Lake Ranch property. Photo by Thomas Fricke.

Lake Ranch property. Photo by Thomas Fricke.

Lake Ranch

Killdeer. Photo by Thomas Fricke

Killdeer. Photo by Thomas Fricke

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The Lake Ranch project is a once in a generation opportunity to conserve a large tract of endangered tallgrass prairie, wetland, forest and lakeshore. A project of this size would normally take decades to complete due to fragmented land ownership in Manitoba.

Lake Ranch represents a continuous block of land containing endangered native tall-grass prairie, which we are losing at a rapid pace each year.  In fact, more than 90 per cent of Manitoba’s prairie grasslands have been lost. The securement of this project will help protect further loss of native tallgrass prairie and provide an opportunity to enhance its viability in the area.

The Lake Ranch project is significant. It is a breathtaking expanse of land that represents the beauty, diversity and vastness of the incredible landscapes we are lucky to have in Manitoba.

The size of this conservation project will allow the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to maintain the landscape-scale disturbances that are necessary to maintain grassland ecological integrity. If successful, this would be NCC’s second largest land purchase project in Manitoba, but we cannot do it without your help.

The biodiversity that Lake Ranch supports is remarkable, containing over 891 hectares of tallgrass prairie habitat. The project has also been identified as potential habitat for Dakota skipper, a native prairie species that occurs only in grasslands. The Lake Ranch property is contained within the Shoal Lakes Important Bird Area; an important site for migratory birds in the prairie provinces. NCC staff recently documented approximately 170 western grebes, a species of special concern, as well as approximately 30 various shorebird species.

Formerly the Richardson Lakevue Stock Farm, this land was in agricultural use prior to the extensive flooding and expansion of the East Shoal Lake in 2010 and 2011. Currently there are grazing leases and haying leases on parts of the property. Under NCC's protection, the property will use cattle grazing as a management option, continuing the cultural legacy of the Richardson Lakevue Stock Farm. The conservation of this project will provide opportunities to give back to the area through research, ecotourism and employment opportunities.

“The third unit of Richardson Stock Farms is in some ways the most interesting. The Lakevue Ranch is the prairie primeval, pancake flat, broken only by poplar bluffs, wild plum trees and Saskatoons. Only the garden at the ranch house is cultivated. Otherwise, the area enclosed by 42 miles of fences and the entire eastern shore of East Shoal Lake consists of a 2,000-acre pasture and June grass land. Part of Lakevue was first leased in in 1932 to pasture a flock of sheep…After the sheep were sold Lakevue became pasture for feeder cattle until 1936 when the ranch was bought and stocked with good quality commercial Herefords from various western breeders.”

- 1950 Canadian Cattlemen Article. Citation: Douglas Mackay, Mrs. (1950, September). Progressive Stock Farming in Manitoba. Canadian Cattlemen. PP. 32-33.

Quick Facts

Sprague's pipet. Photo by Christian Artuso.

Sprague's pipet. Photo by Christian Artuso.

Location: along the east side of East Shoal Lake in the Interlake Region of Manitoba and adjacent to NCC’s East Shoal Lake Property.
Size: 2,681 hectares
Habitat: Intact prairie, forest, wetlands, and portions of the East Shoal Lake complex.
Total project cost: $3,674,856.50
Species: Dakota skipper, Sprague’s pipit

When nature thrives, we thrive

The conservation of this land provides priceless opportunities for people to connect with the best of Canadian nature. Not only do these natural areas provide ecological benefits, but they also provide an essential tool for health promotion and well-being.

Evidence shows that spending time in nature grows environmental stewards. Adults who care for nature most often attribute this to time spent in nature as a child.

In a time when, climate change, species extinction and habitat loss threaten our landscapes, connecting to nature is important now, more than ever.

By protecting nature, you’re also protecting the benefits that it provides to people.

Please join us and support the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s grassland conservation initiative to conserve projects like Lake Ranch. This is your chance to be a part of the conservation of this important place, a place that provides a connection to the land for today, and for tomorrow.

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Donations may be pledged over time and made by cash, credit card, cheque, or securities transfer. All or a portion of your gift may be committed to our provincial stewardship endowment fund, which helps to ensure the long-term care and management of NCC’s properties in Manitoba. Up to 20% of your gift may support activities that advance NCC’s mission in Manitoba. In the event that this project becomes fully funded, your gift will be directed to NCC’s next urgent priority in Manitoba.

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Funding provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada