Prairie National Wildlife Area
Spanning five eco-regions within the Prairies and Boreal Plains ecozones of Saskatchewan, the Prairie National Wildlife Area (NWA) is important for species at risk and other wildlife.
Prairie NWA includes 28 separate units varying from 64 to 384 hectares (ha) in size. The total area of 2,933 ha is a mixture of:
- trembling aspen forests
- sand dune and mixed grass prairies
- fresh to saline wetlands
- various cultivated agricultural lands
Many migratory birds and species at risk occur in the land parcels including:
- Sprague's pipit
- loggerhead shrike
- burrowing owl
- slender mouse-ear cress
Also commonly observed are:
- other wildlife
This NWA was created in 1978 through a land transfer agreement between departments in the Government of Canada. Initially, the plan was to unite these units by acquiring land next to them with high-quality migratory bird habitat and to dispose units with little value for wildlife. In the 1980s, Grasslands National Park was created. Afterward, the plan for Prairie NWA changed to maintain or improve the habitat on existing units. With the discovery of a number of species at risk and other rare species on some units, the conservation value has increased.
Find more information on Prairie 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 protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife 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 other activities are prohibited in all NWAs. However, some activities may be authorized through Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWA 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. Any authorized activities are listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations; signage is also posted at access points.
Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Prairie NWA, include:
- wildlife viewing
- non-commercial berry picking
- sport hunting — including with dogs off-leash when hunting migratory game birds — without a commercial guide, from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset if the hunting is carried out
- in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Saskatchewan for sport hunting in that province; and
- without the use of toxic shot
- activities referred to in items 1 to 3 during the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset, in addition to during the period referred to in subsection 3.1(3)
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. Several units have implemented:
- livestock grazing
- prescribed burning
- weed control
Other units are protected from disturbance through fencing and signage. Some revegetation has occurred on lands that were formerly cultivated, as well as lands 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
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.
|Protected Area designation||National Wildlife Area|
|Latitude/longitude||28 Units, each with distinctive co-ordinates|
|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||Habitat / Species Management Area (IV)|
|Main habitat type||
|Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)|
|Main threats and challenges||
|Management Agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)|
|Public access and usage||Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Prairie NWA, include:
Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page, any notice posted at the NWA site and the law, the law prevails, as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Prairie and Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship Unit
115 Perimeter Road
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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