Good water conditions in Southern Saskatchewan

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Written by Dan Nieman
Friday, May 15, 2009

Dan Nieman (CWS Population Management Biologist Saskatchewan).Although water in the southern grasslands is much improved over last year, this region dries out as you proceed north and west. I’ve been surveying this crew area since 1971, and one of the hallmarks of the wetland habitat conditions in southern Saskatchewan is the great diversity across the area. Rarely do we see consistent conditions throughout. This year appears to be no exception. The west-central portion of the province is dry, but the eastern and central parklands have reasonably good water. Spring came late this year, and we’re still seeing ice on some of the big lakes. But nesting effort is strong, and we are encouraged by the number of some species we are seeing, especially pintails. The late farming activity could have negative impact on them, but overall, I’m optimistic because of the fairly good water conditions in the southern grasslands and central parklands. Over all, total duck numbers appear to be somewhat lower than expected, given the wetland habitat available. Many ponds are not occupied by waterfowl, likely a function of the excellent water available in other areas to the south (e.g., North and South Dakota).