This week Coca-Cola Canada announced its latest conservation project with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to help protect Lake Winnipeg and freshwater across the province of Manitoba. The announcement took place at DUC head office at the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre just 20 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

In attendance were representatives from Coca-Cola and DUC including Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada President, Bill Schultz and Ducks Unlimited Canada CEO, Karla Guyn.
The Coca-Cola Foundation recently gave a $200,000 grant to Ducks Unlimited Canada to support its Lake Winnipeg Watershed Program. Lake Winnipeg, a popular beach destination for locals and tourists alike and the world’s eleventh-largest lake, has seen a surge in the growth of algal blooms over the past 30 years. Algal blooms occur when there are high levels of nutrients present in the water (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) and warm, calm water conditions, causing algae to grow rapidly. Although blooms can be a natural occurrence, human activity can cause an increase in blooms. For example, after a heavy rainfall, fertilizers from farming fields can flow into the water, which can create blooms.

Unfortunately, the algal blooms are contributing to the declining health of Lake Winnipeg. Some algae are toxic and can harm marine life such as fish, animals and even people. Our funds will directly help solve the lake’s algae problem by protecting and restoring the wetlands surrounding the lake. Wetlands often act as natural filters, trapping and holding the pollutants that cause toxic algae before they can flow into the lake.

“Despite the critical role wetlands play in the health of our water, they are among the most threatened ecosystems in the country,” said Ducks Unlimited Canada CEO, Karla Guyn. “Every day, 15 acres of wetlands are lost in southwest Manitoba. Successful conservation requires the participation and support from all who live and work on the landscape. When organizations like Coca-Cola step up, it makes a big difference in what we’re able to accomplish.”

The funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation for Ducks Unlimited Canada has totaled $500,000 over the past three years, which has supported watershed conservation projects throughout Manitoba. Water is an important part of Coca-Cola’s business and the Company is working hard to reach its goal of replenishing 100% of the water used in its beverages by 2020. To date, Coca-Cola has funded the conservation and restoration of 245 hectares of wetlands. That’s over 403 million litres of water replenished, and a total of 2,450 kilograms of phosphorus and 24,500 kilograms of nitrogen removed per year.

Coca-Cola Canada is proud to partner with Ducks Unlimited Canada to replenish one of the world’s largest lakes, and to contribute to the protection and preservation of Manitoba’s freshwater ecosystems.