Pope National Wildlife Area

The Pope National Wildlife Area (NWA) is located 106 kilometres northwest of Brandon, Manitoba and is home to a number of species of songbirds, waterbirds and mammals.


This NWA is 29 hectares and located within a prime waterfowl production area containing a wetland reservoir constructed in 1926. Formed behind an earthen dam with a concrete spillway to accommodate excess water flows, the reservoir’s water supply is mainly from nearby runoff. It serves as a salvage waterfowl production area during years of drought.

In 1966, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) secured an easement from the Canadian National Railway to use the area as a water supply source for a series of small projects in the Bars Lake marsh complex. In 1967, portions of the dam and spillway were refurbished. The NWA was created in 1974 when the Government of Canada acquired the area and arranged for DUC to maintain and operate the water control structures.

Pope National Wildlife Area in Manitoba.

Pope NWA provides habitat for songbirds and waterbirds including:

There is also the suspected presence of these waterbirds:

Horned Grebe. Photo: Bradwell Doug Forsyth

Some of the small mammal species found here include:

  • muskrats
  • skunks
  • raccoons

Habitat types within the NWA are mainly wetland and grassland, as well as some cultivated land and woodland. There are factors that limit waterfowl production potential such as:

  • marsh edge
  • water depth
  • poor interspersion of adjacent wetlands

Cattail and roundstem bulrush edge the upstream portion of the reservoir but because of the relatively steep shoreline slope, there is poorly developed plant life on the downstream portion.

Plenty of submerged aquatic vegetation occurs in dense beds within the wetland and the grassland consists of a relatively narrow band of tame grass species around the reservoir. On the downstream channel, there is a mixture of tame and native grass species. The woodland consists of a small tract of mature aspen with an undergrowth of the following species:

More information is provided on the Pope NWA in the summary table below.


Under the Canada Wildlife Act, NWAs are protected and managed in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations. The primary purpose of NWAs is to protection and conserve wildlife and their habitat. For this purpose and according to the legislation, all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife can be prohibited. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all activities are prohibited. However, some activities may be authorized through public notice or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.

Public use of Pope NWA is not restricted, but there is very little use, mainly because of its small size and limited access. Activities may be permitted in accordance with the conservation objectives of the NWA management plan. Public notices listing the authorized activities are posted at the access points.

More information on access and permitting for Pope NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map of the area

Long description for the map

Map showing Strachans Slough and the surrounding area in southwestern Manitoba. The borders of Pope NWA are indicated. The protected area is located to the east of Pope and it covers Strachans Slough as well as some of the surrounding land. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, intermittant water, roads and highways are all indicated. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries.

Summary table

Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Manitoba
Latitude/longitude 50°15' North / 97°10' West
Size 29 ha
Reason for Creation of protected area To provide nesting habitat for migratory birds.
Date created (Gazetted) 1974 - Legal Description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category Habitat/Species Management Area (IV)
Additional designations None
Flagship species Mallard
Main habitat type
  • Wetland (51%)
  • Grassland (22%)
  • Woodland (11%)
  • Cultivated land (17%)
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Horned Grebe
Invasive species None recorded
Other species



Main threats and challenges
  • Upland cover is lacking in and around the NWA due to cultivation practices adjacent to the wetlands.
  • Cultivation on-going into the NWA boundaries.
Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage Limited public use.

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.

Contact us

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Prairie and Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship Unit
Suite 150, 123 Main Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 4W2

Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

Related link

Pope NWA on Google Maps (Google maps is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name)

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