Nutrient Management Regulation

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The Nutrient Management Regulation under The Water Protection Act (see news release) came into effect on March 18, 2008.  The purpose of the regulation is to protect water quality by encouraging responsible nutrient planning, regulating the application of materials containing nutrients and restricting the development of certain types of facilities in environmentally sensitive areas.

All Sectors

Operations in Zones N1, N2, and N3
  • Zones N1 (Canada Land Inventory (CLI) class 1, 2 or 3 lands other than those bearing a “M” limitation), N2 (CLI class 3 lands bearing a “M” limitation, class 4 lands and class 5M lands if irrigated), and N3 (CLI class 5 lands not captured in zone N2) cover approximately 80 % of central and southern Manitoba. The regulation would come into effect for existing operations on January 1, 2011 and immediately for new or expanding operations. Compliance can be achieved by meeting the soil nitrate-nitrogen limits and phosphorus thresholds or registering a nutrient management plan.
Operations in Zone N4
  • Zone N4 (CLI class 6 and 7 lands and unimproved organic soils) is considered environmentally sensitive. The majority of these lands are not presently cropped. Zone N4 consists of landscapes with steep slopes, stable and active sand dunes, marshes, bogs, fens, etc. No new operations will be allowed in Zone N4. The regulation applies to existing operations on January 1, 2009, but they may be allowed to continue in accordance with a registered nutrient management plan. Grazing will continue to be allowed in Zone N4.
Zone N5 - Urban and Built-up Areas
  • Effective January 1, 2009, no one shall apply a fertilizer to turf containing more than 1 per cent phosphorus by weight, expressed as P2O5. An exception to this restriction includes newly established turf during the year of establishment as well as the year following establishment. Phosphorus-containing fertilizers can also be applied in situations where soil testing has been conducted and agronomic recommendations suggest the addition of a phosphorus-containing fertilizer. Flowerbeds, gardens, trees and shrubs are excluded from the phosphorus restrictions.
Nutrient Buffer Zones
  • Nutrient Buffer Zones apply to all water bodies and groundwater features located across Manitoba including within urban and rural residential areas and within agricultural regions. As of January 1, 2009, nutrients arising from livestock manure, fertilizer, municipal wastewater sludge or biosolids can not be applied to areas within the Nutrient Buffer Zone. The width of the Nutrient Buffer Zone varies depending upon the nature of the body of water and is generally consistent with those contained in the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation.
Golf Courses
  • Golf courses will be required to submit nutrient management plans by 2009 and, similar to other sectors, will not be able to apply nutrients to Nutrient Buffer Zones beyond 2009. Existing golf courses could continue to apply nutrients in Zone N4 if supported by registered nutrient management plans.
Biosolids
  • Beginning in 2011, municipalities will no longer be allowed to apply wastewater sludge and biosolids during the winter period. This is generally consistent with requirements for the livestock sector.
Restriction on Winter Application of Nutrients
  • Synthetic fertilizers, municipal wastewater sludges or biosolids containing nitrogen or phosphorus can not be applied to land between November 10th of one year and April 10th of the following year effective January 1, 2009 for Nutrient Management Zone N4 and January 1, 2011 for Nutrient Management Zones N1, N2 and N3.

Nutrient Management Plans

Guidelines for the Development of Nutrient Management Plans

Nutrient Management Plan templates have been developed in consultation with Keystone Agricultural Producers, Manitoba Golf Superintendents Association, Manitoba Agriculture, Manitoba Sustainable Development, and others.

Nutrient Management Plan templates are available for the following types of enterprises:

Restriction on Winter Application

No provincial variance in effect. Nutrients cannot be applied on or after November 10, 2019.

*Due to expectation of snow cover, frozen soils and below freezing temperatures

The following sources of information are used as described in the two policies to determine whether a variance will be issued:


Restriction on Winter Application of Nutrients

Provincial legislation prohibits the application of nitrogen and phosphorus between and including November 10th of one year and April 10th of the following year. Nutrient sources containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus include synthetic fertilizer and livestock manure. The winter spreading restrictions are in place as the application of nutrients onto frozen or snow-covered soils results in an increased risk of nutrient runoff. Nutrient runoff to waterways contributes directly to algal blooms in Lake Winnipeg and elsewhere.

However, there may be some years where weather conditions are such that agricultural land can reasonably be worked to apply nutrients between November 10th of one year and April 10th of the following year for crop uptake while still protecting water quality. In these cases, a provincial or regional variance may be issued.

Provincial/Regional Variances

Provincial legislation (Nutrient Management Regulation (M.R. 62/2008) and the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation (M.R. 42/98)) authorizes the director to vary these dates if conditions are such that soils remain thawed and are not snow covered on or after November 10th providing nutrients can reasonably be worked into the soil for crop uptake or if soils thaw earlier than April 10th in the spring.

The following two policies are currently in effect:

Individual Variances

When a regional/province-wide variance has not been issued for the winter application of nutrients and an individual producer believes their soil/weather conditions should be considered for a variance, agricultural producers must contact staff in the Nutrient Management Regulation program at nmr@gov.mb.ca or by phone at (204) 945-0002. If an individual wishes to make a formal request for a variance, the request must be provided in writing by a Professional Agrologist or Certified Crop Adviser.

