THIS IS THE SECOND IN A SERIES OF THREE NEWSLETTERS LOOKING AT THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURAL DRAINAGE IN DIMINISHING THE QUALITY OF LAKE WATER IN SOUTHERN SASK
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In Update #157.1, we quoted the letter to the editor and the response from Dr. Peter Leavitt (U of R)
In this Update #157.2, we add the feedback we received from Jeff Olson (Citizen's Environmental Alliance of Saskatchewan).
Jeff Olson's reply to the Letter to the Editor began by forwarding two studies for me to read. Here's a quote from each:
AGRICULTURAL DRAINAGE IMPACTS ON FISHING LAKE AND WALDSEA LAKE by the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, 2008, states on page 14: " The option of restoring drained wetlands to their natural condition would obviously mitigate the negative impact of drainage."
QU'APPELLE WATERSHED LAND USE AND WATER QUALITY by the Global Institute for Water Security, 2018, states on page ii that: "The impacts of drainage are potentially profound and restoring the ability of wetlands to hold water on the landscape would thus reduce annual discharge volumes to streams and have the potential to reduce in-stream P and N loads."
Jeff states that "It was unfortunate that Alice was unable to present at the seminar as her portion would have highlighted the agricultural impacts and this person would not have gotten the idea that agriculture isn't a problem. . . Agricultural drainage increases the amount of contaminants in the water. The Qu'Appelle watershed has many C&Ds* and individual farmers draining so now there is land that would not have normally run into the system".
*C&Ds (Conseration and Development) are legal bodies, not unlike RMs, which can levy taxes and manage the accumulation of run-off water and its dispersal into streams, rivers and lakes.
I read an ad for the sale of a 22,000 acre farm which offered corner-to-corner tillage. The website commented:
Here is an example of a corporate landowner "developing the land" in order to farm "corner to corner". Native prairie, trees, windbreaks, old farmsteads, anything that can't be cultivated is lost. Monoculture agriculture loses biodiversity of plants, animals and insects. Wonder where our Northern Leopard Frog, Tiger Salamander, native bees, or Yellow Lady's-Slipper have gone? Look no further than industrial agriculture like this.