Manitoba's 2020 Gratitude Report
Monarch (Photo by NCC)
Monarch butterfly habitat restoration
The Manitoba Region has seeded a 20-hectare (50-acre) parcel of land in the Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area, using locally collected native seed with a focus on species diversity and important nectar source plants to restore Monarch habitat.
Seed for two native milkweed species, the host plant for monarch caterpillars, was collected from NCC’s conservation lands surrounding the restoration for them to propagate 2,000 seedlings.
Patches of swamp milkweed were planted in wetter areas and dwarf milkweed in drier areas. Mulch blankets were placed around the seedlings to improve survival and watered if needed.
Prescribed fire was applied in late summer. Applying prescribed fire to grassland restorations helps control woody species encroachment, increases nutrient cycling, and stimulates native seed germination.
Habitat restoration has many co-benefits to species recovery and ecological integrity including carbon sequestration, water retention, pollination services to nearby crops and economic opportunities.
Staying connected to nature
Volunteer using a smartphone at a NCC BioBlitz event. Photo by Brent Calver.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, NCC's Manitoba Region has been working hard to find ways to continue to connect people with nature.
From August 24–30, 2020, NCC hosted our Big Backyard Bioblitz and challenged Canadians to get outside, explore their backyard and local natural areas and document the biodiversity they see using the iNaturalist app. Canadians from coast to coast embraced the challenge. Some highlights from Manitoba’s 662 observations included northern leopard frog and monarch butterfly – both species at risk!
We encourage you to keep your eyes open for online webinars and Facebook premier events. These are excellent ways to connect with nature and current conservation topics from the comfort and safety of your own home.
For a list of a list of nature-connecting activities and resources visit the Get Involved page on NCC Manitoba’s website. From free games, to apps, to videos, we've gathered some fun and interactive resources to teach nature lovers of all ages about the importance of nature in Manitoba.
We may be distanced from each other, but we don’t have to be disconnected from nature.
We miss you
Although we missed seeing you this year out on the landscape, take a tour of Manitoba's 2020 conservation projects.
Welcome to Oak Lake North, Fort Ellice 3 and Waggle Springs 3!
Oak Lake North – Susan Lacey’s legacy
A gift of land by David Lacey in memory of his late wife, Susan, was the site of two exciting discoveries last summer. NCC staff discovered the presence of the nationally endangered Dakota skipper butterfly and provincially endangered great plains ladies’-tresses orchid. Both of these species are also of global conservation concern.
The 63-hectare (156 acre) property is located 11 kilometres southwest of the town of Oak Lake and features mixed-grass prairie, wetlands and riparian habitat along the shoreline of Oak Lake. The orchid’s discovery expands its known range in Manitoba.
The identification of these species prompted NCC to quickly adapt management plans for the summer. Staff adjusted the timing and location of planned haying to accommodate not only the discovery of these two species, but also other wildlife – including nesting waterfowl, endangered monarch butterflies, and the threatened bobolink – before developing a multi-species at-risk focused management plan.
Fort Ellice 3
Fort Ellice is a gem and a rare conservation opportunity. Fort Ellice 3 is a 261-hectare (644-acre) parcel of land that’s the key land holding needed to complete one of the last large intact expanses of native prairie grassland in Manitoba.
Grasslands, like those on Fort Ellice, have long been synonymous with Canada’s Prairie provinces. Grasslands buffer our waterways, sequester carbon, provide habitat for pollinators and are the foundation of sustainable ranching economies in rural communities.
The species-rich land here is comprised of mixed-grass prairie, aspen forests, riverbank and floodplain forests, sandhill prairie and sand dunes, wetlands, streams, freshwater springs and willow shrublands.
Large mammals, like elk, moose and Canada lynx, roam the property. Threatened birds, such as loggerhead shrike, Baird’s sparrow, Sprague’s pipit and chestnut-collared longspur, depend upon the unique grassland habitat for survival.
While the foundation to conserve this property has been set, thanks to the generosity of Canadians, there is still much work to do be done. NCC's vision includes restoring the portions of the property that were previously degraded.
This is your chance to be part of the conservation of this important historical place, a place that provides a connection to the land for today, and for tomorrow.
Visit www.fortellice.ca to learn more!
Waggle Springs 3
Thank you to everyone who joined us in making a difference in this incredible province and right across the country in 2020.
Above are just a few of the successes of the past year. To find out what the rest of the country was up to, visit our annual report.