Webb National Wildlife Area

American Avocets
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada. American Avocets.

Description

The Webb National Wildlife Area (NWA) lies in the Mixed Grass Eco-region, approximately 28 kilometres (km) west of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Webb NWA was created in 1978 along the Trans-Canada Highway to provide a setting for the Prairie Wildlife Interpretive Centre (PWIC). The PWIC operated from 1980 to 1988, after which buildings were removed and similar interpretive services began at Grasslands National Park of Canada, approximately 120 km south of Swift Current. The lands at Webb NWA are still maintained as a protected area for the conservation of wildlife.

The variety and arrangement of wetland and upland habitats at Webb NWA were selected to represent the natural and modified landscapes of Canada's prairie grasslands. The wetlands consist of a shallow saline lake, Goose Lake, associated back-swamp marshes, and three 'coulees' which support temporary streams. Streambeds and lowlands leading up to the lake support stands of Trembling Aspen, Manitoba Maple, Chokecherry, Rose, Silverberry, and Dogwood. Adjacent uplands on loamy or slightly saline soils support native Wheatgrasses and Sagebrush, while the rocky slopes support more drought-adapted grasses, wild flowers, and cacti.

More than half the property is cultivated and produces annual crops of small grains and oilseeds, representative of agricultural practices in the surrounding region. The property also supports an abandoned railway grade, and is bounded to the south by the CPR mainline and to the north by the Trans-Canada highway.

Approximately 115 bird species, 20 mammal species and 6 amphibian species have been observed on the NWA. Goose Lake serves as a staging area for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Some of the migratory birds using the NWA include Sprague's Pipit, Western Meadowlark and the Willet.

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

Management

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 Webb 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 Webb NWA focuses on maintaining the natural habitats through grazing, protecting the shoreline of Goose Lake from all disturbance other than natural flooding, and restoring the formerly cultivated lands to native-dominant grassland habitats. The property will serve as a demonstration site for various ecological restoration efforts suitable for the region.

For Webb NWA some public use is allowed through permitting for livestock grazing in order to replicate natural disturbance on the native and restored grasslands. Otherwise, public access is permitted through research, extension, and education events proposed and organized by other agencies.

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

Map of the Area

  • Map showing the Webb NWA
Long description for the Map

Map showing an area near Webb in south-west Saskatchewan. The boundaries of Webb NWA are indicated. The protected area is separated into three sections located close together, to the south of Highway 1 and west of Goose Lake. The largest section borders on Highway 1 with the two smaller sections located further south. The scale on the map is in km. Permanent water, intermittent water, 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. Webb NWA can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.

Summary Table

This table provides summary information for the Webb NWA
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 50° 12' North / 108° 7' West
Size in ha 431 ha
Reason for Creation of protected area Interpretation of prairie wildlife.
Date created (Gazetted) 1980 - Legal Description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category Category IV - Habitat/Species Management Area
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Wetland (20 %), Native Grassland (30 %), Cultivated land slated for restoration (50 %)
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Sprague's Pipit
Invasive species Smooth Brome, Kentucky Bluegrass, Downy Brome, Sweet Clover, Quack Grass, and Alfalfa.
Additional links

Birds: Hawks, Owls, Grouses, Willet, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Horned Lark, Western Meadowlark, Vesper Sparrow, and Savannah Sparrow.

Mammals: Ground Squirrrels, Pocket Gopher, Badger, Rabbit, Coyote, Pronghorn and Deer

Main threats and challenges

Agricultural land uses in the watershed that affect water quantity and quality in the recipient marshes.

Noise disturbance from the trans-Canada highway and Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mainline.

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

Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage Access is not prohibited. Primary use is for livestock grazing and educational demonstrations of restoration projects.

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)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
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