Delta Marsh Restoration

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Ducks Unlimited, Manitoba government partner for North America’s largest wetlands restoration project

The Manitoba government and Ducks Unlimited Canada marked World Wetlands Day by announcing a $3.5-million partnership to help restore Delta Marsh, one of the world’s largest marshes covering 190 square kilometres on the southern shores of Lake Manitoba. The restoration will improve the marsh’s natural function to filter out nitrogen and phosphorus that would otherwise flow into the province’s waterways including Lake Winnipeg. It is the largest project of its kind in North America.

“Manitoba’s Delta Marsh is one of the world’s greatest marshes. It has been recognized as a Wetland of International Importance for decades,” said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh. “Scientists tell us wetlands like the Delta Marsh are the ‘kidneys of our province’ because of their ability to filter pollutants out of our waterways. This project has benefits for generations of Manitoba families who look forward to full fishnets and clean, healthy beaches.”

The new project will keep the invasive and destructive fish species known as common carp from entering Delta Marsh. Common carp, native to Asia and parts of Europe, are large bottom-dwelling fish that disrupt entire wetland ecosystems by regularly rooting up vegetation and stirring up silt and sediment, which stops sunlight from reaching other aquatic life. The minister noted that research has shown vegetation will recover if the carp are prevented from entering the marsh during the late spring and summer, as they do not overwinter in the marsh.

The project will see fish screens that keep out large, destructive carp placed in strategic entry points to the marsh over the winter. The placement of the screens will be timed to allow the movement of native species of fish, such as walleye, that use the marsh to spawn earlier in the spring.

Commercial fishers will also benefit from the project. The minister noted the province is partnering with the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation to harvest the carp as they congregate by the fish screens and to explore ways to add value and find new markets for the harvested carp.

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