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Canada to Minn., N.D.: Let's cut Red River pollution to save Lake Winnipeg

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Political leaders in Manitoba want Minnesota and North Dakota to get more serious about cutting pollution on the Red River of the North. At a conference at the U of M Thursday, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger suggested a joint effort to cut the phosphorus flowing into the river from cities and farms.

The Red River flows into Lake Winnipeg, which health officials say is now more polluted with phosphorus and algae than Lake Erie was when it was considered a "dead lake" in the 1970s.

Most of Lake Winnipeg's watershed lies within Canada, but an estimated 62 percent of the lake's phosphorus comes from the Red River. Selinger expects that writing an agreement between the states and provinces of the watershed would take two or three years, so he's anxious to get the process started.

A Canadian Broadcasting Company documentary on Lake Winnipeg's woes includes an account from a few years ago of a beach visitor whose dog drank the lake's water and keeled over dead an hour later.

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Minnesota, North Dakota take aim at Red River pollutants hurting Lake Winnipeg

Algae blooms that have created a dead spot in Lake Winnipeg are likely caused by phosphorus and other nutrients floating down the Red River. Minnesota and North Dakota officials say they'll work to identify the sources as a first step toward cleaning up the river.