Prairie National Wildlife Area

Four baby Red Foxes playing in grass.
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Prairie National Wildlife Area - baby red fox.


Prairie National Wildlife Area (NWA) includes 28 separate units spanning five eco-regions within the Prairie and Western Boreal Ecozones of Saskatchewan. Although the total area of the NWA is 2,933 hectares (ha), each unit varies from 64 to 384 ha in size. Habitats for wildlife include a mixture of trembling aspen forests, sand dune and mixed grass prairies, fresh to saline wetlands, and various cultivated agricultural lands. Many migratory birds and species at risk occur in the land parcels, including Sprague's Pipit, Loggerhead Shrike, Burrowing Owl, and Slender Mouse-ear Cress. Deer, Pronghorn, Grouse, and other wildlife are commonly observed.

Prairie NWA was created in 1978 through a land transfer agreement with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Initially the plan was to consolidate these units through acquisition of more land adjacent to units with high-quality migratory bird habitat and disposal of units with little value for wildlife. After the creation of Grasslands National Park in the 1980s, the plan for Prairie NWA changed to maintain or enhance the habitat on existing units. Subsequent biological inventories have discovered a number of species at risk and other rare species on some units, further increasing the conservation value of some NWA units.

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


NWAs are protected and managed according to the Wildlife Area Regulations under the Canada Wildlife Act. The primary purpose of NWAs is the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat. For this purpose, and according to the legislation, Environment and Climate Change Canada can prohibit all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all activities are prohibited. Nonetheless, Environment and Climate Change Canada has the ability to authorize some activities, whether through public notice or the issuance of permits, as long as these are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.

Access to Prairie NWA is not restricted and activities may be permitted in accordance with the conservation objectives of the NWA management plan. Public notices listing the authorized activities within the wildlife area are posted at access points. The management of Prairie NWA focuses on maintenance of high-quality natural habitats, and enhancement of other habitats through large-scale active and passive management. Livestock grazing, haying, prescribed burning, and weed control are implemented on several units, while others are protected from disturbance through fencing and signage. Some revegetation has also occurred on formerly cultivated lands, or where petroleum wells and pipelines have been installed.

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

Map of the Area

  • NWA boundaries
Long description for the Map

Map showing the area around Saskatoon, Lake Diefenbaker, Last Mountain Lake and Regina in the southern half of Saskatchewan. The location of the 27 Units of Prairie NWA are indicated. Unit 1 is the eastern-most unit and is east of Saskatoon. Units 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 are located north of Saskatoon. Units 8, 9, 12, 13 are south-west of Saskatoon and north of Lake Diefenbaker. Unit 5 is located in the center of Highway 1, Highway 11 and Lake Diefenbaker. The Units 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25 and 26 are located west of Lake Diefenbaker near Highway 1. Unit 22 is south-west of Saskatoon and north-west of Lake Diefenbaker Units 10, 11, 14 and 15 are located to the south Highway 1 and to the south-west of Regina. Unit number 27 is located south of Highway 1 and south-east of Regina. The scale on the map is in hundreds of kilometers. Permanent water, provincial boundaries, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. 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

This table provides summary information for the Prairie NWA
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 28 Units, each with distinctive co-ordinates
Size 2,933 ha
Reason for Creation of protected area To re-establish and improve potential wildlife habitat in a region of Saskatchewan that is being progressively degraded of wildlife habitat.
Date created (Gazetted) 1977 - 1979 - Legal Description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category IV-Habitat / Species Management Area
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Grassland, Wetland, Woodland, Cultivated land, Stabilized dune sand.
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Burrowing Owl, Sprague's Pipit, Loggerhead Shrike, Leopard Frog, Slender Mouse-ear Cress.
Invasive species Smooth Brome, Kentucky Bluegrass, Crested Wheatgrass, Downy Brome, Sweet Clover, Quack Grass, Alfalfa, Canada Thistle.
Additional links

Birds: Grouse.

Mammals: Deer, and Pronghorn.

Main threats and challenges

Alien invasive species altering the structure of upland cover that may reduce the abundance of some wildlife.

Continued cultivation and crop production on some units.

Petroleum well and facility development.

Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage By permits only mainly for controlled grazing and haying, limited hunting and trapping.

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 Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Prairie and Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship Unit
115 Perimeter Road
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
S7N 0X4
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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