The intense spring storms and unprecedented flooding that devastated many properties around Lake Manitoba had a similar impact on the University of Manitobaís Delta Marsh Field Station. The site has been seriously affected and many of the buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed.
For the last number of months, considerable work has been done by the University of Manitoba to salvage research materials and equipment and to assess the Stationís viability going forward. A Senior Steering Committee was appointed, comprising associate vice-presidents, a representative of the Friends of the Field Station, the dean and associate dean of the Faculty of Science. With time, the functional and decision-making team expanded to include the president, two vice-presidents, the director and associate director of Physical Plant and numerous others with particular expertise. All were involved in making decisions on the future of the Station.
It has been determined that rebuilding even part of the Station would be very expensive and, most likely, futile given the expectation of similar weather events and damage in the future. The University of Manitoba was also informed that effective January 1, 2012, the Delta Marsh Field Station site will no longer be eligible for property insurance of any sort given the flood-prone nature of the area.
Within this context, The University of Manitoba has concluded, reluctantly and in spite of all efforts, that the Delta Marsh Field Station cannot be rebuilt. While the University has been investigating options for the Station, salvage operations were ongoing and the university is working with the province to ensure that the site is returned to an environmentally safe condition.
The University of Manitoba is working with the province to ensure clean up of the site and will explore options for the establishment of a dedicated legacy fund to support field work and teaching and research at other field work sites. This legacy fund may be used going forward to support fellowships for graduate students whose work is field-based; support summer students doing field work; fund new equipment for field work and teaching; provide travel support for students and faculty; and/or to make capital investments in equipment and facilities to enhance field work. A planning process will be undertaken to determine how best to utilize those funds moving forward.
This is, of course, a sad day for everyone who feels the loss of the Delta Marsh Field Station, but the University of Manitoba is confident it will be able to provide enhanced and broad support for its field work activities and programs.