Shorebird Flock in Flight (Photo by C. Artuso)

Shorebird Flock in Flight (Photo by C. Artuso)

Celebrating another great year in Manitoba!

Prairie grassland, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Prairie grassland, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who joined us in making a difference in this incredible province, and right across the country in 2018.

These are just a few of the highlights of the past year. If you'd like to learn more about these projects or any of our work, please call to speak with our staff.

We look forward to doing more, better, faster, together with your support!

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. They provide habitat and food for the pollinators that fertilize our crops.

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.

More than 75 per cent of Manitoba's grasslands have been lost, however, and much of the remainder are highly fragmented. Through the Landmark Campaign, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (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 40,469 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.

Poweshiek skipperling: Hope for a prairie butterfly

This July, the Assiniboine Park Zoo Conservancy, Conservation and Research Department, successfully released six captive-reared Poweshiek skipperling butterflies at NCC's Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area in southeastern Manitoba. The release is the culmination of a multi-year, collaborative research and conservation effort undertaken to save this endangered species.

Recent estimates suggest that there may be fewer than 100 Poweshiek skipperling remaining in Canada, making the addition of six individuals significant. The release marks the first ever release of captive-reared Poweshiek skipperlings.

To learn more about the Poweshiek skipperling and the partners working to save this small prairie butterfly, you can listen to episode 6 of Nature Talks, the Nature Conservancy of Canada's seven-part podcast series featuring fascinating stories about nature, why we need it in our lives and the passionate Canadians helping to protect it.

The podcast can be found on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify…and just about anywhere else you go to find great podcast content.

Special thanks to Manitoba's Cary Hamel for being featured in the episode and Carly Dow for providing the theme song.

Waggle Springs

February 2018 saw NCC's Manitoba Region secure over 160 hectares (400 acres) as part of the Waggle Springs project in the Assiniboine Delta Natural Area, east of Brandon.

Perched on the edge of the Assiniboine River, bordered by oak savannah and riparian forest, the rolling dry mixed-grass prairie on the property hosts nationally threatened birds like Sprague’s pipit.

Freshwater springs are acquifer-fed and support nationally rare roundleaf monkeyflower, which occurs along the river valley. The riparian forest, which slopes towards the river, is where the springs are found.

Waggle Springs is part of a large grassland expanse that supports several provicially and/or nationally listed species, including prairie skink, chestnut-collared longspur, northern leopard frog and monarch. The property's mixed-grass prairie supports rare grassland-obligate birds and plants alike, such as grasshopper sparrow and woolly milkweed.

The securement of this property was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Program, a unique public-private partnership led by NCC and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

This land is protected for the long term thanks to the generosity of Bob Williams, Parrish & Heimbeker and Doug Harvey.

Shorebird monitoring: You can make a difference

To assist declining shorebird populations, NCC, Manomet, the Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program (IBA), Bird Studies Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada led an effort to establish a shorebird monitoring program in Manitoba.  

A 2016 report on the State of North America’s Birds indicated a 70 per cent decline in shorebird populations since the early 1970s. Causes of that decline range from habitat loss in breeding and wintering areas and along migratory pathways, changes in predation pressure, pollution, changes in food availability, changing climate conditions and being repeatedly disturbed while resting and feeding.

A handful of the species that move through Manitoba will stay and breed, raising their young before returning south for the winter, others only stop temporarily for food and rest on their way north or south. Whether for breeding or refuelling, Manitoba’s wetlands are important for these birds on their journeys.

In order to conserve them, we need to learn more about shorebirds. How many are there? Where do they go? Which areas are most important for them?

If you are interested in volunteering for future shorebird surveys, contact the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

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