Wildlife Management/Biofuels

wildlifeResearch in wildlife management investigates how it relates to agricultural, urban and wetland habitat settings and the urban-rural interface with a focus on long-term sustainability. Natural resource management and energy relationships are of particular interest in terms of the dynamics of climate change, landscape planning considerations, biofuels and wildlife relationships, and the use of cattails for simultaneous bioenergy and wetland management.


Cattail in the Northern Great Plains are being studied in conjunction with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Red River Basin Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Winnipeg's International Institute for Sustainable Development; watershed districts, and a biomass stove manufacturing company (Northwest Manufacturing, Red Lake Falls). The study will evaluate harvest and processing logistics and their feasibility as a rural community development strategy. As a result of outreach and discussion sessions, awareness of biofuel energy, alternative uses for cattails, and sustainability concerns has increased.

This project involves field tests using conventional and modified harvesting equipment to operate in a range of wet habitats. Other collaborators are evaluating the potentials of cattails to bio remediate runoff water in flood control impoundments by absorbing phosphorus and nitrogen. Cattails would then be harvested in the fall or winter and the residue either directly spread on fields or processed for combustion, and then the ash would be utilized as phosphorus fertilizer. Other end uses such as paper products and bedding are being explored as well.

To augment field demonstrations, an extensive literature review of findings in North America and Europe will describe the range of equipment used for harvesting and processing in similar settings, different examples of using biomass in various applications, and wildlife effects of biofuel harvest in wetlands. This project continues and intensifies wildlife and cattail studies initiated in 2013 at the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge near Crookston. A summary of this work will be presented at the International Wildlife Management Congress in Sapporo, Japan in July 2015.

Cattail Management IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS: Implications for Wetland Wildlife and Bioenergy Harvest  (pdf)

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