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Partnership will help restore Manitoba’s Delta Marsh

Feb. 4, 2013 - The Manitoba government and Ducks Unlimited Canada marked World Wetlands Day on Feb. 2 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.

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.

The province's contribution of $500,000 to the project was used to leverage an additional $3 million from Ducks Unlimited Canada and their partners, including Wildlife Habitat Canada, for a total project contribution of $3.5 million. Ducks Unlimited is supervising the undertaking, which will begin in February and finish in late spring.