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western region ( Prairie/ Boreal ) Yukon • Northwest Territories • Nunavut • Alberta • Saskatchewan • Manitoba

volume 31, number 3, 2010

Building support for wetland policy with Saskatchewan leaders

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Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) directors and staff hosted members of Saskatchewan’s governing party at a reception in April. At the Legislative Building in Regina, government party members learned about the long-term, far-reaching impacts of wetland drainage in the province. The DUC representatives took the opportunity to encourage Premier Brad Wall and his government to develop a provincial wetland and water policy that includes effective and enforceable regulations and recognizes good stewardship by providing landowners with incentives to conserve wetlands for their ecological goods and services. Saskatchewan has some of the highest wetland loss rates in Canada; in fact, in some areas, over 90 per cent of wetlands have been lost or degraded. Recent research in the Smith Creek watershed in east-central Saskatchewan paints a startling picture.

Jeff Nelson, DUC CEO, Saskatchewan's Deputy Premier Ken Krawetz, Saskatchewan MLA and former Environment Minister Nancy Heppner, and Jack Hole, DUC President at a reception hosted by Ducks Unlimited Canada in April.

This project confirmed 66 per cent of the total number of wetlands in the watershed had been drained or degraded between 1958 and 2000. And this isn’t just a historical issue. Results demonstrate that between 2000 and 2007, 15 per cent of remaining wetlands were lost. The supporters delivered an important message to the government. Saskatchewan needs new wetland policy legislation to help stop wetland loss and help to sustain Saskatchewan’s environment and quality of life and DUC stands ready and willing to participate in its development. Losing wetlands is deteriorating Saskatchewan’s water supply and environment by increasing the frequency and magnitude of downstream flooding events, releasing considerable amounts of greenhouse gases and deteriorating the quality of surface run-off entering Saskatchewan waterways. Your support is critical as well. Contact Ducks Unlimited Canada at 1-866-252-3825 to find out how you can help! S


western region (prairie/boreal)

Report looks at values of Saskatchewan forage industry

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As a partner of the Saskatchewan Forage Council, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) contributed to the recently released report, The Value of Saskatchewan’s Forage Industry: A Multi-Level Analysis. The report characterizes the forage industry’s diversity in Saskatchewan and looks at the value of forage to the economy, environment and society as a whole. Like much of the agriculture industry, increased forage production has been partly restricted by factors such as segmentation, reduced research and development funding and declining market value. With the goal of addressing and alleviating some of these challenges, the partners developed the report to increase dialogue between stakeholders and raise the profile of forages as an agri-food business. Overall, the report determined that forages are an important resource in Saskatchewan both in economic and environmental terms. Some of these benefits yield considerable annual gains, including: • An estimated direct and indirect value in the range of $2 to $3 billion • A direct economic value estimated at $740 million • Ecological goods and services such as carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and flood and erosion control, providing an estimated value of $894 million to $1.9 billion • An estimated contribution of hunting on Saskatchewan forage fields in the range of $53 to $107 million In terms of waterfowl production, it is widely known that forage crops provide some of the most productive upland nesting cover for certain species. The lack of upland perennial cover has been identified by DUC and North American Waterfowl Management Plan partners as a primary limitation to waterfowl production on the Prairies. This report helps strengthen the

need to continue leading programs and partnerships that encourage forage producers, ranchers and industry to maintain or convert lands to forage production. To access the report visit the Saskatchewan Forage Council website at www.saskforage.ca. S

Wings Over Wascana 2010

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The weather co-operated to help make the fifth annual Wings Over Wascana Nature Festival another great success. The Festival is a weekend-long event held annually on the banks of Wascana Marsh in Regina and coincides with International Migratory Bird Day. A fundraising dinner on the Thursday before the Festival sets the stage, raising funds for interpretive programs at the marsh or at the nearby waterfowl ponds. One of the highlights of the event is the school groups who enjoy a number of wetland and wildlife activities. The event is open to the public and people of all ages who enjoy learning about what lives in this wonderful wetland nestled in the centre of the Queen City. S


