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Local residents Ernie Bezditny and Janine Gibson of the Pansy area are taking direct action to stop marsh forest drainage and destruction along Rd 19 N in the RM of La Broquerie, by Pro Vista Farms. The concerned neighbours are blocking the bulldozers from clearing willow and poplar for more manure-spread acres. “I’ll stay chained to this dozer as long as I have to,” says Janine Gibson, who has run as the Provencher Green Party candidate in the last six federal elections and works as an organic crop inspector supporting composting technologies as a more resilient agricultural approach.

IMG_0152“The marsh needs its wildlife – deer, elk, and moose are lost when the forest is cut, the beaver dam was excavated, this animal habitat is nature’s water retention, which needs to be here to prevent floods downstream,” says Ernie Bezditny, who farms nearby on RD 21 N and grew up hiking through the area. “Thousands of acres of marsh forest are down around here. It’s too much and has to stop! This marsh is being destroyed causing flooding and water pollution, while other marshes are preserved and water retention areas are being built by the province – why not here as well?” he asks.

“The Rat-Marsh River Integrated Watershed Management Plan is excellent,” says Gibson, but she sees no implementation, no oversight, no accountability. She asks, “Is the Director of Compliance at Conservation & Water Stewardship doing his job?”

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This clear-cutting with no buffers along the drains does not meet the intention of the new Manure Management Regulations to reduce phosphorous. It is necessary for tress to remain in the buffer zones to help slow the run-off in spring. Joubert Creek has been moved into a ditch in this area, so now both the old creek bed and the ditches are feeding the nutrient runoff into the Rat River, then the Red River, and finally polluting Lake Winnipeg.

This press release was written by and posted on behalf of Janine Gibson. Contact Janine at 204-434-6018 or janine@nlis.ca

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