The Saskatchewan River Basin Helps Make the Prairies What It Is

River Landing via the Traffic Bridge Saskatoon Meewasin

When it comes to defining Saskatchewan, if not the Canadian Prairies as a whole, there are a few features that really stand out. A major one is, of course, the fields of various agricultural crops that span the region. But that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The Canadian Shield that cuts across the upper portions of all three provinces is as iconic as their amber waves of grain in the south. But there are also badlands, deserts, woodlands, and more, all of which make up this part of the country.

Easily the most underestimated and overlooked natural feature on the Prairies is the Saskatchewan River Basin, which is home to the Meewasin Valley. And it’s the job of Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin to highlight the important role it plays and protect it.

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What is the Saskatchewan River Basin?

Fluffy clouds dot the sky over the Broadway Bridge and South Saskatchewan River Meewasin SaskatoonIt all begins on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains on the western side of Alberta. The Saskatchewan River Basin starts at the continental divide, then covers a huge portion of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

When it’s all said and done, the Saskatchewan River Basin finishes its cross-country journey at Lake Winnipeg. If you’ve never been, it’s actually quite spectacular as Lake Winnipeg is the eleventh largest freshwater lake in the world.

Another key feature of the Saskatchewan River Basin is the Saskatchewan River itself. It is the fourth longest river in North America, traveling well over 1900 kilometers. This river is quite literally feeding Lake Winnipeg with water from the Rocky Mountains.

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Why should you care about the Saskatchewan River Basin?

A beaver eats in the South Saskatchewan River Saskatoon MeewasinIn total, the Saskatchewan River Basin is approximately 406,000 square kilometers. It is made up of groundwater aquifers, sloughs, wetlands, rivers, and lakes that range in size from tiny drops on the Prairies to virtual inland seas.

These regions obviously play host to an incredible array of wildlife. There are thousands of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects that need a healthy Saskatchewan River Basin ecosystem to survive. But people need it, as well.

The fresh, clean water that the millions of people who live in the region rely on to live comes from and is filtered through the Saskatchewan River Basin. If nothing else, maintaining it is an act of self-preservation for all human life on the Prairies.

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That’s where the PFSRB comes in

The Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin is an advocacy group that has taken on the responsibility of promoting safe and healthy water use in this region. Sustainability is the name of the game at PFSRB through maintaining this key natural resource and nurturing cultural values that enhance that ideal.

It’s comprised of a collective of like-minded organizations across all three Prairie provinces. Since the Saskatchewan River Basin spreads across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, it only makes sense that the approach to preserving it also comes from the entire region.

As an organization, the PFSRB holds a variety of educational events to make sure the public understands why the Saskatchewan River Basin is important and what they can do to help. You can help, too. Joining the PFSRB is definitely a good first step.

NEXT: Learn more about Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin