About Us

Map of watersheds in the Lake Winnipeg Basin

The Lake Winnipeg Basin Information Network (LWBIN) is a web based open access data and information network created by Environment Canada as part of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative under Canada’s Action Plan on clean water. It was created in order to help address key water quality issues within the lake and its contributing watersheds. In 2012 management of the network transferred to the University of Manitoba under CEOS.

The LWBIN aims to aids research, education and decision making in the basin through three key strategies:

Aid Transparency

    In 2013, the Government of Canada signed the G8 Open Data Charter. The Charter requires all publicly funded data, including data collected by government and universities to be preserved in a format that is accessible, understandable and in a long term digital data repository. The LWBIN provides users with a long-term, stable data repository, including the ability to store images, maps, documents and reports

Build Understanding

    Research data is complex and fluid. Raw or processed scientific data and field reports may be PUBLICLY available but are not really accessible or understandable to everyone. The LWBIN uses tools (graphs, maps) to aid visualization of the data where possible, so everyone can understand;
    (Data + Metadata)/Tools = Open Understandable Science
    The Know Your Watershed Interactive map provides a visual platform for any level of user to view information about the watersheds in the Lake Winnipeg Basin.

Create Awareness

    The Lake Winnipeg Basin is big – almost 1 million square km. It covers 4 (four) Canadian provinces and four (4) U.S. States. The LWBIN provides a central open access data hub where researchers, decision makers, government agencies, organizations and the community can visualize and view the WHO, WHAT WHEN and WHERE of the basin. (Who is working in the basin, and WHAT, WHEN and WHERE are they doing it?);
    Searchable maps and tables of research allow users to gain a better understanding of the projects and activities occurring within the basin.

For several decades, water quality in Lake Winnipeg has been deteriorating. Beach closures due to high levels either of the algal toxin microcystin or of pathogenic bacteria have become more frequent. Nutrient loading has led to advanced anthropogenic eutrophication of not only Lake Winnipeg but other lakes in the watershed. As a result, blooms of blue-green algae have become increasingly frequent, persistent and extensive, potentially impacting municipalities, recreational and agricultural activities, the food web and fishery throughout the basin. Invasive species like zebra mussels have also recently been found in the lake (Fall 2013). Based on experience with their effects on Lake Erie, we can expect further ecosystem changes as they colonize Lake Winnipeg and other prairie lakes.

These key strategies allow the LWBIN to facilitate the management of natural and anthropogenic resources in the basin by integrating multiple information and data sources and expertise into a central open access resource.

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