International Institute for Sustainable Development

Institut international du développement durable

Netley-Libau Nutrient-Bioenergy Project Video

Sarah Doerksen (Animator), Amanda Hope (Narrator)
Added August 15, 2011



This video was produced by Red River College interns, Sarah Doerksen (Animator) and Amanda Hope (Narrator)—hosted by IISD in March and April, 2011—based on work by Richard Grosshans, Dimple Roy, Karla Zubrycki, Henry David Venema. IISD is pleased to support sustainable development education.

This video uses animation, photos and text to provide a step-by-step description of cattail harvesting at award-winning and internationally recognized Netley-Libau Marsh, a coastal wetland at the southern end of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. The research taking place at Netley-Libau Marsh by the IISD and its partners, the University of Manitoba and Ducks Unlimited Canada, has proven that cattails, a common plant that grows throughout the marsh, can be successfully harvested to produce bioenergy in the form of pellets, cubes or logs.

Five benefits from cattail harvesting are identified:

  1. The phosphorus stored in the harvested cattails is prevented from entering Lake Winnipeg and contributing to eutrophication.

  2. The harvested cattails can be burned as a renewable bioenergy source.

  3. The cattail bioenergy displaces the use of coal, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also producing the possibility for carbon credits.

  4. The remaining ash, which still contains high amounts of phosphorus, can be collected and recycled as fertilizer.

  5. The entire habitat of Netley-Libau Marsh can be improved by the harvesting process, as it opens the area to sunlight and allows new cattails to grow.

The video describes an innovative approach towards wetland restoration, nutrient capture, and reduction of CO2 emissions in an emerging Manitoba Bioeconomy.


Themes: Adaptation and Risk Reduction, Climate Change, Community Sustainability, Energy, Natural Resources, Water