Nature’s Past Episode 24: Draining the Wet Prairie

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Nature’s Past Episode 24: Draining the Wet Prairie

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Agricultural expansion is a central component of the history of the resettlement of the Canadian prairies in the nineteenth-century. Popularly, that history has been characterized by the challenges of aridity on a dry prairie landscape. The characterization of the prairies as a dry place, however, is really only accurate for the highlands of south-western Manitoba to the foothills of southern Alberta. It does not accurately represent Manitoba’s southern lowlands.

This is the subject of a new book by environmental historian, Shannon Stunden Bower. Wet Prairie: People, Land, and Water in Agricultural Manitoba explores the history of this southern lowland region of Canada’s first prairie province. Combining methodologies in both environmental history and historical geography, Wet Prairie, takes readers through the complex past of the relationship between people and surface water in a region that is especially prone to flooding.

This month, we speak with Dr. Shannon Stunden Bower, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta.


Shannon Stunden Bower

Works Cited:

Sean Kheraj, Canadian History and Environment

Shannon Stunden Bower, Wet Prairie: People, Land, and Water in Agricultural Manitoba. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011.

Music Credits:

“The ccM Files” by Pitx

“Shiro” by Hans Atom

“Funk It” by unreal_dm

Photo Credit:

“A Manitoba Lake” by jimmywayne


Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 24: Draining the Wet Prairie” Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. 20 September 2011

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Sean Kheraj

Associate Professor and Vice-Provost Academic at Toronto Metropolitan University
Sean Kheraj is a member of the executive committee of the Network in Canadian History and Environment. He's an associate professor in the Department of History and Vice-Provost Academic at Toronto Metropolitan University. His research and teaching focuses on environmental and Canadian history. He is also the host and producer of Nature's Past, NiCHE's audio podcast series and he blogs at

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