Niverville, Man.—An innovative partnership between Niverville, MB and Native Plant Solutions (NPS), a consulting branch of Ducks Unlimited Canada, was recognized yesterday with a 2014 Manitoba Excellence in Sustainability Award.
The rural town of 3,500 partnered with NPS to transform a former sewage lagoon into natural and safe habitat. The project uses native plants to decommission contaminants in a targeted area. The bioremediation project is the first of its kind in North America.
Niverville received the award for Innovation and Research for Sustainability.
“This project defines what Native Plant Solutions has been striving for since our work began in the nineties,” says Glen Koblun, manager, NPS. “Using these plants to decommission the lagoon also creates a wetland in an area that historically had considerable wetlands prior to 1900.
Many communities and industries across Canada face challenges maintaining good water quality, managing waste and restoring natural habitats.
Koblun says other municipalities could benefit from using environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies to reclaim former sewage lagoons. The bioremediation project in Niverville was half the cost of traditional approaches, says Koblun. Research results from the project also show significant declines in total nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations within the system in the first few years alone.
“I hope the project becomes a lasting legacy,” says Jim Buys, Niverville’s chief administrative officer. “A legacy that will challenge future generations to take a path least travelled, to think outside the conventional parameters that society has established and try to find creative alternatives that will have a lasting positive impact on our environment.”
Niverville hopes to reopen the former sewage lagoon as a birdwatching area and an interpretive site for school groups and residents. Since this form of bioremediation had never been undertaken, NPS partnered with fellow researchers from Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research and the University of Manitoba to create the scientific team needed to build this new and natural approach.
Native Plant Solutions (NPS) is a consulting branch of Ducks Unlimited Canada, one of Canada’s leading conservation organizations. NPS draws on over 75 years of wetland and native grassland knowledge, research and restoration experience to provide science based and sustainable solutions to a wide variety of clients across Canada. NPS offers a broad range of products and services around the design, construction, installation, and commissioning of wetlands and native grass habitats.