Carmen Leibel

Saskatchewan

  • Number of Completed Projects (2013-2014)
  • 8
  • Acres Conserved
  • 3,187
  • Land Value
  • $1,731,500
  • Stewardship Volunteers
  • 105

Flying high for conservation

On two picture-perfect days in early October, NCC staff boarded a plane and flew over more than 73,000 acres (29,542 hectares) in southern Saskatchewan’s Missouri Coteau pothole region.

They were flying high to monitor, assess and record the state of NCC-owned lands and private lands under NCC conservation agreements.

Conservation agreements require NCC staff to monitor these projects annually to ensure the agreement is respected and the natural values remain conserved. Monitoring that could take two months now takes just two days by plane. It takes about two minutes to survey a quarter section (160 acres/65 hectares).

And there’s no shortage of natural wonders to see: the Missouri Coteau wetland areas are vital for breeding waterfowl and for migrating shorebirds like American avocet, long-billed curlew and the endangered piping plover.

NCC/CNC

A gracious gift to save Fairy Hill lands

Lloyd Sauer knows the grasslands of Fairy Hill intimately: from an early age he was out on the land, helping his family care for it.

Later, he and his wife Janet raised their family here.

Lloyd has seen the landscape drastically change. So it only made sense to Lloyd and Janet to conserve these lands that had meant so much to their family for generations.

The Sauers had received other offers to purchase their 161 acres (65 hectares) of land located close to 40 kilometres north of the Regina city limits, but none of these offers held the guarantee of conservation and protection.

NCC, on the other hand, did offer such a guarantee.

In November 2013, the family confirmed details of their land transfer to NCC that involved both a partial sale and their generous land donation. The Sauers’ property joins NCC’s existing Fairy Hill lands and offers a broader region of connectivity for many wildlife species.

While flying over NCC properties last fall to monitor them, staff spotted tens of thousands of snow geese, a herd of antelope, many flocks of swans, a ferruginous hawk and a soaring bald eagle.

 
Mike Dembeck

Wideview

Located in southwestern Saskatchewan, the Frenchman River is part of the mixed grassland ecoregion.

Today, roughly 70 percent of this ecoregion has been altered, leaving only 30 percent intact in relatively small blocks across Saskatchewan. In this highly fragmented habitat, there are relatively few natural areas with sufficiently large tracts that can support a diversity of native species.

Working with our partners, we secured 1,117 acres (452 hectares) in the Wideview properties. The properties feature grasslands, hardwood forest, shrubs and both seasonal and permanent wetlands.

Wideview provides important habitat for many songbirds, waterfowl and various species at risk, including northern leopard f‎rog, greater sage grouse, loggerhead shrike, Sprague's pipit and ferruginous hawk.

This was NCC’s first direct land purchase in the Frenchman River Watershed Natural Area. Potentially, there are 2,557 more acres (1,035 hectares) available for purchase or management adjacent to these properties.