International Institute for Sustainable Development

Institut international du développement durable

Cattails Harvesting for Carbon Offsets and Nutrient Capture: A "Lake Friendly" greenhouse gas project

Richard Grosshans, Philip Gass, Rosemary Dohan, Dimple Roy, Henry David Venema, Matthew McCandless

The Cattail Biomass Harvesting project is pursuing and evaluating the commercial-scale harvesting of cattail (Typha spp.) for its multiple co-benefits, in particular:

  1. Nutrient capture (i.e., phosphorus) through harvesting of nutrient-rich biomass to reduce phosphorus loading to Lake Winnipeg
  2. Use of harvested biomass as a viable feedstock for bioenergy to displace coal used for heating
  3. Certification of cattails through the voluntary market for generation of carbon offset credits
  4. Demonstration of commercial-scale agricultural equipment for harvesting in wet environments

This progress report details the project background, descriptions of current cattail biomass harvest sites, a proposed plan for commercial-scale cattail harvesting, and opportunities for carbon offset markets and certification. It concludes with a legislative and regulatory review for cattail harvesting in Manitoba. The Cattail Biomass Harvesting project, a component of the International Institute for Sustainable Development's ongoing Netley-Libau Nutrient-Bioenergy Project, is co-funded by Manitoba Lotteries, Manitoba Conservation Department of Water Stewardship and Manitoba Hydro.



  • Publication type: Paper
  • Publication date: September 20, 2013
  • Page count: 55
  • Publisher: IISD
  • © Copyright 2013 IISD
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