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Wetland Symposium

The Drainage of Saskatchewan's Wetlands


University of Regina, Faculty of Engineering, Regina, SK, S4P 3W7 Canada

Saskatchewan's grain farmers have been maximizing grain production to offset increasing production costs and lower grain prices due to European and U.S. grain subsidies. The maximization of grain production has included the drainage of most of Saskatchewan's many wetlands which once provided valuable habitat for a wide group of wildlife species. The Saskatchewan Drainage Control Act, passed in 1981, attempted to control wetland drainage but was not completely successful because decisions were sometimes based on the effect the wetland drainage would have on the farms involved, not society in general. At the same time some government policies indirectly encouraged wetland drainage. This paper discusses the conflict between agriculture and wetland conservation in Saskatchewan and suggests policies which would more closely reflect the value society places on wetlands.

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