Final Project Report: Habitat Stewardship in Saskatchewan 2011-2012 (pdf)
Goals and Objectives
The purpose of this project is to restore, conserve and enhance existing waterfowl habitat with emphasis on wetlands, in order to return waterfowl breeding productivity to levels of the 1970s. Breeding habitat for waterfowl including Northern Pintail, and other grassland nesting shorebirds and landbirds will be created, enhanced and secured in 12 year agreements through voluntary, cost-shared projects with local farmers and ranchers. Projects will contribute to the Habitat Objectives outlined in the Saskatchewan North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) Implementation Plan, and will be targeted using the Saskatchewan NAWMP Target Landscapes. Habitat projects will focus on wetland restorations and cropland conversion to perennial forage. Wetland restoration will provide breeding habitats for Northern Pintail and other waterfowl. Cropland conversion will provide upland nesting habitat and conserve existing wetlands. Project activities will benefit other non-game birds, including shorebirds, waterbirds, and landbirds.
Establishing an inventory of existing and drained wetland basins in the Saskatchewan NAWMP Target Landscapes will enable both calculation of wetland losses, and efficient targeting and direction of proactive wetland restoration programming.
Upland and wetland breeding habitats for Northern Pintail and other waterfowl will be restored and secured with minimum 12 year agreements through voluntary, cost-shared projects with local farmers and ranchers. Wetland inventories will expand on recently completed inventories of wetland habitats established for the Lightning East NAWMP Target Landscape, and portions of several other Target Landscapes.
Activities for this one-year project will consist of:
Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions
As part of the larger project, SWA estimates WHC’s contributions will support up to 40 projects converting 7000 acres of cropland to native or non-invasive tame forage, 180 wetland basins with associated upland conserved or restored, where opportunities arise. In addition, on some projects the health of native prairie will be improved through deferred grazing.
As part of the larger project, SWA estimates WHC’s contributions will support the inventory of wetlands on the equivalent of 11.8 townships (1,087 km2). Depending on wetland densities, 11.8 townships could encompass up to 60,000 wetland basins. Protocols will follow those developed by DUC; individual wetland basins (minimum polygon area of 200 m2) will be identified, digitized, and categorized as drained (ditches will also be digitized), intact but cultivated, intact (emergent vegetation), and intact (open water).
Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife
Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Waterfowl Productivity Model estimates achieving the Saskatchewan NAWMP habitat goals would result in an increase of 17,595 hatched dabbler nests and 6,072 hatched pintail nests annually. SWA estimates the current proposed Project will convert a maximum of 7000 acres of cropland to forage, and 180 basins restored in these waterfowl target areas, which over the duration of the 12-year agreements are estimated to hatch over 16,800 dabbler ducklings and 4,320 Pintail ducklings.
Information on rates of wetland loss will enable refinement of the habitat goals produced by the Waterfowl Productivity Model for the Saskatchewan NAWMP Implementation Plan, enable targeting of wetland restoration projects, aid in development of a PHJV wetland monitoring program, and ultimately inform development of both wetland and ecological goods and services policy. All of these outcomes benefit wildlife by improving program delivery.
Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management
Project activities contribute directly to achievement of the Saskatchewan NAWMP Habitat Objectives, as well as habitat goals for shorebirds, landbirds and waterbirds. Activities are also consistent with recommendations of local watershed planning groups concerned with source water protection, and local hunting groups concerned with game populations. The economic interests of landowners will benefit through modifications to their overall farm plan and operation that increase their profitability, sustainability, resilience to drought etc. Other local industry will benefit economically from increased prosperity of local landowners.
Ducks Unlimited Canada will benefit from the joint program with SWA offering enhanced incentives to landowners to restore upland and wetland habitats.
Prairie Habitat Joint Venture (PHJV) Partners and other conservation organizations will benefit from information on wetland loss. Development of provincial wetland conservation policy will also benefit from increased information on the magnitude and spatial patterns of wetland loss.
This project will target the Saskatchewan NAWMP Target Landscapes, with special emphasis on the Lightning East, Conjuring Creek, Upper Assiniboine, Pheasant Hills, Missouri Coteau South, and Cactus Lake Target Landscapes. Please see Figure 1.
For more information on this project, please contact
Wildlife Habitat Canada 120 Iber Road, Suite 207Ottawa, ON K2S 1E9Telephone: (613) 722-2090Toll-Free: (800) 669-7919Fax: (613) 722-3318
Since 1984, Wildlife Habitat Canada (WHC) has helped deliver habitat conservation projects on all land and seascapes and all provinces and territories in Canada. These projects have helped to safeguard important ecosystems and countless wild species. Click here to find out how you can help Wildlife Habitat Canada continue to make a difference.