Archives for 2018

Jan
11
Senators, MPs call for $1.4-billion in conservation funding from federal government

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As you may have heard, more than 100 Canadian Senators and MPs have signed a letter to the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, asking for $1.4 billion in conservation funding to be included in the next federal budget.
 
We are encouraging members and supporters to write their own letters to both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister. Mailing addresses can be found at the bottom of the page.
 
Now is the time to really apply the pressure to ensure that the budget includes the $1.4 billion.  Here are the key messages that CPAWS and Nature Canada, among others, have been using to build public support:     
  • Right now the Prime Minister and federal finance minister are deciding what to fund in Budget 2018. We are excited to tell you that they are considering a proposal for the biggest single investment ever made to protect Canada's land, freshwater and ocean!
     
  • Now, we urgently need your help to secure this Billion dollar plus investment that would help protect Canada's endangered wildlife and safeguard our country's spectacular natural beauty for generations to come.
     
  • Please take a moment now to let our federal Finance Minister and Prime Minister know you support a big investment to deliver on their promise to protect at least 17% of our land and freshwater and 10% of our oceans by 2020. With this investment, and your support, we can get there!

 



The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau.
Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.
80 Wellington Street.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2.

 

The Honourable William Francis Morneau.
Department of Finance Canada.
90 Elgin Street.
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5

 

The Globe and Mail has a well done story on this topic. You can find it here: www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/senators-mps-call-for-14-billion-in-conservation-funding-from-federal-government/article37536417/

Feb
28
Budget 2018: Billion-Dollar Breakthrough for Nature Conservation

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Press Release from Nature Canada:

Ottawa, ON (February 27, 2018)—Budget 2018 is a billion-dollar breakthrough for nature conservation according to Nature Canada. “This budget is a game-changer,” says Graham Saul, Nature Canada’s Executive Director. “We congratulate Finance Minister Morneau, Prime Minister Trudeau, and Environment Minister McKenna on making these critical investments. We think that Canada’s wildlife would also applaud.”

Budget 2018 commits Canada to investing $1.3 billion over five years to establish new protected areas and to recover endangered and threatened species.

“Investing in protected areas is the way of the future for federal, provincial and Indigenous governments, says Stephen Hazell, Nature Canada’s Director of Conservation. “Providing financial support to Indigenous governments such as the Moose Cree First Nation to protect and manage their sacred places such as the North French watershed is the right step forward to reconciliation.”

“Meeting Canada’s international commitment to protect 17 percent of our lands and waters by 2020 will be a challenge. We need this money to make it happen,” says Hazell. “Nature Canada and provincial and local nature groups are eager to work with governments, local and Indigenous communities, and industry to take full advantage of the opportunities to protect ecologically important places across the country, whether it’s grasslands in Saskatchewan, Carolinian forests in Ontario, Acadian forests in the Maritimes, or wetlands in British Columbia and Quebec.”

Nature Canada is Canada’s oldest national nature conservation charity, and is a member of the Green Budget Coalition (GBC). The GBC’s recommendations for the Budget 2018 can be found here.


For media commentary please contact:
Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel
613 724-1908 (cell) 613 562-3447 ext. 240
shazell@naturecanada.ca

To contact a French-speaking spokesperson, call:
Ted Cheskey, Senior Manager of Conservation Programs
613 323 3331 (cell)

For media assistance please contact:
Janet Weichel McKenzie, Nature Canada Media Specialist
613-808-4642
jweichelmckenzie@gmail.com

ABOUT NATURE CANADA

Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect more than 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network comprised of over 65,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country with affiliates in every province.

 


 

Le Budget de 2018: Un Investissement Historique pour la Protection de la Nature

Ottawa, ON (27 février 2018) Nature Canada est d’avis que le budget de 2018 représente une contribution à la protection de la nature sans précédente. Le directeur exécutif de Nature Canada, Graham Saul, dit tout simplement que le budget « a l’étoffe pour faire une différence, » et que l’organisation « veut féliciter le Ministre des Finances, Bill Morneau, le Premier Ministre Trudeau et la Ministre de l’Environnement et du Changement climatique, Catherine McKenna, pour cet investissement crucial. » Ajoutant aussi, « Nous croyons que, si ce serait faisable, les nombreuses espèces sauvages exprimeraient similairement leur reconnaissance. »

Le budget de 2018 présente un investissement de $1,3 milliard qui seront investi au cours des prochaines cinq années. Cet investissement contribuera à la conservation de paysages naturels et des aires marines du Canada, et à la protection et le rétablissement de ses espèces sauvages.