Delta Marsh Rehabilitation Project

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At almost 19,000 hectares, Delta Marsh is one of the largest and best known freshwater wetlands in North America. In the past, waterfowl hunting attracted many Manitobans, as well as the rich and famous from around the world. During the last four to five decades, the marsh has seen many changes that have reduced the quality of wildlife and fish habitat. One of the major factors contributing to these changes is the abundance of common carp. “Although common carp were initially stocked in the late 1800s as a source of food, they have spread across much of the province and are now considered an alien invasive fish species,” says Dr. Gordon Goldsborough, director of the Delta Marsh Field Station (University of Manitoba) and chair of the Lake Manitoba Stewardship Board. “High numbers of adult carp are known to reduce water quality, destroy pond weeds and uproot cattails that are important for other animals and fish living in the marsh.” Research and monitoring activities undertaken since 1982 have shown that carp are now the dominant fish species in Delta Marsh and it is believed that keeping adult carp out of Delta Marsh is essential to its restoration. “In 1964, fish screens were fitted to an existing weir in the Clandeboye Channel in order to keep the carp in Lake Manitoba from Delta Marsh,” Goldsborough says. “Carp enter the marsh later in spring when water temperatures increase, but leave towards the end of summer. They must spend the winter in Lake Manitoba because most of the marsh freezes to the bottom in the winter or lacks sufficient oxygen to support fish.”

Unfortunately, the chain-link fence used in early attempts to prevent carp from entering the marsh also kept out other desirable species of fish. This year, the Delta Marsh Rehabilitation Project will continue to monitor the movement of fish into Delta Marsh and learn more about the use of the marsh by fish in the summer. Experimental fish screens will be placed in the existing control structure on the Delta Channel at Delta Beach. Water quality and vegetation in the marsh will also be monitored, building on research undertaken last spring and summer. The overall objective of this project is to restore the ecological health of Delta Marsh and provide better habitat for fish and wildlife. It is believed that reducing the number of adult carp in Delta Marsh will: • increase the clarity of water in the marsh • increase the amount and types of submersed vegetation (pond weeds) • increase desirable emergent vegetation (bulrush) • decrease the size and frequency of algae blooms Organizations involved in this project include La Salle Redboine Conservation District, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Manitoba Conservation, Manitoba Water Stewardship, Canadian Wildlife Service and the University of Manitoba. For more information call Manitoba Conservation at 1-800-214-6497 or email nrinfo@gov.mb.ca or call Ducks Unlimited Canada at 1-866-251-DUCK (3825) or email du_brandon@ducks.ca. S

DUC map helps grazing management systems

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For producers who are trying to make the most of their range and forage resources, a base map provided by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is proving to be a valuable tool. While Daryk Simonson already knows just about every rock, hill and slough on the 45 quarters he manages with his family, he also knows the value of using outside resources. “I would have paid for that,” says the fourth-generation rancher from Dinsmore, Sask. “I use the map in conjunction with my journal where I write down which days the cattle are in which paddocks,” says his wife Bonnie Simonson, adding she especially likes smaller versions of the map. “Those are nice because you can take them out to the pasture with you and draw on them while you’re sitting out there in the truck. If we’ve got somebody new with us moving cattle or something, we can also show them where we’re going to go.” DUC will provide producers with a large laminated map, approximately two feet by three feet, free of charge. It gives managers an aerial view of the land base in great detail. The map is colour-coded, and comes with a key that indicates the acreage

of native prairie, tame forage, cropland and wetlands. Features such as fence types, gates, yard sites, wells, pipelines and watering sites are also included. The base map complements the Simonsons’ operation as they monitor changes and tweak management practices. Over the years, they’ve seeded grass, added fences and watering systems, implemented the practice of rotational grazing and expanded their herd to include 500 cows and 200 yearlings. Their base map has made it easier to develop management plans that incorporate the unique features of the landscape. The Simonsons were the Saskatchewan recipients of the Environmental Stewardship Award in 2009 and have worked with organizations from the agriculture and conservation communities for several years. They say that a base map, available to producers in DUC’s target delivery areas, is a tool they are happy to have. Saskatchewan ranchers interested in getting a customized base map and grazing management plan done for their operation can contact the nearest Ducks Unlimited Canada office for details. S


western region (prairie/boreal)

Wetland compensation program: first for province

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Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) Chief Executive Officer Jeff Nelson joins Saskatchewan MLA and former Environment Minister Nancy Heppner and Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure Minister Jim Reiter to recently announce a program providing financial compensation for wetlands lost during construction of the Lewvan Interchange along the Trans-Canada Highway in south Regina. For the first time in Saskatchewan DUC worked with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure for the first time in the province on a project to restore wetlands lost to construction of the Lewvan Interchange in Regina at a ratio of 3:1. Approximately 75 acres in total will be restored in key waterfowl breeding areas of Southern Saskatchewan. S

