Volunteers on Douglas March (Photo by NCC)

Volunteers on Douglas March (Photo by NCC)

A look back on a great 2019 in Manitoba!

Kayakers on Husavik Coastal Wetlands (Photo by Rob Jantz/Prairie Sea Kayaks)

Kayakers on Husavik Coastal Wetlands (Photo by Rob Jantz/Prairie Sea Kayaks)

Thank you to everyone who joined us in making a difference in this incredible province and right across the country in 2019.

Below are just a few of the successes of the past year. To find out what the rest of the country was up to, read our summarized print report, or find our full, online report to donors at natureconservancyreport.ca

Volunteer bird surveys help prepare property for public access

On July 5, 2019, volunteers joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program (MB IBA) to learn about NCC’s 105-hectare (259-acre) Douglas Marsh property.

Perfect birding weather allowed volunteers to spot several different types of birds, including an active Le Conte’s sparrow and bobolink. They even heard the call of a western meadowlark and witnessed the winnow of a Wilson’s snipe.

Determined to hear the call of the yellow rail, an elusive bird designated of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, many volunteers who stayed past 11 p.m. were rewarded when a growing number of yellow rails began to call over the marsh, occasionally joined by the song of a sora. Hearing the yellow rails and knowing they are using NCC lands reinforces the importance of the marsh and NCC’s work to help protect it.

Data from the surveys was incorporated into the property management plan developed by NCC, in partnership with the Assiniboine Hills Conservation District (AHCD). AHCD and NCC are partnering to establish an interpretive area on the Douglas Marsh property.

Support for this interpretive project has been provided to the conservation district by the Conservation Trust, a Manitoba Climate and Green Plan Initiative delivered by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.

Husavik Coastal Wetlands

February 2019 saw the protection of a key portion of Lake Winnipeg’s shoreline. The Husavik Coastal Wetlands property features 21 hectares (52 acres) of marsh and forest habitats as well as a creek.

Securing this shoreline property will help conserve coastal wetlands that are considered to be under high threat. Coastal wetlands play a vital role in controlling the flow of water and nutrients into the lake. Up until now, none of the shoreline and beach ridge communities along the southwest shoreline of the lake had been protected.

“With all of the bad news surrounding Lake Winnipeg of late, I am proud to be a part of an organization that takes direct action to conserve and protect the lake and its environment. There is still time to make a difference; this is good news!” Erin Crampton, member of NCC Manitoba Board of Directors.

Assisted by volunteer biologists and citizen scientists, NCC staff conducted a detailed biodiversity assessment in July which identified over a 100 species that depend on the property’s unique habitats!

This land is protected in perpetuity thanks to the generosity of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Province of Manitoba and the Richardson Foundation.

Science leads the way

This was a great year for NCC with four research publications by our conservation staff and partners:

Neufeld, R., Hamel, C., and Friesen, C. 2019. Manitoba’s endangered alvars: an initial description of their extent and status. Canadian Field-Naturalist 132(3): 238 - 253.

Robson, D.B., Hamel, C., Neufeld, R., and Bleho, B.I. 2019. Habitat filtering influences plant–pollinator interactions in prairie ecosystems. Botany 97(3): 204-220. https://doi. org/10.1139/cjb-2018-0134

Robson, D.B., Hamel, C., Neufeld, R., and Bleho, B.I. 2019. Impact of grazing history on pollinator communities in fescue prairie. Blue Jay 77(1): 10 - 15.

Hamel, C. and Neufeld, R. 2018. Decline of native prairie in core grassland conservation areas in Southwestern Manitoba 2010-2015. Blue Jay 76(4): 30 - 33.

At NCC, we always strive to ensure our work is informed by the best available science and implemented in the most effective way possible. In many cases, this means spearheading new or innovate types of management and research to answer knowledge gaps, and monitoring activities, habitats and species to ensure that we’re meeting our goals.

Sharing lessons learned, successes and challenges is critically important, especially to ensure that conservation is effective not only at the property level, but across the landscape.

Landmark Campaign: Protecting Manitoba's grasslands

Nature is vital to our quality of life. But Canada’s natural spaces are at risk, and we’re losing our connection to nature.

Grasslands are among the world’s most endangered ecosystems. In addition to providing critical stopovers for migratory birds and habitat for waterfowl and rare and endangered species, sequester and store carbon, and provide a precious and sustainable source of grazing land for livestock.

Grasslands are also important for soil and water conservation. They help with flood control and climate regulation. They also play an important role in protecting the quality and security of drinking water for people living in Canada`s prairie provinces.

But more than 75 per cent of Manitoba`s grasslands have been lost, and the remainder are highly fragmented. Through the Landmark Campaign, NCC is working to protect grassland habitats across Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

By 2020, funds raised for NCC's Manitoba Region will directly contribute to an additional 16,187 hectares (40,000 acres) of conserved NCC lands. This will bring the region to a total of at least 40,400 hectares (100,000 acres). That's equal to almost 10 times the size of Bird's Hill Park!

Your investment will help us conserve more land faster, connect more Canadians to nature and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.

Get involved

Take part in conservation effort by donating your time and assisting with on-going stewardship projects in your area, by visiting our Conservation Volunteers website here!

To make a donation to the Manitoba region, click here.

Your donation will fund the direct conservation of natural habitats and wild spaces. Become a Leader in Conservation (LIC) with an annual commitment of $1,000.

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