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Cattail for Clean Community Waterways: Turning urban plants into compost and bioenergy

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IISD is working with the City of Winnipeg to improve urban environmental management and water quality, as well as to enable bioenergy development and production of compost and use in through innovative value chains from plant materials from routine city ditch and prairie grass maintenance.

An impetus for this comes from a need to improve and enhance water quality in urban areas and in downstream Lake Winnipeg. The project began in 2013 with the harvesting of cattail (Typha spp.) and prairie grasses at numerous sites within the City of Winnipeg. The harvested plant materials were then compressed into biofuel pellets that were burned for heat in a City of Winnipeg pellet stove, located at the Living Prairie Museum. An additional component in 2015–2016 involves the addition of cattail, harvested from urban ditches and prairie sites, into the City’s large-scale composting facility.

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