Stephen Hazell, le directeur de conservation de Nature Canada, stipule « qu’investir dans la protection de paysages naturels est l’approche qui devrait être adoptée par les administrations fédérales et provinciales, ainsi que les nations autochtones. » Il exprime aussi la satisfaction de Nature Canada de l’engagement des administrations provinciales et des nations autochtones pour établir les aires protégées. « Pourvoir les nations autochtones, comme le Moose Cree, avec les fonds nécessaires à protéger et gérer leurs terres ancestrales, tel que le bassin versant du North French River, est un acte nécessaire à la conservation et la réconciliation. »

« Réaliser l’engagement de protéger 17 % des zones terrestres et d’eaux intérieures par 2020 s’annonce à être un défi pour le Canada. Ainsi, cet investissement est nécessaire pour qu’on puisse atteindre cet objectif. » Hazell exprime que « Nature Canada, avec les groupes de conservation provinciaux et locaux, et l’industrie entière, sont prêts à capitaliser de ces opportunités pour protéger de nombreux paysages canadiens, que ce soient les prairies au Saskatchewan, la région forestière Carolinienne en Ontario et Acadienne aux Maritimes, ou les milieux humides en Colombie-Britannique et au Québec. »

Nature Canada est la charité nationale de conservation la plus ancienne du Canada.


Contact pour commentaires aux médias (EN) :
Stephen Hazell, Directeur de la Conservation et Avocat Général
613 724-1908 (cell) 613 562-3447 ext. 240
shazell@naturecanada.ca

Contact pour commentaires aux médias (FR) :
Ted Cheskey, Gestionnaire sénior du Programme de Conservation
613 323 3331 (cell).

Contact pour assistance aux médias:
Janet Weichel McKenzie, Spécialiste de média pour Nature Canada
613-808-4642
jweichelmckenzie@gmail.com

Mar
11
Interested in Supporting Save Last MTN/Qu’Appelle Lakes Association Inc.?

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From SAWS:

Save Last MTN/Qu’Appelle Lakes Association Inc. Letter

 

March 7, 2018

To:  Residents of Last Mtn\Qu’Appelle Lakes

 

Re:  Quill Lakes Common Ground Drainage Diversion Proposal

You have all read about the proposal from the Quill Lakes Watershed Association (QLWA) to drain saline water from the Quill Lakes basin into Last Mountain and the Qu’Appelle Lakes. A large number of cottage owners from Last Mountain Lake to Round Lake have established a Non-Profit Corporation registered as Save Last MTN/Qu’Appelle Lakes Association Inc. to oppose any such proposal.

Over the last several months a number of volunteers have done an incredible amount of work, research and organizing to challenge the QLWA and Water Security Agency on their proposal. As volunteers can only do so much, continued effort is going to cost a significant of money.

Save Last MTN/Qu’Appelle Lakes will have to underwrite the cost of legal professionals, media consultants, environmental experts and publication costs in order that we can properly and successfully oppose the drainage into our lakes. At the heart of this will initially be to convince the Government of Saskatchewan to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment. We have retained a law firm to represent our interests.

Save Last MTN/Qu’Appelle Lakes is soliciting contributions for this purpose from cottage owners, sportsmen and business owners from the north end of Last Mountain Lake to the south end of the Qu’Appelle Lakes. We expect we will have to sustain our opposition for the next 3-4 years. We project we will need to raise $150,000 so donate generously.

All recipients of this solicitation letter are stakeholders on the Lakes. We remind you there will only be one opportunity to stop this drainage and contamination into our Lakes and to secure an Environmental Impact Assessment, so please help out. Any success we have will protect the value of your property or business on the Lakes.

Please make donations by forwarding your cheque payable to Save Last MTN/Qu’Appelle Lakes to the address below. For further information log on to our website at: http://lmlsg.ca/saws/

We thank you in advance.

Save Last MTN/Qu’Appelle Lakes Association Inc.

Apr
17
International Migratory Bird Day

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Join us as we celebrate the return of our migratory birds. Bird banding, bird masks, migration obstacle course and more!  Free BBQ lunch. Fun for all ages. RSVP to Lacey no later than May 8th. Space is limited so be sure to RSVP early. 

Lacey Weekes
306-780-9481 or 1-800-667-4668
lweekes@naturesask.ca

May
11
Voices from the Field May 11

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Hello blog readers! We are excited to be back for another season of ‘Voices from the Field’!

