Bradwell National Wildlife Area Management Plan

Document information


This management plan was developed by Barbara Bleho and Darcy Henderson of the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada. Thanks to John Trevor (Ducks Unlimited Canada) and Canadian Wildlife Service employees who were involved in the development or review of the document: Renny W. Grilz and Allison Henderson.

Copies of this plan are available at the following addresses:

Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington Street, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-997-2800
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Fax: 819-994-1412
TTY: 819-994-0736
Inquiry email

Environment Canada - Canadian Wildlife Service
Prairie and Northern Region
9250 - 49th Street NW
Edmonton AB T6B 1K5

Environment Canada - Protected Areas website

About Environment Canada’s Protected Areas and Management Plans

What are Environment Canada protected areas?

Environment Canada establishes marine and terrestrial National Wildlife Areas for the purposes of conservation, research and interpretation. National Wildlife Areas are established to protect migratory birds, species at risk, and other wildlife and their habitats. National Wildlife Areas are established under the authority of the Canada Wildlife Act and are, first and foremost, places for wildlife. Migratory Bird Sanctuaries are established under the authority of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and provide a refuge for migratory birds in the marine and terrestrial environment.

What is the size of the Environment Canada Protected Areas Network?

The current Protected Areas Network consists of 54 National Wildlife Areas and 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries comprising more than 12 million hectares across Canada.

What is a management plan?

A management plan provides the framework in which management decisions are made. They are intended to be used by Environment Canada staff to guide decision making, notably with respect to permitting. Management is undertaken in order to maintain the ecological integrity of the protected area and to maintain the attributes for which the protected area was established. Environment Canada prepares a management plan for each protected area in consultation with First Nations and other stakeholders.

A management plan specifies activities that are allowed and identifies other activities that may be undertaken under the authority of a permit. It may also describe the necessary improvements needed in the habitat and specify where and when these improvements should be made. A management plan identifies Aboriginal rights and allowable practices specified under land claims agreements. Further, measures carried out for the conservation of wildlife must not be inconsistent with any law respecting wildlife in the province in which the protected area is situated.

What is protected area management?

Management includes monitoring wildlife, maintaining and improving wildlife habitat, periodic inspections, enforcement of regulations, as well as the maintenance of facilities and infrastructure. Research is also an important activity in protected areas; hence, Environment Canada staff carries out or coordinates research at some sites.

The series

All of the National Wildlife Areas are to have a management plan. All of these management plans will be initially reviewed 5 years after the approval of the first plan, and every 10 years thereafter.

To learn more

To learn more about Environment Canada’s protected areas, please visit our website or contact the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Bradwell National Wildlife Area

Bradwell National Wildlife Area (NWA) was established in 1968 to facilitate operation of the Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) Baldwin Project for the benefit of waterfowl and other waterbirds. The DUC Baldwin Project initiated in 1968 is a waterfowl habitat management program designed to maximize waterfowl production.

Canada’s Prairie Ecozone is one of the most modified ecozones in Canada, and also one of the most important habitats for migratory waterfowl in North America. Over the last 100 years, the majority of natural waterfowl habitat has been drastically altered by agriculture, with many wetlands drained and uplands plowed to produce annual crops. Droughts that cause small wetland basins to dry up completely are of particular concern, as they exacerbate the negative consequences of land use change on waterfowl habitat. Waterfowl conservation efforts underway at Bradwell NWA strive to increase the availability of both reliable water and perennial nesting cover.

Habitats at Bradwell NWA include five managed wetland basins occupying 30% of the property, within a matrix of native mixed-grass prairie, planted grasslands, and small patches of aspen forest. In 1968, 37% of the 123-hectare property was agricultural land under cultivation for annual crops. In the late 1970s, Environment Canada planted the cropland to four perennial grass seed mixes to provide a greater area and variety of nesting cover for waterfowl. In the absence of disturbance, much of the remaining native grassland and wetland edges have become invaded by alien invasive species. Water levels in the wetland basins are manipulated by DUC staff, using a connecting system of artificial ditches and dams that draw water from a canal connected upstream to the South Saskatchewan River. This guaranteed water supply from the river helps to maintain water levels and emergent vegetation in the marshes during seasonal or multi-year periods of drought that would otherwise leave the basins dry.

Bradwell NWA supports over 100 species of birds, including a significant concentration of breeding and staging migratory waterbirds such as Redhead (Aythya Americana) and Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) ducks. Over half of North America’s waterfowl and many other waterbirds breed on the Canadian prairies and in adjacent states. The region is also an important staging area for migratory birds that breed farther north, such as Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) and Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons). In the future, Bradwell NWA will continue to provide a significant breeding site for migratory waterbirds through active management of upland and wetland habitats.

Public access for hunting and wildlife viewing on foot is permitted at Bradwell NWA. For greater certainty, nothing in this management plan shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing aboriginal or treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

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