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:
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.