After a long winter of writing grant applications and reports and attending a few workshops and a conference, we were feening to get out!  So when an opportunity came up to help with Ferruginous Hawk (FEHA) nest surveys across southern Saskatchewan, we happily accepted!

The day finally came and we headed out to survey for FEHA nests! The first survey was on a beautiful mostly clear-sky, calm, early evening, and… YES! Within a couple minutes, we saw our first FEHA nest! Even more special, the nest was on the edge of a Great Blue Heron rookery! Nine majestic Great Blue Herons were calmly perched watching the sunset. We could not help but stop a moment and take it in along with them.

 

 

Great Blue Heron Rookery. Photo credit: Rebecca Magnus


 

 

After searching until dusk, at the end of our route, we were treated to our first porcupine sighting! This may not seem as exciting to some, but it was our first time observing a live porcupine in the wild. It looked so laid-back and fluffy, slowly waddling along (apparently, this is their full speed)…. so adorable to watch.

After an amazing start, we were welcomed to our home away from home, a two-bedroom suite above the Manley Bakery in Consul. How perfect! Every morning we were greeted by the owner, Vicki, and her staff for a fresh breakfast, and every evening we were served a delicious home cooked meal and enjoyed great conversation with Vicki and her husband Dave. We indulged (a lot!) in fresh donuts, muffins, and stuffed buns, and by the end of the week, we were ready for hibernation.

The week took us through many beautiful landscapes with pristine prairie grasslands and rolling hills. As we were looking for FEHA nests, we saw many other species that often challenged our ID skills, and even though the trees had not leafed-out yet, the large nests provided great hiding spots. When we spotted a nest, the most likely of species it could be was a FEHA, a Red-tailed Hawk, a Swainson’s Hawk, a Great Horned Owl or a Canada Goose. To try and figure out what species was sitting in the nest, there are a few key features we would look for. Great Horned Owls and Canada Geese have a distinct grey color to that the other three hawks do not have. Once we eliminated that it was not a Great Horned Owl or a Canada Goose, which on occasion it was, we would move on to what species of hawk are we seeing. Because they are sitting in nest, and often quite low in the nest, the best features to focus on are the beak length, colour of cere (fleshy patch above the beak), chin coloration and length of mouth. FEHA’s have a large beak, a bright yellow cere, and a long mouth or gape that extends from the beak past the eye. They also have a bright white chin, throat, and chest. Swainson’s Hawk have a white patch above their beak and a white throat that turns into a brown ‘bib’ on their chest. Red-tailed Hawks have a grey-blue beak with a very small yellow cere and a brown hooded head. Just to add complexity, all of these hawk species have a dark morph! It can sometimes take a half an hour or more to determine what species was in the nest!

 

 

An adult dark morph FEHA sitting in their large nest. Photo credit: Kaytlyn Burrows

 

 

Some other exciting observations were Chestnut-collared Longspurs preforming their mating display, Sprague’s Pipit singing high in the sky (they are nearly impossible to see), and a pair of Burrowing Owls, just to name a few!  We also saw many different waterfowl species such as Northern Pintails, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Northern Shovelers, and of course Mallards.

 

 

A Burrowing Owl pair standing next to a burrow. Photo credit: Kaytlyn Burrows

 

 

Lastly, all along our trails looking for FEHA nests, we were on a mission we called Pronghorn Zing! Every time we would see one or more Pronghorn we would open our PronghornXing (Prong-Horn-Cross-ing) app and enter our sighting. The app is very user friendly and so easy to use! We encourage everyone to download this app and contribute your Pronghorn sightings!

 

After we completed our surveys and feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, it was time to travel home and rest up for our next exciting adventure.

 

 

Beautiful rolling hills in Southern Saskatchewan. Photo credit: Rebecca Magnus

 


Until next time, happy trails to you all!

Rebecca and Kaytlyn

May
15
The Hunt Continues for an Elusive Rare Orchid

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Regina, SK – May 15th, 2017 – As Nature Saskatchewan’s Rare Plant Rescue (RPR) program gets ready for another field season, the crew is once again on the hunt for one of the province’s most elusive plants. The Small White Lady’s-slipper is likely one of the rarest plants in the province, with a provincial status of “possibly extirpated”, meaning provincially extinct. Within Canada this species is listed as Endangered and can still be found in small pockets throughout Manitoba and Ontario.


