Qu'Appelle River Valley, SK (Photo by NCC)

Qu'Appelle River Valley, SK (Photo by NCC)

Qu'Appelle River Valley

Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

The Qu'Appelle River Valley is a major continental waterway and corridor into the Great Plains. Formed during melting of the last glaciers, the Qu'Appelle River Valley stretches from the south end of Last Mountain lake and Diefenbaker Lake, east to the Manitoba border.

Species in character

The Qu'Appelle River Valley links prairie coulee in south-west Saskatchewan with aspen parkland to the north. The area supports a wealth of native plant species, many of which are rare or endangered. Species generally associated with more easterly ecosystems, such as the smooth green snake, eastern wood-pewee, eastern towhee, snapping turtle and bur oak, are also found here. 

Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

Current threats

Housing and cottage development, along with dominant agricultural land uses such as sod farms and market gardening are prevalent here, especially along the lower flood banks of the Qu'Appelle River. Cultivation is common on the drier upper banks. Intensified agricultural practices and increased fragmentation from cottage development are leaving few unbroken native prairie areas and critical plant species and habitats remain unprotected.

The Qu'Appelle River Valley priority

Riparian (streamside) areas offer great biological and habitat diversity. The banks of the Qu'Appelle River, along with the slopes that frame the river, the ridges and plateaus flanking the valleys, and the aquatic ecosystems within the river itself, offer a huge diversity of habitats. The valley's varied landscapes are critical to survival of more than 30 rare and endangered animal and plant species, including loggerhead shrike, northern leopard frog, bigmouth buffalo fish and smooth arid goosefoot.

Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan (Photo by Cherie Westmoreland)

Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan (Photo by Cherie Westmoreland)

The Saskatchwan Region, in partnership with the provincial Ministry of Environment, Alliance Pipelines Ltd. and SaskEnergy, purchased the May Property. This area now links two additional properties protected by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation to form a corridor of wetlands, native prairie and riverside areas covering 3,227 acres (1,312 hectares).

In the southern areas of the Qu'Appelle River Valley, we again partnered with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment to protect 9,200 acres (3,700 hectares) of Fish and Wildlife Development Lands through a conservation easement agreement.
NCC continues to work with landowners to secure additional critical valley properties.

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