GFM Network News


Alum a useful tool to combat toxic algae

The chemical has been used in the U.S. to clear lakes of algal blooms but hasn’t seen widespread acceptance in Canada

It’s no magic bullet, but aluminum sulphate can significantly reduce toxic algal blooms in lakes, American scientist John Holz told conservationists at a Winnipeg conference on December 3. “It is a common tool,” said Holz, whose company HAB Aquatic Solutions, has done 104 applications of the product, also called ‘alum,’ in the U.S. Holz spoke

Algal blooms are nothing new on Lake Winnipeg. But what’s causing them is a very complex, multi-jurisdictional problem.

Getting phosphorus out of Lake Winnipeg and onto fields

Manitoba’s agriculture needs and waterways are on opposite sides of the phosphorus debate — or are they?

Lake Winnipeg might be drowning in phosphorus, but plenty of soils in the province are gasping for it. Lake Winnipeg has become infamous for its water quality, and not in a good way. Algal blooms and E. coli cases have become a familiar state of affairs in the south basin, while over half of samples


A map shows the distribution of manure-rich cultivated areas. The green spots demonstrate the areas with the most potential for phosphorus recycling.

Manure map raises recycling hopes

A study shows potential for farmers to reclaim phosphorus fertilizer

A New Jersey university is mapping the world’s manure in an effort to jump-start a movement to recycle phosphorus. In the April 2019 issue of Earth’s Future, a research team from Stevens Institute of Technology mapped the journey of phosphorus from soil to crops, to livestock and humans, and eventually into sewers and landfills. This

After 2017 drought conditions, water quality in some areas may still not be ideal for livestock to drink.

Water woes can hurt cattle

Dry conditions for the past many months could mean trouble in dugouts

Many producers are continuing to feel the effects of the 2017 drought, which are lingering into the 2018 grazing season. Numerous ponds and dugouts dried up as a result of the drought, and any water remaining in others may not be the best quality. “Water quality in ponds and dugouts still may be compromised by

A root wad buffers the bank from erosion and simultaneously provides fish habitat.

Project stabilizes creek bank, enhances fish habitat

Roseilse Creek is home to a state-of-the-art project 
that looks like an all-round winner

A riverbank stabilization project on the Roseilse Creek is demonstrating how to restore, rebuild, rehabilitate and enhance fish habitat and the riparian area along the waterway. The project, which involves the Pembina Valley Conservation District (PVCD), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership program, AAE Tech Services and the Rural Municipality of


A toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie viewed by satellite in 2014.

Agriculture major contributor to Lake Erie algae blooms

Better on-farm management would go a long ways towards solving the problem

There are two easily identifiable solutions to the Lake Erie algae blooms, said an American researcher, but success will require the co-operation of thousands of farmers. Jeffrey Reutter, a researcher at the Lake Erie island-based Ohio State University Stone Lab research station, has seen both the 1970s sewage-driven algae bloom, and the current blooms that

David Lobb, of the University of Manitoba, says flood solutions will include keeping more water on farms, but not necessarily on fields.

On-farm water collection key to drainage management

Other farming practices such as enhancing soil health and better design 
and maintenance of surface drains can also help

Reducing run-off and improving soil health are the best path to address flooding and excess nutrients, according to a University of Manitoba expert on watershed management. These strategies include more collection of surface water before it leaves the farm and adoption of soil management practices that build soil structure and help water infiltrate, says David

Once a lake enters an ecological crisis, it can be impossible to rehabilitate it.

Tipping points could predict the future of lakes

Dutch researchers say keeping a closer eye on key indicators could give water managers a fighting chance at avoiding catastrophe

A group of Dutch scientists has been trying to predict when lakes will enter ecological crises by monitoring key tipping points. Researcher Alena Gsell, of the Netherlands Institute of Technology, says the term ‘tipping point’ has become popular to describe sudden and fundamental changes that take place even though exterior conditions haven’t changed as radically.


Investors press meat producers to cut water pollution

Reuters — Forty-five large investors collectively managing C$1.6 trillion in assets are pressing some of the nation’s largest meat producers to set policies for reducing water pollution in their feeding, slaughtering and processing operations. The investors, who are members of sustainability non-profit advocate Ceres and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), sent letters to

Even pure-looking water might harbour a problem that could hurt your cattle.

Check water quality before turning out livestock

Checking and monitoring water quality can help guard your 
livestock’s health and productivity

Your pond or dugout water might look fine, but it could just as easily be compromised by concentrated levels of salts, minerals and bacteria, which can compromise livestock health. “We recommend that livestock producers test water quality prior to livestock turnout,” North Dakota State University Extension Service livestock environmental stewardship specialist Miranda Meehan says. Poor