Number of projects: 5

Land value: Land value is the appraised value of land that NCC has conserved directly and with partners. $491,200

Acres conserved: 1,195

Stewardship volunteers: 284

NCC leads the way in conserving habitat for the western prairie fringed orchid

Andrea Mosher

The western prairie fringed orchid is an endangered species found in one of the rarest ecosystems in North America — the tall grass prairie. Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC’s) Manitoba Region announced a significant accomplishment: the conservation of habitat for more than 50 percent of the species’ distribution in Canada. Since half of the world’s population of the western prairie fringed orchid occurs in Canada, this means NCC has secured habitat for more than 25 percent of the global population of this species.

The species, included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List as endangered, is also listed as endangered in Canada at the national and provincial levels, as well as in the United States.

A recently published journal article in American Midland Naturalist, in which NCC is a co-author, examined 21 years of weather and land management data and the effects of these various factors on the western prairie fringed orchid in Manitoba.

Sand hills conserved


NCC completed the purchase of 315 acres (127 hectares), known as the Ethier Sandhills, in the Oak Lake Natural Area in southwestern Manitoba.

The site was sold to NCC by the previous landowner, who wished to protect the sand dunes in honour of his late mother.

Over the years, vegetation growing on the dunes has created stability and resulted in habitat for many rare or uncommon species. NCC has discovered 11 species at risk and uncommon species on the property, including silky prairie clover, which is listed as provincially threatened as well as of special concern nationally.

The property is also one of only a few places in Manitoba where the provincially imperilled spinystar can be found. The Ethier Sandhills are a haven for moose and other large mammals.

This conservation project was made possible due to the generous support of the Government of Canada (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and the Government of Manitoba.

Environment Canada EcoAction Community Funding Program


Support from Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program is helping NCC expand our engagement programming across southern Manitoba. This programming invites people of all ages to learn about conservation and participate in on-the-ground stewardship activities. Environment Canada’s funding is directly contributing to NCC's conservation and stewardship of Manitoba’s natural areas, in addition to providing opportunities for NCC to expand conservation knowledge across the province.

From 2014 to March 31, 2015, NCC’s Manitoba Region used EcoAction funds to increase engagement across three natural areas: the Tall Grass Prairie, Riding Mountain and St Lazare Plain/East Parklands. With this funding, the Manitoba Region engaged 624 individuals (327 youth) and managed 2,969 acres (1,200 hectares) in this short period of time. This is equivalent to $8,347 of in-kind contributions to NCC.

We look forward to continuing to connect Canadians to their natural world!