Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada

December 10, 2014 14:04 ET

Arrow Marsh Protected Area Grows to 1,300 Acres

VIRDEN, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Dec. 10, 2014) - When it comes to protecting wetlands in southwestern Manitoba, there's little time to lose. Despite their many benefits, the area continues to experience wetland loss of about 15 acres per day.

The Richardson Foundation gets it.

The family behind the foundation has been actively involved in protecting wetlands for over 75 years, when James Armstrong Richardson helped establish the original board of Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). Nowadays, their support is spread across many different DUC initiatives, benefiting many different communities.

Once such place is Arrow Marsh, in the RM of Miniota, north of Virden. Grant money provided through the Tundra Oil & Gas Partnership (a wholly owned business of James Richardson & Sons) enabled DUC to work with landowner Duncan Lelond to acquire 320.3 acres.

Lelond had previously rented out the land for grazing. It consists of 135.5 acres of wetland and 182.8 acres of native grass, which DUC deemed important for waterfowl nesting and natural habitat, and thus in need of protection.

"Arrow Marsh has significant staging capability for migrating waterfowl, as well as brood rearing for local nesting birds," says Mark Francis, DUC's head of conservation programs in Manitoba. "It's a real gem in southwestern Manitoba as far as large marshes go."

Francis says the purchase happened through a cooperative, partnership attitude from all parties, including the landowner and the funder, who all believe in the importance of conserving the land. As with all land purchased by DUC, value was based on a third-party appraisal.

Once the purchase was complete, Lelond's property became part of a much bigger conservation picture. DUC has been working to protect wetland habitat in Arrow Marsh since 1977. They previously acquired another 320 acres from a land purchase in 2000. With the latest addition, DUC is now able to protect over 1,300 acres of important wetland and upland habitat at Arrow Marsh.

"Owning land around Arrow Marsh allows us to maintain that habitat in pristine condition," says Francis. "Many water bodies in southwestern Manitoba, including Arrow Marsh, are under threat of drainage."

Francis says that approximately 70 per cent of wetlands have already been lost in southwestern Manitoba, drained to accommodate agriculture, industry and urban development. Aside from the obvious loss of important habitat and wildlife, other negative consequences have been proven through scientific research.

"Drainage makes flooding worse, because the water that would normally be held on the landscape is fast-tracked downstream," he says. "But it also removes other wetland benefits, such as filtering out nutrients and phosphorus from the water."

DUC's work to protect wetlands (and their benefits) is further bolstered by its partnership with the Richardson Foundation. Through a commitment to Healthy Prairie Landscapes, a five-year $2.4 million program dedicated to preserve prairie wetlands, the foundation plays an important part in many other wetland projects.

"Arrow Marsh and Healthy Prairie Landscapes are examples of how landowners, businesses and conservation groups can work together to produce meaningful results," says Francis.

Contact Information

  • Ducks Unlimited Canada
    Carolyn Kosheluk
    Communications Coordinator