supplies, fuel, and other commodities. When the lake is unhealthy these visitors stay away, and the local businesses are directly affected. Healthy and sustainable recreational fisheries are of great social and economic importance to Canada. According to the 2010 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada, more than 3.3 million adult anglers participated in recreational fishing activities in Canada. These activities contributed a total of $8.3 billion to various local economies.
"Larry and his staff have been enthusiastic supporters of our committee's cause, and have shown this not only by working with us to get this grant, but also by taking part in events such as our ice fishing derby," said Trevor Maguire. "It is evident that Larry genuinely cares about causes that benefit communities and people in them."
The Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program has been very successful, funding more than 280 projects across Canada and investing nearly $16 million since its launch in 2013. The program has excelled at bringing together like-minded partners and their resources to restore, rebuild and rehabilitate recreational fisheries habitat. As a result, the Government announced in Budget 2015 that it is extending the program and will continue to support recreational anglers.
Larry Maguire concluded, "I am thrilled that we are able to move this project forward. I want to extend my thanks to all the volunteers from the Healthy Lake Committee and everyone from the surrounding municipalities who pour their heart and soul into the community. By working together we are getting results for Westman!"