Southwest Sandhills, Saskatchewan (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

Southwest Sandhills, Saskatchewan (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

Conservation efforts energized in Saskatchewan’s Southwest Sandhills

May 7, 2024


SaskEnergy renews commitment to supporting Nature Conservancy of Canada’s work to conserve natural area near Swift Current

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is thrilled to announce funding from SaskEnergy to support conservation and stewardship in the Southwest Sandhills of Saskatchewan.

SaskEnergy has pledged $25,000 annually for three years to fund stewardship, conservation planning and partnerships aimed at sustaining the unique species and habitats found in the area. This builds upon SaskEnergy’s previous $50,000, two-year commitment toward NCC’s conservation efforts in the Southwest Sandhills and brings total support to $125,000 over five years. 

The Southwest Sandhills area, located just east of Swift Current and extending to the Alberta border, boast large tracts of intact native grasslands, sand dunes, and sandy prairie, including the Great Sand Hills, alongside a significant section of the South Saskatchewan River. The area is renowned for its birdwatching opportunities and nature photography, attracting enthusiasts from far and wide.

Rich in historical, cultural, and spiritual significance to Indigenous Nations, the Southwest Sandhills area harbors over 200 heritage resource sites of archaeological and cultural importance, as well as medicinal plants significant to Indigenous Peoples.

Support from SaskEnergy will facilitate several conservation projects, including the implementation of a 10-year Southwest Sandhills Natural Area Conservation Plan. Crafted with input from Indigenous advisors, land users, agencies and stakeholders, the plan outlines biodiversity priorities, threats, partnerships and restoration projects. SaskEnergy and NCC will also host a Conservation Volunteers event to help restore and care for the area and the species it sustains, including 38 species at risk such as Ord’s kangaroo rat and Gibson’s big sand tiger beetle.

“We're incredibly grateful for SaskEnergy's ongoing support of our conservation work in the Southwest Sandhills," says Kristen Martin, NCC's conservation science and planning manager in Saskatchewan. "This area is home to unique habitats like sand dunes, which are vital for a variety of species found exclusively in Saskatchewan. Thanks to partners like SaskEnergy, we can help conserve the rich biodiversity found here.”

A working group, including NCC, Nature Saskatchewan, and Birds Canada, has been established to coordinate conservation efforts within the area, maximizing the effective use of resources and funding through collaboration. NCC is also engaging with two community pasture patron groups in the area to support grazing management plans that balance economic needs with environmental sustainability.

“For more than 25 years, SaskEnergy has been a proud sponsor of NCC and its efforts to conserve Saskatchewan’s natural landscapes,” said Mark Guillet, SaskEnergy president and CEO. “We are pleased to renew our support of NCC’s work in the Southwest Sandhills, as it is important to the protection of the diverse and distinctive habitats in this area and aligns with SaskEnergy’s commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship.”


  • Grasslands, and the wetlands they contain, are among the world’s most at-risk ecosystems.
  • Grasslands filter our water, sequester and store carbon and are a critical part of Saskatchewan life. Grasslands also support prairie wildlife, including burrowing owl, swift fox, pronghorn, songbirds and migratory birds. For more information, visit conservegrasslands.ca.
  • NCC provides volunteer opportunities to help with on-the-ground stewardship of grasslands and wetlands. For upcoming events, visit conservationvolunteers.ca.
  • NCC provides public, on-foot access to most of its properties. To plan your next adventure, visit naturedestinations.ca.

About NCC

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner, NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

About SaskEnergy

SaskEnergy’s natural gas system has served Saskatchewan households, businesses, farms and industries for more than 70 years. SaskEnergy provides critical energy to support a greener Saskatchewan and is committed to reducing emissions from operations while assisting customers in reducing their end-use emissions.

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Media Contact:

Daphne May
Director of Communications and Engagement

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Funding provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada