Manitoba Museum’s new exhibit aims to solve Lake Winnipeg’s woes

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba Museum has launched a $1-million exhibit highlighting the continuing problems of Lake Winnipeg.

The health of Lake Winnipeg, the 10th largest lake in the world, has been deteriorating for decades.

Part of the problem is the shallowness of the lake, but the bigger issue is the amount of land that drains into the lake.

Lake Winnipeg was listed as the most threatened lake in the world in 2013 by the Global Nature Fund, based on the increase in algal blooms that cover the water with a thick, greenish slime.

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The museum’s interactive permanent exhibit centres around a computer simulation of the watershed and allows visitors to make decisions that affect the health of the lake.

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The catch is everyone is working as a unit, so if your neighbour makes poor choices, it affects the overall health of the lake, just as it would in real life.

“Every decision has a cost, both in terms of economic impacts but also in the social capital of the province,” said Scott Young, the Manitoba Museum’s manager of science communications and visitor experience. “Does the algae bloom get smaller or bigger, based on your decision? Saving the lake is a balancing act.”

Visitors can visit the live aquarium/terrarium that highlights some of the wildlife that live in the lake, a water table that explores the issues of water flow and flooding, and a number of historical images and videos to round out the learning experience.

The exhibit is slated to open on World Water Day, Saturday, March 22.

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