Video: Cattail Harvesting for Bioenergy Production and Nutrient Capture at Netley-Libau Marsh

The International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Water Innovation Centre would like to invite you to view a five-minute video that was produced by two Red River College (RRC) interns hosted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in March and April, 2011.

This video provides a step-by-step description of the research and pilot testing of cattail harvesting for bioenergy production and nutrient capture at Netley-Libau Marsh at the south end of Lake Winnipeg, Canada, by the IISD and its partners, the University of Manitoba and Ducks Unlimited Canada.

The video can be viewed at:

Lake Winnipeg is the 10th-largest freshwater lake in the world and is threatened by eutrophication and increased algal blooms. Phosphorus is the nutrient responsible for increased toxic (cyanobacteria) algal blooms in the lake. By harvesting cattail (Typha) at Netley-Libau Marsh, the project captures phosphorus before it can enter the lake and contribute to algal blooms.In addition to phosphorus capture, the video identifies other benefits to the project:

  • The harvested cattail can be burned as a renewable bioenergy source.
  • The cattail bioenergy displaces the use of coal, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also producing the possibility for carbon credits.
  • The remaining ash, which still contains high amounts of phosphorus, can be collected and recycled as fertilizer.
  • The entire habitat of Netley-Libau Marsh can be improved by the harvesting process, as it opens the area to sunlight and allows new cattail to grow.

WIC is pleased to have hosted a RRC Digital Multimedia Technology student for the second year in a row, and a Creative Communications student for the first time in 2011. Such collaborations produce understandable public outreach materials on complex sustainable development topics, while building institutional and professional capacity in the process.

For more information on the Netley-Libau Nutrient-Bioenergy Project, please visit

Best wishes,
The Water Innovation Centre, IISD

For more information on the Netley-Libau Nutrient-Bioenergy project, please contact:

Richard E. Grosshans
International Institute for Sustainable Development
161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3B 0Y4
Email: rgrosshans[AT]

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