Delving into Delta Marsh
DELTA Marsh, on the south shore of Lake Manitoba, has attracted people for millennia, notes University of Manitoba biology professor Gordon Goldsborough, who has spent much of his career studying the marsh’s ecosystem. It was one of Manitoba’s earliest cottage areas, a popular destination for generations of waterfowl hunters and home to two important research stations (both of which are now closed). “It’s been thoroughly degraded over the years,” Goldsborough observes in the abundantly illustrated book Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People (Delta Marsh History Initiative 2015). The book is co-authored by Goldsborough and several others. He spoke to the Winnipeg Free Press in late December about the book, and the attempts he and others are making to return Delta Marsh to some semblance of its past, pristine condition.
Why did you decide to write this book now, and how long did it take to write?
We began the research that ultimately led to the book in 2001 when I realized there was a lot of interest in the history of the various people who had spent time at Delta Marsh, including cottagers, yearround residents (who commercial fished on Lake Manitoba in the winter) and especially the waterfowl hunters who had frequented the marsh every fall going back over a century. Although it took 14 years to complete the book, we were not actively engaged on it throughout that entire period. In fact, things were at a low ebb around 2010-2011 when the University of Manitoba closed its Delta Marsh Field Station and the catastrophic flooding forced us to cancel our research work in 2011. Fortunately, things have worked more favourably over the past four years, with the result that we have been able to conclude the book on a much more positive note