Meewasin is recognized world-wide for its leadership in conserving the natural resources of the 6,700 hectares of the Meewasin Valley. Meewasin sites and areas are home to more than 200 plant species, 100 bird species, amphibians, reptiles and animals. Meewasin strives to protect and enhance biodiversity in the Meewasin Valley through conservation grazing, prescribed controlled burns, removal of exotic species and noxious weeds, seed collection and planting of native grasses and wildflowers and clean-ups.
In 2016 Meewasin conducted controlled burns on a total of 15 hectares of land at Beaver Creek Conservation Area, Cranberry Flats Conservation Area and Meewasin Northeast Swale.
February 2017, Meewasin was recognized for the Meewasin resource management program and was presented with the inaugural Native Prairie Restoration and Reclamation Award by the Saskatchewan Conservation Action Plan.
In 2015, Meewasin secured funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada to create a conservation action plan called the Valley-wide Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Meewasin Valley, which will guide Meewasin's conservation efforts over the next decade. Approved by Meewasin, March 3, 2017, the plan was developed in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and engaged more than 50 stakeholders with representatives from all levels of government.
The RMP identified four conservation targets; rivers and creeks, swales, native grasslands, and wetlands. Threats were assessed and ranked, with the largest threat to the Meewasin Valley identified as invasive species. Other highly ranked threats include: dams and storm water management, runoff of pesticides and fertilizers, suburban developoment, trespass issues, fire and suppression and regional climate change.
The RMP also identified more than 180 key conservation actions by Meewasin. Partnerships with like-minded organizations were identified as key to implementing the plan.
Through the support of the RBC Blue Water Project, we had 423 sheep grazing in the Meewasin Northeast Swale from August 24 - September 19, 2015. Meewasin was delighted to be able to work once again with shepherd and educator Jared Epp. Thanks to Jared, our public grazing demonstration at Beaver Creek in July 2015, was also a tremendous success. Grazing is a very important and cost effective means of maintaining large natural areas like the Meewasin Northeast Swale as it mimics natural disturbance regimes to promote biodiversity. The grazing this year helped to manage encroachment in our grassland from the native shrubs Wolf Willow and Western Snowberry; as well as removing invasive species such as Smooth Brome, Kentucky Bluegrass, Leafy Spurge, and Sow Thistle.
Meewasin continues to pursue other management tools throughout the valley that are intended to mimic natural disturbance regimes, including controlled burns.
A big thank you to RBC Blue Water Project for their support of these programs!
The Meewasin mandate is to ensure a healthy and vibrant river valley for now and future generations with a balance between human use and conservation by:
- Providing leadership in the management of resources;
- Promoting understanding, conservation and beneficial use of the valley; and
- Undertaking programs and projects in River Valley development and conservation.
Meewasin fulfills this mandate by undertaking development review, securing lands of interest, and undertaking conservation development and education initiatives.
Meewasin is empowered by the Meewasin Valley Authority Act to coordinate or control the use of development, conservation maintenance and improvement of land development within the conservation zone. It is guided by a statutory committee of professional planners, architects, landscape architects, engineers and geological engineers.
Complementary to other environmental or heritage review permitting processes, it focuses on the following parameters:
- Consistency with the Meewasin Development Plan;
- Conservation, preservation and interpretation of significant natural habitat;
- Protection of slope stability and good drainage practices;
- Design of aesthetics complementary to the natural setting of the river valley;
- Provision for public access.
The original concept of Meewasin was to create a ribbon of green with the river as a spine. Meewasin will seek continued opportunities to secure long-term stewardship of land with conservation values. Stewardship may be secured through public ownership, conservation easements (legally binding) or through voluntary easements (goodwill agreements).
Meewasin encourages volunteers to work together to protect, enhance, restore and beautify the Meewasin Valley, complementing the work by City of Saskatoon and Meewasin work crews. Through the programs the citizenry maintain sections of the riverbank, plant trees in the Meewasin nursery and clean-up Meewasin conservation areas in and around Saskatoon.
Meewasin follows a comprehensive plan to:
- Act as a conservation agency;
- Initiate a land stewardship program;
- Maintain resource management of the river valley;
- Restore damaged areas of the valley;
- Green the valley (afforestation);
- Enhance, restore and/or create wildlife habitat areas;
- Preserve remaining natural areas in the valley;
- Protect the natural and heritage resources; and
- Encourage river stewardship.
Meewasin promotes and maintains biodiversity and ecological integrity within the valley with a program that includes conservation grazing, prescribed burns, seeding to native species, mowing, planting to native species and eradication of alien invasive species (i.e. noxious weeds).
Meewasin encourages volunteers to work together to protect, enhance, restore, and beautify the valley. Volunteers perform tasks to complement the work of the City of Saskatoon and Meewasin crews.
These volunteer "Stewards" help maintain sections of the riverbank, plant trees in the Meewasin nursery, collect seeds from native plants, clean up garbage, mulch wood chip trails and wrap trees to prevent beaver damage.
For more information about our Stewardship program, please call Meewasin at 306-665-6887.
RBC Science of Water
Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin (PFSRB)
Founded in 1993 by Meewasin, the national award winning PFSRB is a non-profit organization with a mandate to increase understanding, awareness and stewardship of the Saskatchewan River Basin. It is governed by a board of directors with members from the three prairie provinces. For more information on PFSRB please visit their website.