Archive for Wetlands

This Manitoba researcher is turning cattails into lake-saving biofuel

June 26, CBC News:

Research scientist Richard Grosshans is counting on cattails to help clean up Lake Winnipeg and Manitoba’s wetlands, while also offering an organic, sustainable source of biofuel.

For about a decade, Grosshans and his colleagues have been collecting the tall wetland plants — also known as bulrushes — which can remove pollutants that get into the water through run-off.

“It is extremely efficient at absorbing things like nutrients, like phosphorus or nitrogen, or even contaminants. And so we use this plant, we harvested it, to remove those things from the environment,” he said.

“By harvesting and management, we’re rejuvenating and restoring the wetland habitat for other water birds.” Read more.

Man-made wetlands can solve flooding, drought problems

February 6, Saskatoon StarPhoenix:

Prairie municipalities preparing for a hotter future, with increasing spring floods and summer drought, need to invest in “green infrastructure” the head of Winnipeg’s Prairie Climate Centre says.

“Green infrastructure is the ability of the landscape, if well managed, to absorb the shocks of climate change, both flood and drought … Investment in green infrastructure is a critical form of climate adaptation,” said Hank Venema, an environmental system engineer who head the Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg. Read more.

Wetlands Matter!

Canada has 25% of the planet’s wetlands which cover nearly 14% of its landmass. But, from coast to coast to coast, wetlands are disappearing at an astonishing and appalling rate. On the prairies, they have been reduced by as much as 70 – 90% in just the past 40 years to make way for more crops. Wetlands Matter plunges into this issue, revealing the dynamics that drive wetland drainage, the impacts and costs of this practice and possible solutions to the problem.

Celebrate World Wetland Day on February 2, and watch this 15 minute documentary to learn more about why “Wetlands Matter”.

Winnipeg researcher tapping into cattails for energy and helping lake to heal

An energy industry fueled by an environmental problem – a Winnipeg researcher is tapping in to the power of cattails. The researcher said harvesting them to help heal a lake has created a new type of fuel.

“What we’re doing is creating a market for that material that otherwise would be mowed or left in the ditches,” said Richard Grosshans, senior researcher with International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Ground up cattails offer a new source of renewable energy.

The emerging market has caught the eye of some Manitoba companies.

“Why would we spend our dollars bringing in energy from other provinces or other places in the world? It’s just a matter of harnessing it and developing it,” said Stephane Gauthier who works with one those companies – Biovalco.

That’s exactly what several Manitoba groups are doing – working together to create a unique brand of biomass. Read more