WHITEWATER LAKE MANITOBA

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OWNERSHIP AND LAND-USE

The Lake basin is Crown Land (public land) while the land surrounding Whitewater Lake is largely privately owned.

Whitewater Lake has been designated a Wildlife Management Area (WMA), hence the lake itself is under the control of the province of Manitoba. Ducks Unlimited Canada has a license to manage water levels on a small portion of the eastern side of Whitewater Lake. The use of motorized boats is prohibired on Whitewater Lake.

Waterfowl Hunting

Hunters are the most significant users of Whitewater Lake. Waterfowl hunting has a long history at Whitewater Lake and ths been a traditional use of the area since the time of settlement. Whitewater Lake also provides opportunities for Sandhill Crane hunting.

Depredation by waterfowl and Sandhill Cranes in surrounding agricultural fields is a concern. Economic losses due to depredation ranges yearly from insignificant to several thousand dollars.

Value to Muskrats and Waterfowl

The value of Whitewater Lake as a waterfowl and muskrat marsh has varied with changing water levels over the years. In 1933, 1934 and 1935 the lake was dry and had no value to waterfowl or muskrats. The marsh became productive once again around 1946 and 1947 when the estimated harvest was 11,914 pelts. Muskrat trapping was prohibited in 1949 after emergent vegetation such as Cattail and Bulrush died off and the marsh became an open lake. In August of 1968 there was virtually no emergent vegetation in the lake. However, in September of 1968 the lake was reflooded and stands of Alkali Bulrush established. These stands have since died out and emergent vegetation has returned.

Agriculture

A large portion of the land is either under cultivation or used for grazing. Close to 90% of the uncultivated grasslands surrounding Whitewater Lake are used to graze cattle. Mixed farming predominates with the major crops being cereal grains, flax, rapeseed and domestic forage. The capability of the land varies from Class 2 to Class 6 with the majority being limited by excess water and salinity. Much of the Crown Land around Whitewater Lake is used for grazing or haying with or without government approvals. In wet years little or no haying occurs while in dry years haying operations are extensive.

Mineral Exploration

Oil extraction has occured in the Whitewater Lake basin since the early 1950's. Ransom (1972) noted that sporadic exploration has been carried out since the 1950's which includes the drilling of a hole in the bed of the lake in February of 1970. Oil Extraction takes place along the south side of the lake. The center portion of Whitewater Lake is not protected from oil and gas development. Discussion are in progress between Manitoba Conservation and the petroleum industry in an effort to protect portions of the WMA from petroleum exploration and development.

HISTORY
IBA PROGRAM
GOALS
THREATS
SITE INFORMATION
OTHER ELEMENTS
OWNERSHIP & LAND USE
CONSERVATION ACHIEVED

         Whitewater Lake, Manitoba, Canada - Important Bird Area


HOME
IBA PROGRAM
THREATS
OTHER ELEMENTS
CONSERVATION ACHEIVED
EXPLORE
HUNTING
CONTACTS

HISTORY
GOALS
SITE INFORMATION
OWNERSHIP AND LAND USE
BIRD SPECIES
BIRD TOURS
MAPS

Manitoba Department of Conservation
Regional Wildlife Manager
1129 Queens Avenue, Brandon, MB, R7A 1L9
204.726.6450
daniel.chranowski@gov.mb.ca

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