At any time throughout the winter, emergency situations may occur. Pursuant to Section 14(4) of the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation (M.R. 42/98), the director may authorize winter application of manure due to an emergency situation or extenuating circumstance. Examples may include the manure storage facility reaching its capacity or the imminent failure of a manure storage facility. Information on Emergency Manure Spreading Requests is available at http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/envprograms/livestock/pdf/lmmmr_12_fall.pdf or by contacting Environmental Approvals Branch at: mmpregistration@gov.mb.ca or by phone at (204) 391-0540 or (204) 945-3078.

Last updated: September 13, 2019

Buffer Zones

Water Body

Setback if applicable area is covered with permanent vegetation (Column A)

Setback if applicable area is not covered with permanent vegetation (Column B)

  • a roadside ditch or an Order 1 or 2 drain†

No direct application to ditches and Order 1 and 2 drains

  • a groundwater feature 
    means a sinkhole, a spring or a well other than a monitoring well.
15 m (49 ft)
20 m (66 ft)
  • a wetland, bog, marsh or swamp other than a major wetland, bog, marsh or swamp‡

Distance between the water's edge and the high water mark

  • a lake or reservoir designated as vulnerable
30 m (98 ft)
35 m (115 ft)
  • a lake or reservoir (not including a constructed stormwater retention pond) not designated as vulnerable
  • a river, creek or stream designated as vulnerable
15 m (49 ft)
20 m (66 ft)
  • a river, creek or stream not designated as vulnerable
  • an Order 3 or higher drain†
  • a major wetland, bog, marsh or swamp‡
  • a constructed stormwater retention pond
3 m (10 ft)
8 m (26 ft)

*Nutrient Buffer Zone is measured from the water body's high water mark or the top of the outermost bank on that side of the waterbody, whichever is further from the water.

†Designated on a Manitoba Water Stewardship plan that shows the designation of drains.

‡As defined in 1(2) in the Nutrient Management Regulation under The Water Protection Act. "For the purposes of this regulation, a wetland, bog, marsh or swamp is major if

  1. it has an area greater than 2 ha (4.94 acres)
  2. it is connected to one or more downstream water bodies or groundwater features; and
  3. it contains standing water or saturated soils for periods of time sufficient to support the development of hydrophytic vegetation."
Vulnerable Water Bodies

The following water bodies are designated as vulnerable in the Nutrient Management Regulation:

Rivers, Creeks, and Streams  
Assiniboine River Nelson River
Berens River Pikewitonei River
Birch River Pinawa Channel
Boyne River Red River
Burntwood River Saskatchewan River
Churchill River Squirrel Creek
LaSalle River Valley River
Lee River Waterhen River
Manigotogan River Winnipeg River
   
Lakes and Reservoirs  
Boissevain Reservoir Lake Wahtopanah
Bowden Lake Lake Winnipeg
Brereton Lake Lake Winnipegosis
Caddy Lake Landing Lake
Cliff Lake Mary-Jane Reservoir
Cross Lake Moose Nose Lake
Deloraine Reservoir Nutimik Lake
Footprint Lake Paint Lake
God's Lake Reindeer Lake
Goudney Reservoir Rice Lake
Granville Lake Sherlett Lake
Hunt Lake Shoal Lake (at approximately 49°37'N, 95°11'W)
Island Lake Snow Lake
Killarney Lake Stephenfield Reservoir
Kississing Lake Wekusko Lake
Lac du Bonnet Wellman Lake
Lake Athapapuskow West Lynn Lake
Lake Irwin White Lake
Lake Manitoba William Lake
Lake Minnewasta  

Restricting Phosphorus – Urban/Rural Residential

Restricting Phosphorus Content in Fertilizers Used in Urban and Rural Residential Areas

The Nutrient Management Regulation under the Water Protection Act came into effect on March 18, 2008 (see news release), and was amended on June 27, 2008 (see news release) to limit the phosphorus content in fertilizers used in urban and built-up areas.

Effective January 1, 2009, within Nutrient Management Zone N5 (urban and built up areas), no one shall apply a fertilizer to turf containing more than 1 per cent phosphorus by weight, expressed as P2O5. An exception to this restriction includes newly established turf during the year of establishment as well as the year following establishment.

Phosphorus-containing fertilizers and Olsen-P can be applied provided that the soil test phosphorus level :

  • is less than 60 ppm on land used to grow grass for sale as sod,
  • is less than 30 ppm on land used as a sports facility, or
  • is less than 18 ppm on land used neither to grow grass for sale as sod or as a sports facility

Flowerbeds, gardens, trees and shrubs are excluded from the phosphorus restrictions.

In addition, no one shall apply or allow the escape of a substance containing nitrogen or phosphorus onto a paved or other impervious surface within Nutrient Management Zone N5. Should this occur, the individual must immediately take all reasonable steps to remove the substance so that it does not drain into a storm or sewage drainage system.

Background

Manitoba Water Stewardship proposed a number of approaches in August 2007 to reduce nutrient contributions from fertilizer applications and household cleaning products in urban and rural residential areas. A series of open houses were held in five communities across the province in September 2007. An overview of the information obtained from the open houses is summarized in a report entitled "What You Told Us - Proposed Approaches to Reducing Nutrient Contributions from Urban and Rural Residential Sources and individual comments are also available electronically.