NCC Manitoba staff member, Matt Gasner, out birding at sunrise. Credit: Thomas Fricke

NCC Manitoba staff member, Matt Gasner, out birding at sunrise. Credit: Thomas Fricke

Manitoba's 2021 Gratitude Report

A view along the water's edge at Heron Creek in Manitoba. Credit: Matt Gasner

A view along the water's edge at Heron Creek in Manitoba. Credit: Matt Gasner

Thank you!

One common element to our proudest accomplishments from this year is teamwork. Each hectare carefully stewarded, each species at risk recorded, each conservation leader trained — these actions are your contributions at work. You are a part of what makes conservation in Canada possible! Thanks to your support, we are celebrating another successful year of conservation in the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Manitoba Region. Reflect with us on some of our highlights from the year:

New partnerships, new places: Portage Creek conservation agreement

A conservation agreement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization that permanently protects the natural values of a parcel of land. Conservation agreements allow private landowners to continue to own and use their land, donate, sell it or pass it on to their heirs while permanently protecting the natural values of the property.

This year saw the closing of a conservation agreement along Portage Creek, a key tributary leading to the Delta Marsh, just south of Lake Manitoba.

Cal and Elaine Cuthbert approached NCC about donating this agreement, and a strong relationship quickly formed between the Cuthberts and the NCC Manitoba team.

The parcel protected under this agreement contains riparian oak stands that provide important habitat for breeding and migratory birds, including a wide variety of songbirds and raptors. Cal has observed over half the known species of birds in Manitoba while birding on the property.

Learn more about this incredible project:

Conservation Volunteers: Intern-for-a-day experience

Youth volunteers from the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Wild Outside program joined NCC for an intern-for-a-day experience. Participating youth learned about NCC’s adaptive management programs and gained safe, socially distanced, hands-on experience and training from our conservation staff.

The team assisted in the mapping of important features, including an access trail, on the Heron Creek property near Riding Mountain National Park. Baseline inventories are a key component of NCC’s property management plans, and include detailed records of the plants, animals and human impacts on a property at the time of its acquisition (or shortly thereafter).

“Our youth had a wonderful time and enjoyed every minute (even the bushwhacking!)." - Ashley Adams, Youth Leadership Specialist

Support for this programming was provided by the Conservation Trust, a Manitoba Climate and Green Plan initiative delivered by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.

Prescribed fire: A burning success

In 2021, the Manitoba Region conducted eight prescribed fires in the Assiniboine Delta and Tall Grass Prairie Natural Areas. Some fire-dependent ecosystems, such as tall grass prairie, historically burned as often as once every few years.

Prairie fire, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Prairie fire, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Prescribed fire uses a plan to deliberately set fire to a pre-determined area with fire guards for containment, under precise environmental conditions to meet specific objectives like preventing woody species from overtaking over prairie grasslands and to restore ecological processes.

Hot, dry, windy conditions and high fuel loads of dry plant materials can lead to catastrophic widespread wildfire. Prescribed fire can be used to limit the risk of wildfire and rapid spread when done collectively on a landscape scale through partnerships like the newly formed Canadian Prairie Prescribed Fire Exchange.

We conducted burns across all growing seasons, ranging in size from two-hectare patch burns, to as much as 65 hectares. In total, over 167 hectares were burned this year.

NCC's Manitoba Region hopes to build on this momentum to continue expanding our prescribed fire program in the years to come, allowing more prairie grassland habitats to thrive.

Paddle for Nature

NCC Manitoba’s inaugural Paddle for Nature event took place in 2021!

Kayak; Photo by J. Pelc

Kayak; Photo by J. Pelc

Paddle for Nature was a three-day fundraising challenge event from August 27 to 29 where participants buckled up their lifejackets and pledged to paddle their canoes and kayaks — even their rubber dinghies and bathtub boats — as a way to support nature conservation in the province.

Right now, we are facing the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. When we lose nature, we also lose the benefits that it provides to people. From carbon storage to the health benefits of spending time in nature, we know that our well-being is directly linked to the health of the habitats around us. To accelerate our efforts, we need all of society to play a role.

Funds raised through the Paddle for Nature challenge supported nature conservation projects in Manitoba.

We look forward to seeing you out on the water in 2022! Stay tuned for registration details this summer.

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 here.

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