One of only three sites in Canada designated to be of hemispheric significance
A saline lake in the middle of Canada? The future of this little-known natural gem, located as far away from the ocean as you can get in Canada, is now ensured.
Located along the Trans-Canada Highway, between Moose Jaw and Swift Current, over half of the world’s population of sanderlings stop to rest and feed at Chaplin Lake — the second-largest saline lake in Canada — each year during their spring migration. Many other migratory shorebirds also visit the lake, such as semipalmated sandpiper, Baird’s sandpiper, red knot and piping plover.
Chaplin Lake is known for its remarkable birdwatching opportunities. Now, a large section of grassland, as well as a section of an important shoreline along the lake, is protected.
NCC’s Mackie Ranch project is located along the eastern shoreline of Chaplin Lake. A portion of the Mackie Ranch property is located within the boundaries of the Chaplin-Old Wives-Reed Lakes Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site. This site is one of only three in Canada designated as being of hemispheric significance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site for shorebirds, and the only one that is located inland.
Mackie Ranch shelters 471 hectares of endangered grasslands and wetlands, and an additional 178 hectares of tame grassland. The area is home to many plants and animals, including Saskatchewan’s provincial bird, sharp-tailed grouse. There are at least two active grouse mating leks on the ranch. The area also provides habitat for at-risk species, including chestnut-collared longspur, ferruginous hawk and long-billed curlew.
The conservation site has been named in recognition of the generations of stewardship by the Mackie family, and will continue to be used for cattle grazing to help keep the grasslands healthy and support the local economy.
Read more: Prairie hot spot for shorebirds now conserved