The Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship announced today, as a lead-up to World Wetlands Day, $3.5 million in funding for the restoration of one of Manitoba’s great marshes—Delta Marsh.
To mark World Wetlands Day on February 2nd, MHHC’s Chief Executive Officer attended an announcement of funding that will be used to restore the Delta Marsh. While the project is being led by Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Province of Manitoba, MHHC is coordinating funding that will enable the Manitoba Metis Federation to develop and promote a commercial fishery for the common carp.
At over 18,000 hectares, this wetland is one of the largest in Manitoba. “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 Common Carp has been identified as one of the main contributing factors in the decrease of this vast wetland’s health. The restoration of Delta Marsh will focus on the exclusion of this destructive invasive species during the period at which the marsh is most sensitive. “Our experiments in small areas within the vast Delta Marsh have shown remarkable recovery within a few weeks of excluding carp, similar to findings at marshes around the Great Lakes,” said Dr. Gordon Goldsborough, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Manitoba. “We are confident that substantial improvement in Delta Marsh can occur this year and look forward to seeing for the first time what can be accomplished at this unprecedented scale.”
Commercial fishers will also benefit from the project. The minister noted the province is partnering with the Manitoba Metis 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. Tim Sopuck, MHHC Chief Executive Officer, remarked that the MMF and MHHC are moving the carp “from the marsh, to the market”.
The province of Manitoba has the most wetland area of any province in Canada. In partnership with the government and other conservation organizations, MHHC is working to conserve, enhance and restore these precious habitats—the kidneys of Manitoba.