Ground Crew Prepares for Survey in Southern Saskatchewan

Written by Kevin Dufour and Dan Nieman
Sunday, May 02, 2010

Photo of Kevin Dufour and Dan NiemanSpring wetland habitat conditions typically vary widely over the Canadian Prairies, and 2010 is no exception. The grasslands in southern Saskatchewan and the southeast and west central parklands were relatively dry following spring run-off. However, several early spring snow and rain events improved soil moisture conditions and provided much-needed water for wetlands in these regions. More recently, relatively heavy and widely distributed rain and snow have significantly improved wetland habitat throughout Saskatchewan. This precipitation helped to fill many temporary wetlands, and transformed poor conditions in the southern grasslands and west central parklands to habitat capable of attracting and supporting breeding waterfowl. The average conditions in many areas of the central and eastern parklands were markedly improved and can now be considered good to excellent. This moisture will also benefit nesting cover in pasture and grasslands throughout the Province.

Waterfowl returned to Saskatchewan very early this spring, and unusually warm conditions promoted a strong initial breeding effort by early migrating species such as mallards and northern pintails. All other species are present and widely distributed throughout the available habitat. Farming operations, which also began relatively early - especially in the southwest – are now delayed by the recent precipitation. However, it is unlikely that this delay in farming activities will be long enough to promote nest survival of those species currently nesting in cultivated land. Tillage and seeding operations are expected to resume quickly with a return to warm, dry weather.

There was reasonably good carry-over of water from last year in portions of the parkland, and the recent rains have improved habitat quality in all areas. Although conditions remain variable across Saskatchewan, the prognosis for waterfowl production this year has improved considerably over the past several weeks.

From left to right: Dan Nieman, Phyllis Nieman, Pat Bergen, Keith Warner, David Johns, Kevin Dufour, Josh Traylor, Dan Routhier, Nicole Tchir.

Southern Saskatchewan Ground Crew. From left to right: Dan Nieman, Phyllis Nieman, Pat Bergen, Keith Warner, David Johns, Kevin Dufour, Josh Traylor, Dan Routhier, Nicole Tchir. Credit Kevin Dufour, CWS.