Important area of connected habitat conserved through collaboration
Landowners partner with Ducks Unlimited Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada to protect wetlands and grasslands in southeastern Saskatchewan
The protection of grasslands and wetlands is a major priority in Saskatchewan and not-for-profit organizations Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) are working together to conserve a remarkable natural area.
The Pipestone Creek property is in southeast Saskatchewan, located along Pipestone Creek in the Moose Mountain Natural Area. The private landowners worked with both DUC and NCC to develop conservation agreements to protect existing grassland and wetland areas of the property that were a strong fit for each organization’s mandate.
NCC’s Pipestone Creek project consists of 455 hectares (1,124 acres) of tame and native grasslands mixed with bur oak aspen parkland habitat. Grasslands are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world and help filter our water and store carbon. They also provide habitat for wildlife listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, including bobolink (threatened), Sprague’s pipit (threatened), loggerhead shrike (threatened), little brown myotis (endangered) and northern leopard frog (special concern). The location of the property within the Pipestone Creek valley makes it important in conserving habitat connectivity in an area with high levels of threat to habitat fragmentation.
In addition to the land conserved by NCC, DUC’s Blyth Conservation Easement has resulted in the protection of an additional 772 hectares (1,907 acres) of tame grasslands, wetlands, and mixed natural lands. Located in an area of significant habitat value for waterfowl and wildlife — and one at risk of further habitat degradation and loss — the project will serve to protect these lands for the long term.
This partnership is a result of visionary landowners, and the conservation agreements will ensure the properties will not be developed, subdivided, drained or cultivated. However, they will continue to be used for cattle grazing to help keep the grasslands healthy.
These conservation projects were made possible due to the generous financial support of our donors and partners. The Government of Canada is a major contributor through its Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund.
“It is thanks to the Blyth family’s conservation ethic, foresight and commitment that this intact parcel along the Pipestone Creek has been permanently preserved for its value to wildlife and people. DUC congratulates the Government of Canada for its vision and historic investment in nature through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program. This investment, coupled with program partners like NCC, make large vital conservation projects like this possible.” - Andrew Hak, Head of Conservation Programs, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Saskatchewan
“Together with DUC, we’ve been able to conserve a beautiful natural area along the valley of Pipestone Creek. Conserving these grasslands and wetlands is important for our health and the at-risk species that live there. Many plants and animals rely on connected habitat to move around, find mates, hunt, forage and reproduce. Movement between significant areas of habitat, such as the area found at Pipestone Creek, is critical for maintaining healthy populations of species.” - Anja Sorensen, Program Director for the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Saskatchewan Region.
“Today, more native grasslands and wetlands in Saskatchewan will be protected for future generations. This land helps keep our drinking water clean and protects our communities from the impacts of a changing climate, while fighting climate change by storing carbon. It also provides important habitat for species at risk such as the bobolink. By working together to protect more nature, we are creating a cleaner, healthier future for our children and grandchildren.” - The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, MInister of Environment and Climate Change
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the conservation easement program with DUC and NCC. We would like to thank the people involved, from both organizations, for their highly professional and exceptional work that made this happen. As our surrounding landscape is rapidly being converted from parkland to dryland prairie cropland the need to preserve larger areas of permanent cover is becoming more urgent. There are many wonderful things to enjoy on and around the property we steward. There are Burr Oak trees close to 200 years old that were here before homesteaders moved into this area. Natural plum groves can be found in the valley, along with a long list of native plants and grasses. Several sharp-tailed grouse leks are present on the uplands which always provide us entertainment spring and fall. In the valley, mink, fisher, painted turtles, snapping turtles and wood ducks and more recently river otter can be seen if you are patient and quiet. Several archaeological sites have also been documented on this property and will be protected in perpetuity.” – Clint and Jody Blyth, landowners.
- Together, both conservation projects conserve over 1,227 hectares (over 3,031 acres) along the valley of Pipestone Creek.
- Priority species found in the area include little brown myotis, loggerhead shrike, bobolink, Sprague’s pipit, barn swallow, Western grebe and great blue heron. Waterfowl commonly found within the area include blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, northern pintail, northern shoveler, gadwall and mallard.
- DUC works alongside Saskatchewan agricultural producers, industry groups, governments and the public to ensure wetland values to wildlife and people are appreciated and accounted for. Visit ducks.ca/Saskatchewan.
- People can support the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s work in Saskatchewan to protect endangered grasslands, wetlands and the at-risk species that live here. Visit conservegrasslands.ca.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. In Saskatchewan, DUC has conserved 687,966 ha (1.7 million acres) of wetland and upland habitats and influenced an additional 2.2 million ha (5.4 million acres) through landowner partnerships. Learn more at ducks.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 protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. In Saskatchewan, NCC has protected 198,219 hectares (489,810 acres) of ecologically sensitive lands and waters. 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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