stopspiny.org Spiny waterfleas are small aquatic predators native to Eurasia. The first report of spiny waterfleas in North America was in Lake Ontario in 1982 and was introduced to the Great Lakes in ballast water from ocean-going ships. “Spiny” is a species of zooplankton – small animals that rely on water currents and wind to move long distances. They prefer large, deep, clear lakes, but can also be found in shallower waters. 

LakesmartLakeSmart is an award-winning environmental outreach program unique to the Lake of the Woods area of northwestern Ontario. A signature program of the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA), it is focused on environmental education and helping lake users “live and play green” at the lake.

sobr cvrIt seems just like yesterday, but it’s been seven years since the last Rainy-Lake of the Woods State of the Basin Report (SOBR) was published. Since 2014, we have learned a lot about our lake, its watershed and the priority concerns about water quality, invasive species, nutrients and toxic algae, and much, much more.  In May, we launched a major project to update the State of the Basin Report to 2021, in a multi-jurisdictional collaboration of the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation with the Territorial Planning Unit of Grand Council Treaty #3, members of the International Multi-Agency Arrangement (government agencies, U.S. Tribal, non-governmental organizations), and the International Joint Commission watershed Board.  
Publication of the SOBR 2021 Edition is planned for March 2022.

FdtnTown Island Map ScreengrabThe Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is a non-profit organization that works to protect natural areas through securing properties and managing them for the long term, ensuring their ecological integrity. NCC is partnering with the City of Kenora, local residents, cottagers, and campers to protect 82 hectares (202 acres) on Town Island.

Engagement slide 240x257Hundreds provided feedback to Environment and Climate Change Canada on its proposed ecosystem objectives and potential phosphorus reduction targets to tackle the algae bloom problem on Lake of the Woods, via ECCC Lake of the Woods website and during town-hall webinars organized by our Foundation. 

Public sentiment expressed strong desire for Canada to “get on with it” and take steps to reduce phosphorus loads, and to do this in congjunction with Minnesota, that has already finalized phosphours cut targets — the two countries should not have separate targets or approaches. 

Here are some more of the main points that we heard you say...

2021 Forum cvrThe Proceedings Report of the 2021 International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum is available for download at the Foundation’s website:  lowwsf.com/forum-proceedings .Held March 10-11, via Zoom due to Covid-19, over 180 researchers, resource managers, policy makers and members of the public put Lake of the Woods and its watershed under the microscope. The report covers a wide range of subjects:  including: watershed governance, aquatic invasive species, nutrients and algae, water regulation and monitoring.

Most presentations were recorded and are available for viewing for a limited time at lowwsf.com/forum-presentations.

Please download a copy of the report or go to the website to view any presentation recordings that are of interest to you.

2021 Forum cvr 621x890All eyes focused “virtually” on our watershed and lakes at the 18th annual International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum, held on March 10 and 11.  Over 180 participated – a record attendance, with 21 presentations and Q&A sessions organized into theme groups of Water Governance, Aquatic Invasive Species, Nutrients, Canadian Phosphorus Options, Regulation, and Monitoring. 

Priscilla Simard and Mona Gordon, Knowledge Keepers with the Women’s Council of Grand Council Treaty #3 opened the Forum with a prayer and ceremony honouring Nibi (water).  Their thoughtful words, reflecting on the need to work together to respect and protect Nibi in our watershed, got our meetings and discussions started in a good way.  Welcome addresses focusing on the strong binational collaboration in our watershed were provided by Consul General Ariel Delouya, from the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis and Consul Brian Koontz, from the U.S. Consulate in Winnipeg.

budget2021Great news for Lake of the Woods in Canada’s Budget 2021.  The federal Budget included $1.8 million for Lake of the Woods. This is bridging funding for the current year only, but will allow Environment and Climate Change Canada to maintain research and monitoring activities and continue efforts towards developing phosphorus pollution reduction targets to address toxic algae in the lake.  We anticipate that further funding will follow, likely as part of the large-lakes mandate of the Canada Water Agency, currently being established.