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Valeport Marsh (SK061)

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Valeport Marsh (SK061)

Craven, Saskatchewan

Latitude 50.723°N
Longitude 104.849°W
Altitude 500m
Area 30.53km²

Site Description

Valeport Marsh is located at the southeast end of Last Mountain Lake, about six km northwest of the town of Craven, and 35 km northwest of Regina. This extensive marsh was created for waterfowl by the provincial government with the assistance of Ducks Unlimited. Several small islands were also created for nesting habitat for waterfowl. Channels within the marsh were also dredged at this time. A large dike intersects the marsh and is regularly used by hikers and bird watchers to access the marsh. A river runs and meanders south of the marsh for about six km before entering the QuAppelle River. The adjacent valley slopes are well forested and provide habitat for numerous species of deciduous woodland birds. This site lies within the Arm River Plain landscape area, in the Moist Mixed Grassland ecoregion of south-central Saskatchewan. It is part of the Qu'Appelle River Basin and feeds into the Upper Qu'Appelle River Watershed.

Birds

The Valeport Marsh is rich in waterbirds of several varieties. Arctic-nesting shorebirds such as Stilt Sandpiper have been recorded in very large numbers, with up to 2,500, or 2.5% of the world population, being found here during spring migration. Over 2,000 Long-billed Dowitchers can be found here during spring migration, as well as up to 500 American Golden-Plovers.

Three pairs of Clarks Grebe breed here in the summer. This species is on the northern edge of its range in the southern prairies, and in 1996 there were only two other confirmed breeding locations in Saskatchewan, with few others known in the rest of Canada. But, the range of Clarks Grebe is poorly known because it was only recently separated as a species from the more abundant Western Grebe.

During fall migration, large numbers of both ducks (10,000) and geese (>5,000) use the marsh and the river within the marsh as a staging area. The area is also utilized by about 200 American White Pelicans outside of the breeding season.

Conservation Issues

The marsh is situated within a provincial game preserve that was established in 1960. There is also a provincial recreation site on the edge of the marsh, adjacent to Highway #20, that is used by picnickers, fishers, and those who come to view the wildlife. The site is within the Valeport Flats PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration), now known as AESB (Agri-Environment Services Branch).

Acreage development is occurring along the slopes of the Qu'Appelle Valley on both sides of the marsh at a rapid rate and has potential to disrupt woodland habitat. The Nature Conservancy of Canada owns a large propoerty (Big Valley) on the west shore of the marsh which is being protected and managed for bird and wildlife habitat.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Long-billed Dowitcher
Number Year Season
2,0001997Spring
2,0001996Fall
Cackling Goose
Number Year Season
5,0001985Fall