A lake in the southern part of North America’s largest freshwater river delta has new environmental protections.
Saskatchewan has designated Lobstick Lake as an ecological reserve covering 98,580 hectares.
“Establishing the Lobstick Lake Representative Area will help conserve valuable wildlife habitat in the region,” said Environment Minister Warren Kaeding. “This designation will ensure the protection and enjoyment of this land for many years to come. ”
The lake is part of the Saskatchewan River Delta, which spans 10,000 square kilometers of wetland straddling the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border.
The lake is approximately 15 miles south of Cumberland House.
The ecological protection designation follows the declaration of economic and ecological sovereignty by Cumberland House Cree Nation chief Rene Chaboyer over the delta in June following its decades-long environmental decline.
Chaboyer said he was unable to comment on Lobstick Lake’s protections.
The lake site includes wetlands, lakes and river channels that are both active and abandoned, bordered by peatlands and bogs, according to a provincial press release.
Its land uses include fishing, hunting, trapping and tourism. It is also used for industrial development, including peat extraction and forestry, the statement added.
Gord Vaadeland, executive director of the Society for Nature and Parks of Canada (SNAP) in Saskatchewan, said he welcomed the move as a step towards broader protections for the Saskatchewan River Delta.
Lobstick Lake was previously designated a protected area, which paved the way for its new designation, Vaadeland said.
“There is going to be a lot more than Lobstick,” he added. “But it’s a very good carrot and a basis for ongoing discussions between the province and First Nations in this area.
CPAWS Saskatchewan has been involved in coordinating some of these discussions between the First Nation and the province, Vaadeland said.
Potential models for the territory include co-management or an indigenous protected and conserved area.
The Saskatchewan River Delta, including Lobstick Lake, is a huge carbon sink that is part of an important route for migratory birds. It is also home to a wide range of plants and wildlife, Vaadeland said.
“The delta itself is the most ecologically important area in the province, as long as all the boxes are checked. ”