The Nature Conservancy of Canada protects shoreline along Buffalo Pound Lake
Natural area buffers and helps filter Buffalo Pound Lake, providing drinking water for approximately 25 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners today unveiled a new conservation site, located 40 kilometres from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
The not-for-profit, land conservation organization announced the purchase of the area, which consists of 866 hectares (2,140 acres) of native grasslands and seven kilometres of shoreline along the north shore of Buffalo Pound Lake. These grasslands help filter the drinking water for approximately one-quarter of the province’s population, including the cities of Regina, Moose Jaw, and several surrounding communities.
Participating in the announcement today were Terry Duguid, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada; Jennifer McKillop, NCC’s Regional Vice-president for Saskatchewan; Cameron Wood, NCC’s Director of Conservation for Saskatchewan, along with NCC staff and project supporters.
Native grasslands are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. The property is in the Upper Qu’Appelle Natural Area, which is an important wildlife habitat corridor. This natural area is home to many plants and animals, as well as wildlife listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, such as Sprague’s pipit (threatened), bobolink (threatened), Baird’s sparrow (special concern), northern leopard frog (special concern) and American badger (special concern).
This area is at risk for future development, as shorelines are in demand for recreation and industry. Conserving this important natural area can sustain a healthy ecosystem, including supporting recreation and economic needs. Keeping the province’s grasslands and lakes healthy benefits the people and wildlife who depend on them.
Now that the property has been acquired, NCC’s science staff will conduct a thorough inventory of all plant and animal species in the coming weeks. This information will be used to develop a management plan to help protect the species and conserve their habitat.
The acquisition of NCC’s Buffalo Pound property was made possible thanks to the generous financial support of several partners. The Government of Canada is a major contributor through the Canada Nature Fund, including the Natural Heritage Conservation Program and the Canada Nature Fund components of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). The Government of Saskatchewan contributed through the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund. Other substantial contributors that have provided funds to the project include MapleCross Fund, K+S Potash Canada, Joyce Gemmell Jessen Habitat Conservation Fund, Sharon Downs, Leslie Ann Chandler, Susan and Brad Hertz, Wendy Woodard and Chris Selness. Many other individual donors also supported this conservation project.
“On behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, I would like to congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada for conserving native grasslands in Saskatchewan. Thanks in part to our government’s financial support through the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the conserved area will support the survival of iconic Canadian species and will help to filter drinking water for many living in southern Saskatchewan. By working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada to protect important ecosystems like this one, we’re ensuring that wildlife and communities can thrive now and in the future. Together, we are making progress toward conserving a quarter of Canada’s lands and a quarter of its oceans by 2025.” – Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“NCC’s Buffalo Pound property is a beautiful area that contains native grasslands along a premium shoreline. Conserving these grasslands is one of the most important things we can do to help the plants and animals that live there, as well as filter the air we breathe and provide quality drinking water in southern Saskatchewan.” – Cameron Wood, Director of Conservation for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Saskatchewan.
- NCC’s Buffalo Pound property will help protect Saskatchewan’s native grasslands, which 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 (two million acres) of native grassland. Today, less than 20 per cent of native grassland remains in the province.
- Grasslands buffer 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.
- The NAWMP is a tri-national (Canada, United States of America and Mexico) partnership, composed of federal, state, provincial and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, industry, and private individuals. The NAWMP has laid the foundation for international cooperation in the recovery of declining waterfowl populations by securing and restoring, and sustainably managing wetland and associated upland habitat. To learn more, visit nawmp.wetlandnetwork.ca/
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 is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. Federal funds are matched by contributions raised by NCC and its partners. Habitat conserved under the NHCP enhances natural corridors and other protected areas.
- 30 -