DUC a "LEDA" for Erickson’s natural areas

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The Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) Leda Lake project is a valuable wetland area that provides important habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife as well as aesthetic appeal near Erickson, Man. That’s why DUC is working to rebuild and maintain the wetland control structures in the area. “Last year, DUC replaced the Leda Lake project structures so the project could continue to operate and benefit wildlife and the surrounding community,” says DUC conservation programs specialist Cal Cuthbert. Through the co-operation of local landowners, this 237-acre wetland project was named after the prominent body of water beside the community. It consisted of four wetland cells or basins separated by half-round water control structures and earth-filled dikes. The control structures provided DUC staff with a means to manage water levels and create optimal waterfowl and wildlife habitat. The dikes themselves serve as both cattle and machinery crossings for principal landowner Norval Lee. “The crossing works for our purposes as we don’t drive large machinery across, just tractors,” Lee said. “It doesn’t hinder the way we run our operation in any way.” By 2008, age and corrosion had taken its toll on the Leda Lake control structures and they needed to be replaced. The former water control structures and culverts were replaced with new fixed-crest timber weirs, while still functioning as crossings for Lee. “The new control structures maintain consistent water levels all the time. I always know what the lake levels are,” Lee said. “The new structures are easier to clean out when beavers plug them, which is a major benefit compared to the old ones.” The majority of this project is highly visible from Erickson and to the south along the municipal road, which borders the project along the north side. “Leda Lake has never gone dry and is valued by the Town of Erickson for its aesthetic appeal,” Cuthbert says. “As wetlands

are nature’s filters and remove sediment and nutrients from the water, the Leda Lake wetland project continues to provide a very important function in the local watershed.” The Leda Lake project is a part of an important waterfowl area in Manitoba. The project provides needed feeding, nesting and brood-rearing sites for waterfowl. The large open water of Leda Lake itself is particularly attractive to diving ducks such as lesser scaup and common goldeneye. This basin attracts rafts of migrating waterfowl in spring and during fall migration, as well as other wildlife. “DUC is committed to maintaining this important wetland project near Erickson and that is why we conducted a rebuild of its control structures this past year,” Cuthbert says. “Without co-operation from landowners like Norval Lee, these water conservation projects would not be possible. DUC is grateful for Norval’s continued support and co-operation.” S

Erickson, MB landowners Norval Lee and Scott Gray stand on their new wetland project control structure at Leda Lake.


Mauri Rutherford, DUC Director and co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee for the Minister’s Dinner; Jack Hole, DUC President; Trish Jordan, public affairs director, Monsanto Canada; and Jeff Nelson, DUC CEO. Monsanto Canada is the 2010 Conservation Education Award winner.

2010 Minister’s Dinner

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The 14th annual Minister’s Dinner in support of the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre was once again a great success. 190 of Manitoba’s corporate leaders joined the Honourable Bill Blaikie, Manitoba Minister of Conservation, at the St. Charles Country Club on Feb. 25 to celebrate. This year’s dinner raised more than $112,000 in support of the Centre. In the last 13 years, the Minister’s Dinner has raised $1.2 million for educational programming at Oak Hammock Marsh, a partnership between Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Province of Manitoba. In his welcome address to guests as Event Patron, Blaikie emphasized the Centre’s critical role in educating the community. “Through innovative education and outreach programs, this award-winning tourism and education facility will continue to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to value and conserve wetlands. This in turn will provide a strong foundation for the future of conservation in Manitoba,” the Minister said. Thank you to all who attended and supported this successful corporate event. S

Michael Leech, DUC Director; Jeff Nelson, DUC CEO; Thuraya Weedon, Churchill Nature Tours; and Kim McCartney and Greg Bieber, Richardson GMP Ltd. Richardson GMP Ltd. is the 2010 Participating Sponsor of the Dinner.

Jim Downey, James E. Downey International Ltd.; Terry Trupp, Boeing Canada; Don Streuber, CEO, Bison Transport Inc.; and Mauri Rutherford. Bison Transport Inc. is the 2010 Sponsor of the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre.

Jim Downey, Kanyika Mangachi, Peter Skakum and Sam Vickar.

Bob Sokalski, Penny ScottMazur, Tom Mazur and George Andrews.

Mauri Rutherford; Kevin Van, vice president, Qualico Developments; and Jack Hole and Jeff Nelson, DUC. Qualico Developments is the 2010 Habitat Conservation Award winner.

