January 3, 2005

Manitoba protects three unique areas

WINNIPEG, MAN-The Manitoba government is protecting a rare river-bottom forest with the creation of one new ecological reserve. The seven-hectare parcel of land is 3.5 kilometres south of St Adolphe and features a river-bottom forest along the eastern bank of the Red River. The site was formerly the property and home of Jennifer and Tom Shay, which was flooded in the 1997 Flood of the Century. Biological surveys conducted at the site recorded 156 plant species distributed throughout the property, including the very rare Amorpha fruitcosa (false indigo) and several other plant species uncommon to this region of Manitoba. "Undeveloped river-bottom forests are rare in southern Manitoba," said Conservation Minister Stan Struthers. This type of habitat is unique in that many plant species must possess a tolerance of this flood-prone environment in order to survive. The minister also announced the signing of a lease-exchange agreement to add land owned by Marcel Taillieu to Beaudry Provincial Park. The Taillieu property covers 15 hectares of river-bottom forest along the north bank of the Assiniboine River 10 kilometres west of Winnipeg bordering the park. In exchange, Taillieu will receive a lease on 58 hectares of nearby agricultural land in the park that is currently under agricultural cultivation. Finally, the 100,300-hectare Chitek Lake Park Reserve has been extended to 2009. Chitek Lake is located in the central Interlake region along the eastern shore of Lake Winnipegosis, about 350 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. The area forms the primary range of Manitoba's only free-ranging wood bison herd, and is the only location in Manitoba where wood bison, moose, elk, woodland caribou and white-tailed deer share the same area. The extension was requested by the Skownan First Nation to allow for more time for community review of the proposal to establish a permanent park in the area.
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