Saskatchewan environmental science centres

Bratt’s Lake Site (Regina, SK)

Bratt's Lake Observatory Instrument Platform

© Richard Tanabe,
Environment Canada, 2008

Bratt’s Lake atmospheric monitoring site, located 27 km south of Regina, is home to air, precipitation chemistry, meteorological and greenhouse gas measurement programs. As part of Environment Canada’s national integrated atmospheric monitoring program, the research and data contribute to the federal Clean Air Regulatory Agenda. The site is also one of three Canadian sites in the World Meteorological Organization’s Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment, or WMO-SPICE, which sets technical standards and quality control procedures and guidance for the use of meteorological instruments and observation methods by the international scientific community.




National Hydrology Research Centre (Saskatoon, SK)

National Hydrology Research Centre

© Environment Canada, 2008

The National Hydrology Research Centre (NHRC) located at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, accommodates Environment Canada (EC) scientific, technical and administrative staff from the Air and Water Science and Technology Directorates and the Meteorological Service of Canada.

Aquatic Contaminant and Water Hydrology and Ecology research and technical staff at NHRC undertake laboratory and field activities which generate scientific data, related information and tools aimed to assist in sustaining Canada’s ecosystems. Hydrological and ecological information gathered from studies in rivers and lakes in the Canadian North enable scientists to better understand and predict the impacts of climate variability and anthropogenic disturbances on sensitive aquatic systems. Studies focused on the impacts of climate variability on major cryospheric and hydrologic processes (e.g., ice-jam flooding), groundwater availability and sustainability, and the effects of emerging contaminants on food webs in lakes and streams, inform the development of adaptation strategies to protect key/vulnerable water resources and aquatic ecosystems. New mass spectrometric methods to identify toxic components (e.g., pharmaceuticals, naphthenic acids) in natural wetlands, soils and vegetation and the use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the development of bioindicators of stressors on benthic organisms are both examples of analytical tools developed to support the assessment of cumulative effects and risks to aquatic ecosystems.

Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Surveillance scientists report on the status and trends of water quality and aquatic ecosystem health in the Athabasca/Artic Watershed basins. Extensive field activities are supported by multiple in-house laboratory facilities for field preparation, benthic invertebrate processing and identification (Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network), and specialized chemical analysis.

The National Laboratory for Environmental Testing (NLET-Saskatoon) provides ISO 17025 chemical analyses to EC water quality monitoring and research programs. NHRC’s hydrology and ecology stable isotope lab specializes in the measurement of environmental stable isotope tracers for cumulative effects based ecological and hydrological research.

NHRC research and monitoring activities support EC’s obligations under the Canada Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and Fisheries Act through participation in government science programs including the Chemicals Management Plan, the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators program, the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative and the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring.

Prairie and Northern Wildlife Research Centre (Saskatoon, SK)

Prairie and Northern Wildlife Research Centre

© Environment Canada, 2008

The Prairie and Northern Wildlife Research Centre (PNWRC) occupies more than one hectare of land on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon, including a two-storey building with offices and 10 laboratories and a large storage compound for fleet vehicles and field equipment. Office space is provided for more than 30 full-time staff, as well as many post doctoral fellows, graduate, undergraduate, and exchange students, and visiting scientists. Science & Technology Branch staff work on migratory bird ecology, ecosystem and wildlife health, and ecotoxicology, often in association with the University of Saskatchewan’s Departments of Biology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, and Toxicology Centre. 

Environmental Stewardship Branch staff at PNWRC work on programs for the recovery and protection of Species at Risk, on monitoring and management of Migratory Birds, and operation of Protected Areas. Wildlife Enforcement Division staff conduct patrols of Protected Areas and are very active during Migratory Bird hunting seasons, in addition to fulfilling regulatory needs under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

Scientist performing nutritional analysis

© Environment Canada, 2008

Facility highlights:

  • Wet labs, dry labs, and walk-in freezers for storing and processing animal, plant, water and soil samples from arctic, boreal, oil sands and prairie field sites.
  • A level-2 biosafety lab in support of wildlife disease and toxicology research.
  • Indoor and outdoor construction and staging areas to build or prepare supplies and research and monitoring equipment for shipping to all parts of the Prairie and Northern Region and further afield.
  • Five-minute walk from University of Saskatchewan colleagues and facilities in the Colleges of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, and Science; Environment Canada colleagues at the National Hydrology Research Centre; and colleagues and facilities at the Canadian Light Source.
  • Proximity to the St. Denis National Wildlife Area, 35 km east, where long-term research began in 1968 to consider how landscape and climate changes impact upland and wetland wildlife habitats, and associated wildlife populations in the Prairie Pothole region.
  • Bird Studies Canada is provided with office space at PNWRC, and they contribute to related migratory bird monitoring and research programs.

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