Assiniboine Delta Natural Area
Waggle Springs, Assiniboine Delta, MB (Photo by NCC)
The Assiniboine Delta Natural Area encompasses the largest sandhill complex in Manitoba. Spanning most of south-central Manitoba, this area shelters species that rely on sandhill habitat, including the endangered prairie skink (Manitoba’s only lizard) and a number of invertebrates. The natural area boasts one of the last large, intact blocks of mixed-grass prairie in Manitoba. Populations of grassland birds, such as chestnut-collared longspur and Sprague’s pipit, can be found here. Aspen parkland and areas of boreal forest support large herds of elk and a range of other wildlife.
The area also includes the province’s largest unconfined sand and gravel aquifer, which is the source of freshwater springs that feed the Assiniboine River and other waterways. The aquifer supports the nationally rare roundleaf monkeyflower.
The groundwater-fed wetlands of the Douglas Marsh are of international significance. They support one of the largest concentrations of breeding yellow rail in the Prairies. The delta’s abundant and clean aquifer is also an important resource for the local agricultural economy, which relies on irrigation farming.