A native prairie of Sask. gain protection

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the new owner of a large section of endangered native grasslands in Saskatchewan.

The Mackie Ranch property, just a few miles off the Trans-Canada Highway between Moose Jaw and Swift Current, contains 646 hectares of grassland and wetlands and is located along the east shore of Lake Chaplin, Canada’s second largest salt lake. .

The conservation says that during spring and fall migrations, thousands of shorebirds use Lake Chaplin and the surrounding grasslands for refueling or nesting.

It also says the site is one of only three in Canada with a designation of hemispheric importance for shorebirds, and the only site of its kind located inland.

The group says the site has been named after the Mackie family in recognition of their environmental stewardship over several generations. The conservation organization says it will continue to be used for cattle grazing to help keep grasslands healthy and support the local economy.

He says financial support from donors and partners, including the federal government’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, made the project possible.

“By working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we are protecting Saskatchewan’s natural environment and building a healthier and more resilient future for our children and grandchildren,” Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said in a press release.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says that in the past 25 years, Saskatchewan has lost more than 809,000 hectares of native grassland and now less than 20 percent remain intact.

The group says grasslands filter water, help prevent floods and droughts, sequester carbon and help provide livelihoods for people.

This Canadian Press report was first published on November 27, 2021.


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