Frenchman River Watershed Natural Area
Swift fox (Photo by Karol Dabbs)
Located in southwestern Saskatchewan, the Frenchman River offers a corridor of critical wildlife habitat. The river passes through the southern edge of the famous Palliser Triangle; the driest region of the Canadian Prairies.
The Frenchman River Watershed Natural Area is located in the fragmented Mixed Grassland Ecoregion. Of this ecoregion, less than one per cent of its remaining natural habitat with tracts large enough to support a diversity of native species.
The Frenchman River Watershed Natural Area contains some of the best examples of intact prairie grassland in Canada.
There is a high percentage of species at risk in this area, some endemic to mixed grass prairie habitat. Black-tailed prairie dog, greater sage-grouse and swift fox can be found here and no where else in the province.
The large blocks of healthy grassland make this area nationally significant for grassland birds.
Southwestern Saskatchewan’s native prairie is threatened mostly by its conversion to cropland, by fragmentation, degradation and wetland drainage. Protecting riparian and grassland habitats helps meet the needs of prairie wildlife and migratory birds. To restore wildlife corridors within the landscape, some of the marginal croplands must be reverted to perennial forages.
Conservation groups and ranchers concerned about long term conservation of critical habitat are working together to secure critical areas and help sustain natural habitat.