Vic Schroeder, QC, Chairman, Manitoba Hydro; Bill Blaikie, Minister of Conservation; Paul Croteau, Legacy Bowes Group; and Mauri Rutherford.

Martin Thibodeau and Glenn Crook, RBC Royal Bank; Allan Beaudry, DUC; Don Ledwos and Rob Johnston, RBC Royal Bank.


Fennig for wetlands

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Brad Fennig of Prince Albert, Sask., is passionate about the outdoors. His passion is making an important difference to wetlands and wildlife in the area as well as to his community. Since joining the local Prince Albert Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) committee several years ago, Fennig has become one of Saskatchewan’s most inspiring and innovative volunteers. “Although I am not a waterfowler, I understand the importance of wetland conservation,” says Fennig. “DUC’s great work makes such a positive impact, from the species that depend on the habitat to the benefits to our water quality, so it is a great organization to associate with.” “Brad is a keen supporter of DUC. He has great ideas and he is always receptive and supportive to the ideas of others,” says Keith Mackintosh, DUC’s fundraising manager in Saskatchewan. “Soon after Brad moved to Prince Albert he began chairing the DUC committee and he has brought a renewed energy to our efforts. He has done a remarkable job of reviving DUC in the community.” In addition to the annual dinner, this year Fennig spearheaded a major sponsorship campaign – “Cocktails for Conservation” – as part of the Art Hauser Memorial Project. The event brought new and longtime DUC supporters together for an evening of appetizers and cocktails, as well as presentations highlighting the direct local benefits of DUC’s conservation efforts and investments. Thanks to Fennig and the committee, the evening was a tremendous success with over $400,000 raised through donations and sponsorships. Funds raised by volunteers like Fennig directly support DUC’s Wetlands for Tomorrow campaign, the largest conservation fundraising campaign in the history of North America. It spans three countries as DUC works alongside Ducks Unlimited, Inc. in the U.S. and Ducks Unlimited Mexico to conserve wetlands for waterfowl, other wildlife and people. Recently DUC took the opportunity to thank Fennig and all its 7,400 volunteers for their enthusiasm, commitment and for donating valuable time and energy to wetland conservation. These like-minded individuals from across Canada are committed to conserving our country’s wetlands for future generations. Volunteers are the heart and soul of DUC. By organizing fundraising activities in their communities, they help provide the means for DUC’s on-the-ground habitat conservation projects, research and education programs. To become a DUC volunteer and discover how rewarding it is to conserve Canada’s wetlands, call your local DUC office. S

western region ( Prairie/ Boreal )

The Flyway newsletter is published by Ducks Unlimited Canada Oak Hammock Marsh Conservation Centre P.O. Box 1160, Stonewall, Manitoba R0C 2Z0 tel (204)467-3000 fax (204)467-9028 toll-free 1(800)665-DUCK Please direct your inquiries to the following: Eastern Region Atlantic: Krista Elliot Quebec: Bernard Filion Ontario: Joanne Barbazza Western Region Prairie-Western Boreal: Marci Dube British Columbia: Wendy Thatcher

Flyway production staff Director of Communications and Marketing: Madeleine Arbez Editor: Duncan Morrison Assistant: Deb Menard Manager Creative Services: Lindsay Pikta-Marie Graphic Designers: Christa Edwards, Aquila Samson, Jeope Wolfe © Ducks Unlimited Canada, 2010 Printed in Canada on 100% recycled paper including 100% post-consumer fibres

Area Contacts Marketing/Communications Anh Hoang, Western Boreal, Alberta, Manitoba (780) 489-8110 Wendy Thatcher, Saskatchewan (604) 592-0987 Manager of Operations, Manitoba Bob Grant, Brandon (204) 729-3500 Manager of Operations, Saskatchewan Brent Kennedy, Regina (306) 569-0424 Manager of Operations, Alberta Pat Kehoe, Edmonton

(780) 489-2002

Education Rosemarie Ferjuc, Calgary Barb Hanbidge, Saskatoon Bob Laidler, Oak Hammock

(403) 476-1877 (306) 665-7356 (204) 467-3000

Western Boreal Program Eric Butterworth

(780) 489-8110

publication agreement #40064849

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Jeff Nelson, DUC CEO, Saskatchewan's Deputy Premier Ken Krawetz, Saskatchewan MLA and former Environment Minister Nancy Heppner, and Jack Ho...

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