Delv­ing into Delta Marsh

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - THE GREEN PAGE -

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

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