NEWS RELEASE: Targeting wetland restoration and conservation to improve water quality while maximizing agricultural production in the Souris River watershed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2013

The Plains and Prairie Potholes Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) announced today that $74,400 in 2013 funding will support research targeting wetland restoration and conservation efforts in nine sub-watersheds of the Souris River, which has experienced dramatic increases in nutrient concentration over time.

The Souris River watershed spans more than 23,000 square miles (61,000 square kilometers) across Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Manitoba.

“As a working landscape, wetland restoration and conservation efforts throughout the Souris River watershed must be targeted to maximize agricultural production and incentivize conservation on private lands while reducing water quality impacts,” said Rick Nelson, Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC coordinator.

Fall foliage along the Souris River in the J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fall foliage along the Souris River in the J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The funding will support a cross-jurisdictional study led by Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Province of Manitoba researchers that will combine current and historic wetland inventories and examine water quality trends across watersheds with varying levels of wetland cover.

“A coordinated approach to wetland restoration across a large prairie watershed is critical to finding the most effective balance between agricultural yield and ecological integrity,” Nelson said.

Non-point source pollution from the Souris River watershed has been known to impact water quality throughout the watershed including the adjoining Assiniboine River and Lake Winnipeg.

“Algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg and many of our lakes and rivers are a symptom of increased nutrients, sediment and runoff from upstream watersheds as a result of wetland drainage,” said Pascal Badiou, research scientist with Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research. “The results of this research will really help us target wetland protection and restoration efforts that will benefit our lakes, rivers and streams.”

Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC

The fundamental objective of the Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC is to increase conservation delivery by reducing scientific uncertainty related to landscape level stressors which are important to our partnership. We will meet this fundamental objective by leveraging partner expertise to promote coordination, dissemination and development of applied science that will support landscape level conservation.
 

Contact Us

Ashley Spratt
Communications Coordinator
ashley_spratt@fws.gov
573-234-2132 ext. 104
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