NCC

Manitoba

Number of projects: During this period, NCC also funded the relinquishment of 82,313 acres (33,311 hectares) of timber rights outside the new Birch River Wildland Park in Alberta. These rights were cancelled by the provincial government and will only be re-issued for ecological purposes. 5

Land value: Land value is the fair market value as determined by independent appraisal. $2,023,000

Acres conserved: 1,641

Stewardship volunteers: 132

Unprecedented bioblitz results

NCC

What better way to Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday than by documenting the presence of more than 400 species during a bioblitz in Manitoba’s globally rare alvar communities in the Interlake? Thirty-five participants couldn’t agree more, as they spent the day documenting as many species as possible — in particular, rare and threatened — found in the region, including some that were identified here for the first time.

Alvars are an endangered ecosystem in Manitoba. This globally rare habitat is characterized by thin to no soil over unbroken limestone and supports a unique group of plant species.

Three at-risk birds — eastern whip-poor-will, common nighthawk and bank swallow — were also spotted. To top that off, participants also documented the presence of hoary bat, along with Gastony’s cliffbrake and western dwarf cliffbrake (ferns that, in Manitoba, are found only on alvars).

The bioblitz also included surveys for insects, land snails and rare orchids. This was the first targeted search for some of these groups of species on Manitoba’s alvars. A search for bat caves revealed a few locations that might serve as hibernation spots for bat species that overwinter in Manitoba.

The bioblitz was undertaken with support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Government of Canada as a Canada 150 Signature project.

The benefits of sharing knowledge

Scatliff Miller Murray

This March a workshop hosted by NCC, in collaboration with Prairie Habitats Inc., Scatliff + Miller + Murray and the University of Winnipeg, brought together a diverse group of land managers, practitioners, local industries (such as seed/plant producers and consultants), conservation groups, Canadian and American not-for-profit organizations and museums, as well as independent volunteers. The Ecological Restoration Workshop, held in Winnipeg, was an opportunity for the groups to network and share their best practices for restoring Manitoba’s natural habitats.

Workshop topics included the current state of ecological restoration in Manitoba, local native seed sourcing, the economics of native seed production and current research on pollinators. Participants shared their knowledge about restoration approaches and research and networking initiatives in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They also had shared perspectives on restoration.

Information from the workshop will be used to produce a report that outlines the opportunities available to improve ecosystem restoration practices in Manitoba.

Securing priority habitats in Manitoba’s newest natural area

NCC

Waggle Springs is a shining example of a high-priority conservation opportunity in Manitoba’s Assiniboine Delta Natural Area. The grassland habitats found here are some of the most endangered in the world, and they are rapidly disappearing in Canada. Waggle Springs is also home to bubbling spring water, which supports the nationally rare roundleaf monkeyflower.

The Assiniboine Delta hosts unique and uncommon plants, as well as animals that are dependent on prairies, sandy barrens and open dunes. The recent securement of this 754-acre (305-hectare) property is crucial to NCC’s goal of protecting the Assiniboine Delta’s wildlife and habitats.

More than 20 plants and animals assessed as at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) have been confirmed in this natural area. This includes the majority of the known sites of prairie skink, and the only Manitoba populations of four rare moths, including dusky dune moth.

Students from the Parkwest School Division partnered with NCC’s Manitoba Region in a two-year citizen science project. They participated in training workshops, hours in school and in the field. Students also participated in trail camera monitoring over the course of the project.