For the second year, RPR will be assisting the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre in their surveys to hopefully locate this rare orchid in the province. “These surveys are a bit of a treasure hunt,” explains Ashley Vass, Program Coordinator for RPR, “not only is this species considered extremely rare within Canada, but in Saskatchewan the last time it was seen was in 1895 - over a century ago. We are following clues such as ‘near a spring by Indian Head’ to relocate the species.”


On the Canadian prairies, this small perennial orchid averages around 15 cm tall. Flowering from May to June, the Small White Lady’s-slipper relies on insects for pollination, with its flower shape facilitating cross-pollination. A few leaves sheath a single stem, and its single flower has a small modified petal pouch resembling a slipper. The pouch is about 2-3 cm long, and is white with occasional purple veining or speckling. A more common orchid, Yellow Lady’s-slipper, has a yellow flower with a similar shape and will readily hybridize with this species to produce a cream coloured slipper. The Yellow Lady’s-slipper and the hybrid can be distinguished from the Small White Lady’s-slipper by their colour and larger size.


“Along with the Qu’Appelle Valley, southeastern Saskatchewan is an area of interest,” says Vass. Suitable habitat for Small White Lady’s-slipper includes remnant moist native prairie, prairie sedge fens, and openings in woodlands. As this type of habitat has been greatly reduced in Canada over the past century, Small White Lady’s-slipper often grows in conjunction with other rare or at risk species and its presence is an indicator of intact native prairie health.


Rare Plant Rescue engages with landowners to conserve native prairie habitat that supports (or likely supports) plant species at risk. There is little known about many of Saskatchewan’s rare plants’ population sizes and ranges, which contributes to their risk status. Increased knowledge about distribution and population sizes facilitates conservation efforts and can help reduce the species’ risk status level. Over the summer months, program staff survey suitable habitat to collect data on unknown plant occurrences and work with RPR landowner participants to monitor populations in the following years.


To report a sighting of a rare species, if you think you may have suitable habitat, or if you are interested in more information on Rare Plant Rescue and its other target species, please call Nature Saskatchewan at 1-800-667-4668 or email rpr@naturesask.ca. Private information is never shared, nor is land accessed, without landowner permission.


- 30 –  
 

For further information please contact Nature Saskatchewan:  

Ashley Vass, Habitat Stewardship Coordinator
(306) 780-9417
 rpr@naturesask.ca   

 

Melissa Ranalli, Species at Risk Manager
(306) 780-9270
mranalli@naturesask.ca

 

photo credit: E. Putz

photo credit: E. Putz

 

May
23
The Life of Bird Banders

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The bird bander’s day starts at 6:00am. They wake up to birdsong, and drink something caffeinated to kickstart their day. They make sure the banding equipment is clean, and ready for the day ahead. They also check the weather. If it is rainy or windy, she will not be able to open the nets. If it is rainy, the birds get wet and they can die of hypothermia. If it is too windy, the birds can be injured in the nets. At 7:00am precisely, they head out to the net lanes and open the 13 mist nets. After that they check the nets every half an hour. How many birds they catch will depend on a number of factors. If it is calm or if the wind is going the right direction, birds will migrate through. If there was a full moon last night, birds will keep on flying. Typically migrating birds will fly at night, and stop to forage during the day. The brighter it is at night, the more birds that will keep flying. Spring migration also tends to be quieter compared to the fall. Many birds caught at the Last Mountain Bird Observatory nest in the boreal forest. They rush up there in the spring to set up breeding territories so that they can start nesting as soon as possible. This spring there has only been one day where the banders caught over 100 birds. When the banders catch a bird they take it back to the station. They put a band on it, and collect some data on the bird. The bander will determine the age and sex of the bird, measure the wing, and weigh the bird. This data can be used to estimate population trends which can be used by conservationists to determine whether a bird species is increasing or declining. At 9:00am, the banders conduct a census. This means they walk along a designated route and count the birds they see. They continue to check the nets until 1:00pm. At that time, they close the nets. That is a basic day of one of the banders at Last Mountain Bird Observatory.

Of course, a day as a bander can be a lot more variable than I have described above. But it should give you a basic idea of what we do. We have had a typically quiet spring at the banding station. We have been catching mostly White-throated Sparrows, but we have also been catching lots of American Robins, and Tree Swallows. We have also been catching a variety of sparrows, thrushes, and warblers. We have not had any birds that are rare or uncommon yet this year. Stay tuned for more updates during the summer!

Jordan Rustad

 

Photo credit: D. Bonnet