The Nature Conservancy of Canada is now protecting 646 hectares of land along the eastern shore of Chaplin Lake.
The area, known as Mackie Ranch, is home to a number of plants and animals that are common as well as those that are protected or endangered.
“As long as we continue to own and manage the land, it'll be kind of managed with the conservation of biodiversity as its primary goal. So, making sure that we continue to see all of the species that we see out there today, both the common ones and the rare ones as well,” said Nature Conservancy of Canada Program Director for South West Saskatchewan Michael Burak, explaining that it is privately protected land.
Mackie Ranch is within the Chaplin-Old Wives-Reed Lakes Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and is one of only three in Canada that have hemispheric importance to shorebirds and the only one located inland.
This makes Chaplin Lake a hotspot for birdwatchers since over half of the world’s population of sanderling birds stops to rest and feed during their spring migration.
Some of the other migratory shorebirds found in the area include the semipalmated sandpiper, Baird’s sandpiper, red knot and piping plover.
Burak told us about some of the other animals that can be found in the area.
“We have a wide variety of just grasslands, songbirds, both the common ones and the ones that are listed at-risk federally in Canada, and then there's also a pretty wide variety of game species, so things like deer and moose,” Burak said.
“Even Saskatchewan provincial bird the sharp-tailed grouse is found on the property in pretty high numbers. we actually found two of their kind of dancing grounds where they do their mating displays as well on there.”
Some animals in the area listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act include the Chestnut-collared longspur (threatened), ferruginous hawk (threatened) and long-billed curlew (special concern).
Mackie Ranch is named after the Mackie Family that sold the land to the Nature Conservancy of Canada and will continue to be used for cattle grazing.
More information about this and other protected lands can be found on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s website. (https://natureconservancy.ca/en/)
Below is a video of Mackie Ranch courtesy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada: