Important conservation area near Saskatoon expands
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners announced today an important land purchase that expands a major conservation area in central Saskatchewan.
The not-for-profit charity has acquired 124 hectares (307 acres) near the town of Asquith, approximately 45 minutes from Saskatoon. The site features native and tame grasslands as well as aspen forest. It is close to three nearby NCC conservation properties, which brings the total conservation area to 543 hectares (1,343 acres). These properties contribute to a common habitat corridor located in the Saskatoon Prairie Natural Area. Known for its grasslands, forests, stabilized sand dunes and wetlands, the area is important for wildlife conservation. Conserving the area helps avoid further habitat loss and fragmentation from agricultural activity and urbanization.
Grasslands and the wetlands they contain benefit migratory birds, as well as wildlife listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. The area provides important habitat for American badger (special concern), bobolink (threatened), bank swallow (threatened) and northern leopard frog (special concern).
This conservation project was made possible due to the generous financial support of several partners. The Government of Canada contributed through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. The Government of Saskatchewan contributed through the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund. Many individual donors also supported this conservation project through NCC’s grasslands campaign conservegrasslands.ca
“At this critical time in history, when the world is confronted by the triple threat of climate change, biodiversity collapse, and a pandemic—we need to come together to protect the health of our planet. Our government is proud to support the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s work to conserve grassland, wetland and forests near Asquith, in Saskatchewan. With this project, we are one step closer to conserving a quarter of Canada’s land by 2025.” − The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
“NCC’s Asquith properties are unique in the way that the landscape changes as you walk through them. There are dense trees and bushes, vibrant grasslands, rolling stabilized sand dunes, and wetlands teeming with waterfowl. It’s a special area that is home to many plants and animals. Thanks to the support of our partners and donors, this area will be conserved for the long term.” – Anja Sorensen, Program Director of Southeast and Central Saskatchewan for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Saskatchewan.
- Saskatchewan’s native grasslands are among the rarest and most at-risk habitats in the world and a critical part of the province’s environment. For more information, visit conservegrasslands.ca.
- Over the past 25 years, Saskatchewan has lost more than 809,000 hectares (2 million acres) of native grassland. Today, less than 20 per cent of native grassland remains in our province.
- Grasslands filter our water, sequester and store carbon, and for thousands of years have provided sustenance for humans. They are also critical stopover sites for migratory birds and provide habitat for waterfowl and imperilled species.
- NCC provides public, on-foot access at almost all of its properties, including the Asquith property.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to conserve 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. In Saskatchewan, more than 198,219 hectares (489,810 acres) have been protected. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.
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