Premier Greg Selinger may have had a little surprise when 3,600 letters were delivered to his office at the Legislature on Aug. 27, asking for the Lower Bird River in the eastern part of the province be permanently protected from development.
The letters came from the wilderness committee, who in the past has protested about past concerns involving the body of water. In 2013 the committee brought forward their concern with a proposed plan by the mining company TANCO, which would have seen the company drain water contaminated by mine waste from Bernic lake to Lower Bird River.
The committee planned and executed a two-day event called paddling for protection. The event saw nearly 40 people paddle the river last September. The paddle was to recognize world rivers day, which is on Sept. 28, but to also show Manitobans the beauty of the water.
After the event the government withdrew the proposed water drainage project.
The committee has saved all immediate risk to the Lower Bird River, but wants to gain full legislative protection next.
The end goal is for there to be a 17 kilometre long protected area, stretching 1.5 kilometres on each side of the river.
“The more Manitobans learn about the amazing lower Bird River region, the louder the call for protection becomes,” said Eric Reder, Manitoba Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee. “We expect the Manitoba government will soon begin taking steps to establish a new protected area on the lower Bird River.”
The next paddle for protection will be this year on Sept. 12.