Some scientists have declared that Lake Winnipeg is a lost cause, but there is both reason and evidence for hope.
Younger Canadians are more likely to support a boost in funding.
The Great Lakes are pretty impressive before you even start to break down each one individually. The five lakes -- Ontario, Huron, Erie, Michigan and Superior -- make up the largest body of fresh water in the world and account for one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.
"If climate change is a shark, then water is its teeth." Like a fish that doesn't notice the shark until it feels its sharp bite, humans will first feel the effects of climate change through water. Under current projections, most freshwater ecosystems globally will face ecologically significant impacts by the middle of this century.
March 22 is "World Water Day," the international day to think about water issues. It is also the first-ever meeting of the Great Lakes Guardians Council, a new advisory group created under Ontario's Great Lakes Protection Act. The Guardians couldn't meet at a better time. The Great Lakes need all the help they can get.
Conservation scientists are concerned about the lack of ice on the Great Lakes, which this winter is at an almost historic low. Young fish may face harsher environments; shoreline habitats are in jeopardy; the risks of pollution are elevated; and algae problems could be worse than usual this summer as a result, leading to an increased number of beach closings.
Phosphorus is a key nutrient in aquatic systems, but excess phosphorous is the leading cause of the increase in the harmful blue-green algae that is becoming more common in the Great Lakes. Toxic and harmful algal bloom occurrences in Lake Erie pose risks to drinking supplies, quality of life and economic vitality.
Algal blooms are not a new for Lake Erie. In the 1960s and 70s, blooms were so bad the lake was described as "dead." But despite the success of earlier remedial measures, harmful algal blooms are back and bigger than ever. Algal blooms later this summer are expected to be among the worst ever seen in Lake Erie.
Without question, the Asian carp poses a significant threat to the health of the Great Lakes watershed. This highlights the importance of effective invasive species prevention programs and bi-national collaboration to ensure that the Asian carp and other non-native species don't make their way into these waters.
Canadians are natural water stewards. As keepers of one fifth of the world's freshwater, we have a responsibility to protect it, but where to begin? We at WWF decided to start by filling a major knowledge gap: Canada currently does not have a complete picture of the state of its watersheds.