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Lake Winnipeg

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Lake Winnipeg, the last remains of glacial Lake Agassiz, is the 10th largest lake in the world by surface area. It lies on the boundary between the Interior Plains and the Southwestern Canadian Shield. Up to five and a half million people rely on the health of Lake Winnipeg. The lake is an economic powerhouse that supports a $100 million a year tourism industry and a $25 million a year fishing industry (Halter, 2007). Furthermore, more than 23,000 permanent residents live in 30 communities along the shores of Lake Winnipeg, including 11 First Nations communities. Seven Manitoba Provincial Parks are located on the south basin of Lake Winnipeg including Hecla/Grindstone, Beaver Creek, Camp Morton, Winnipeg Beach, Elk Island, and Grand Beach. Lake Winnipeg consists of a shallow, southern basin and larger, deeper north basin. The two…show more content…
This ratio makes Lake Winnipeg more susceptible to excessive nutrient levels, leading to massive algal blooms and lake-wide eutrophication. Nutrient entry points include the Winnipeg River from the east, The Saskatchewan River from the west, the Red River from the south, and precipitation. The largest source of total phosphorus (68% total phosphorus load) and nitrogen (34% total nitrogen load) to Lake Winnipeg is the Red River, followed by the Winnipeg River as second largest. Approximately 60% of phosphorus and 54% of nitrogen that enters the lake through these tributaries and precipitation is retained. The only major outflow point is the Nelson River from the northeast. The Nelson River allows approximately 2500 tonnes of phosphorus to flow out of the lake, and has been used for electric power generation since 1976 (LWF, 2011). Elevated nutrient concentrations at the southern end of Lake Winnipeg are most likely a result of the nutrient-rich inflow of the Red River, with phosphorus concentrations being almost three times higher in the south
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