Sunset over Douglas Marsh (Photo by NCC)

Sunset over Douglas Marsh (Photo by NCC)

Protected wetland near Brandon doubles in size thanks to local donors

July 13, 2021
Brandon, Manitoba

 

Douglas Marsh is key to water regulation in Assiniboine Delta

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing the purchase of a vital wetland complex near Brandon. The not-for-profit, private land conservation charity has doubled the size of its Douglas Marsh protected area by adding 115 hectares (283 acres). It ensures that the largest wetland system in the Assiniboine Delta can continue to help nourish and protect its neighbours from spring melts and summer droughts.

From above, Douglas Marsh is an expanse dotted with rushes, sedges and cattails, intercut by scattered areas of open water. Within the marsh lies an aquifer that flows through the land toward the Assiniboine River. The marsh and surrounding uplands provide important nature-based services to the community, such as filtration, storage, drought mitigation and habitat for wildlife.

Douglas Marsh not only receives water from surrounding lands, but it is also one of the few locations where the waters of the Assiniboine Delta aquifer occur at the surface, and it plays a critical role in sustaining and protecting the water quality of the aquifer.

The protection of the area is a boon to biodiversity as well. Beyond its wetlands, Douglas Marsh boasts a stretch of upland native prairie, one of the most endangered terrestrial ecosystems on the planet.

Douglas Marsh has also been designated an Important Bird Area. It is home to several species at risk, including one of the largest congregations of yellow rail in the prairie region. Yellow rail is a nocturnal, wetland bird that is rarely seen, but is known for its unusual “clicking” call that sounds like two pebbles being tapped together. Conserving the extensive habitat and specific hydrological conditions of the marsh is very important for the conservation of this species.

The splendour of Douglas Marsh also offers an opportunity for local ecotourism development. NCC, in partnership with the Central Assiniboine Watershed District, will establish a marsh and bird lookout area to help further enhance recreational and nature interpretation opportunities for locals and visitors alike.

This land conservation project was made possible by the generosity of the Central Assiniboine Watershed District, private donors and funding from the Government of Canada, through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program.

Quotes

“This significant conservation achievement is a result of the support that NCC receives from our donors. The securement of this magnificent property is an example of what we can do together to make sure that we conserve this habitat for generations to come.” - Josh Dillabough, NCC’s natural area manager for Douglas Marsh

“Protecting nature has important benefits for human health, biodiversity, and the fight against climate change. Douglas Marsh’s wetlands and native prairie, which provide habitat for many important species at risk, including the yellow rail, will now be protected for future generations. By working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we are creating a cleaner, healthier future for our children and grandchildren.” - Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South

About

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.

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Christine Chilton
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