Conservation Volunteers event, Riding Mountain Aspen Parkland, MB (Photo by NCC)

Conservation Volunteers event, Riding Mountain Aspen Parkland, MB (Photo by NCC)

Manitoba's Scientific Advisory Committee

Across the country, some of Canada's top scientists are tramping through forests, roaming across grasslands and visiting river estuaries. These experts are helping the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) with its biodiversity targets and conservation priorities. As volunteers, they are part of NCC's Scientific Advisory Network (SAN), a cross-country network of scientific advisors and local ecologists. In each Region, a SAN guides us in our conservation work and works with staff and volunteers on a variety of science-based tasks, from biological inventories to long-term stewardship plans. Members of each region's SAN are chosen based on their expertise and dedication to conservation.

In Manitoba, NCC is particularly fortunate to have the guidance of a core group of highly-regarded scientists, the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), to determine the scientific validity of NCC's conservation work at both the landscape scale and property scale. The SAC also reviews project proposals for properties that NCC is considering for securement. The proposals include details such as location, biological inventories, information on natural communities present and the degree of disturbance. The SAC meets to consult about the properties presented and provides NCC with a detailed assessment of the conservation value for each one.

Once a property's conservation value is verified, the SAC Chair, who is also a Regional Board member, makes a recommendation to the Regional Board of Directors.

"We are privileged to have these dedicated individuals working with NCC here in Manitoba, " says Jeff Polakoff, Regional Vice President. "We have a small staff that relies heavily on the leadership of these science professionals. They regularly provide us with conservation data and work by consensus to decide where we should focus our efforts. Our work in Manitoba wouldn't be as successful as it is without the SAC. "

Members of the Manitoba SAC

  • Robert Wrigley, Ph.D. - mammalogist
  • Bob Jones, Ph.D. - bird expert
  • Terry Galloway, Ph.D. - entomologist
  • Liz Punter - botanist
  • Nicola Koper, PhD. - terrestrial ecologist
  • Larry De March - aquatic biologist

In turn, the members of the SAC, consult with more than 50 other Manitoba scientists to ensure that NCC is meeting its conservation targets.

Robert Wrigley, Chair of Manitoba's SAC, says: "We trust NCC to make it work on the landscape. There are many conservation organizations, but none can compare in the achievements of NCC in land conservation. Effort and donor dollars get immediate results. "

Key NCC Manitoba research questions

Informed and defensible land-use and biodiversity conservation management decisions depend on the incorporation of the best available science, expert opinion and community values. NCC conducts multi-scale planning designed to conserve the most important and viable natural areas while still respecting local and provincial economies and local communities. One of the outcomes of this planning process is the identification of key knowledge gaps.

NCC Manitoba is interested in participating in research partnerships designed to address these knowledge gaps. NCC is interested in forging/strengthening research projects in its priority natural areas and on its properties, and where projects align with NCC’s conservation goals, NCC will consider supporting researchers through in-kind data, expertise, lodging, access to lands, and if congruencies are high and resources allow, funds. Researchers interested in partnering with NCC on projects listed below should contact the Manitoba Region’s Conservation Science Manager to discuss their proposed project. Contact information is available through Note that this list is valid as of January 2012, and will change as knowledge gaps are addressed and new information gaps arise.

Recording riparian plant species in Riding Mountain Natural Area, MB (Photo by NCC)

Recording riparian plant species in Riding Mountain Natural Area, MB (Photo by NCC)


Key Research Questions Handout ›

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