Just two days to comment on changes to manure management regulation

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Alexis Kanu, executive director of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, urges people to register their concerns about proposed regulatory changes that will loosen rules related to  manure application.

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LWF manure regulations

Read foundation’s submission

LWF LMMMR

By Jim Mosher

Time is of the essence for those who support or oppose proposed regulatory changes governing the application of livestock manure on cropland in Manitoba.

The Lake Winnipeg Foundation is urging Manitobans to ensure their voices are heard regarding the provincial government’s breakaway a plan to loosen restrictions on hog producers in the province. That plan includes allowing expanded opportunities to spread livestock manure on cropland. It’s a significant departure from a more rigid regulatory framework under the NDP.

There are just two days left to respond to a plan by the provincial government to soften regulations governing the hog industry in Manitoba.

Changes to regulations governing the application of manure on agricultural lands were first revealed when the government tabled “The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act” March 16. The omnibus bill — one of five pieces of legislation postponed by the Opposition NDP until the fall legislative session — proposes loosening regulations governing hog producers.

The Pallister government plans to lift the NDP ban on winter spreading of manure, among other things such as removing the ‘red tape’ associated with hog barn expansion and new hog barns.

The non-profit Lake Winnipeg Foundation made its own submission to Sustainable Development, the department that is responsible, among other things, to ensure water is protected in the province.

In its submission, the foundation argues cogently there should be no changes to the “Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation” (LMMMR) until ‘robust data’ is available “on the effectiveness of current and proposed regulatory measures to protect water quality.”

“No amendments to the LMMMR and associated legislation should be made until conclusive, peer-reviewed information has been provided,” the LWF submission concludes.

ALGAL BLOOMS BOWLING OVER LAKE

An excess of the plant nutrient phosphorus has spurred on the process of eutrophication that is adversely affecting the Lake Winnipeg ecosystem. Eutrophication is a well-understood process which is driven by an excess of phosphorus in a waterway. Too much phosphorus increases the frequency, duration and intensity of algal blooms, and is linked to a variety of other cascading effects, including changes of biota compositions in affected waterways.

Because phosphorus is a key nutrient in livestock manure, the application of manure to croplands must be limited to the optimal rate at which it can be absorbed by plants. That optimal agronomic rate is routinely exceeded even under existing regulations, the LWF submission to Sustainable Development states.

Alexis Kanu is executive director of the foundation. “We’re concerned because the evidence to demonstrate that the proposed changes will not increase phosphorus loading hasn’t been provided,” Kanu said in an interview Mon., May 8. “LWF is a science-based organization. We believe that decisions we make for Lake Winnipeg should be based on data.

“We’re calling for the evidence that would demonstrate clearly that the industry can be expanded and practices can be changed without increasing phosphorus loading to the lake.”

Kanu says the foundation’s about 1,000 paid members and many non-member supporters have been reaching out to the non-profit to learn what they can do to have their voices heard. It’s important that those voices be heard by government, she says.

She urges people to weigh in on the proposed regulatory changes. People don’t have to write a lot, rather register their views directly. “This doesn’t have to be an essay. This can simply be an indication of a citizen’s concern. It’s a simple way that folks can indicate their position,” Kanu said. “From our perspective, we need to be data-driven in making these kinds of changes.”

Kanu encourages those who haven’t yet offered their views on the regulatory changes to LMMMR to take the opportunity soon. “This is a great opportunity for lake-lovers to speak up,” she concluded. “We are stronger when we are speaking together, collectively, for the health of the lake.”

The deadline to submit a comment on proposed LMMMR amendments is this Fri., May 12.

Submit your comments to:

Public Consultation – LMMMR Amendments

c/o Environmental Approvals Branch Manitoba Sustainable Development 160-123 Main Street, Box 80

Winnipeg, MB R3C 1A5

Publicregistry@gov.mb.ca

Fax: 204-948-2420

For more information, visit lakewinnipegfoundation.org

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