The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners unveiled a new conservation site that is located 40-kilometres from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

The conservation site contains 2,1400-acres of native grasslands and seven kilometres of shoreline along the north shore of Buffalo Pound Lake. The natural area buffers and helps filter Buffalo Pound Lake, which provides drinking water for approximately 25 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population.

“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,” said Terry Duguid, member of parliament and parliamentary secretary to the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“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,” added Duguid.

A number of individuals joined Duguid for the announcement, including:

  • Jennifer McKillop, NCC’s regional vice president for Saskatchewan.
  • Cameron Wood, NCC’s director of conservation for Saskatchewan.
  • NCC staff and project supporters.

“NCC’s Buffalo Pound property is a beautiful area that contains native grasslands along a premium shoreline,” said Cameron Wood, director of conservation for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Saskatchewan. “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.”

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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), and Baird’s sparrow (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.

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