Conservation Grazing Program
Meewasin would like to thank Sue and Meghan of Quarter L Ranch for grazing their flock of sheep at the Meewasin Northeast Swale. They will be heading home September 15 after successfully helping Meewasin enhance grassland bird habitat through conservation grazing.
Thanks to Environment and Climate Change Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program for providing funding for this project.
Meewasin has a flock of sheep grazing at the Meewasin Northeast Swale, within the Saskatoon's city limits for the month of August. A total of 325 sheep willb e used to improve grassland bird habitat at the Swale. Since 2004, Meewasin has incorporated conservation grazing with sheep, goats and cattle, as part of its integrated resource management program. Such Meewasain grassland management practices will enhance Plains Rough Fescue, a rare native grass found only in Canada with less than 5% remaining.
Meewasin is working with rancher and conservation practitioner Sue Michalsky of Quarter L Ranch to use a sheep flock to enhance grassland bird habitat by controlling non-native invasive species, reducing native shrub cover, and reducing overgrowth of grasses and shrubs. The sheep will be "targeted" in small 1-4 hectare plots and will be moved to different plots as management objectives are met.
Environment and Climate Change Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk has provided funding to Meewasin to enhance grassland bird habitat at its conservation sites including Beaver Creek Conservation Area, Cranberry Flats Conservation Area, Saskatoon Natural Grasslands and the Meewasin Northeast Swale. With less than 20% of native prairie left in Saskatchewan and a 70% decline in grassland bird populations in the last two decades, improving the health of remaining tracks of native prairie is critical to ensure the survival of our grasslands birds. Grassland birds including the species at risk short-eared owl, common nighthawk, Sprague's pipit, and other grassland birds including western meadowlark, clay-coloured sparrow, and vesper sparrow have been observed at the Meewasin Northeast Swale.