Where Will the Sharp-Tailed Grouse Dance?
This week, @cityofsaskatoon City Council spent a few minutes talking about the Swales, and Wild About Saskatoon was pleased that our contributions to Swale education got a shout-out.
We are wild about these places and will continue to encourage people to explore and connect with them. Sadly, Saskatoon residents often remain unaware of the importance of these amazing prairie remnants, and many see them as empty spaces just waiting to be filled with sub-divisions and roads.
To the array of life that these areas support, including plants, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and insects, they are home. Crowfoot violet, northern leopard frog, sharp-tailed grouse (pictured) are only a few of the species found there whose numbers are declining across the prairie region. Each spring male sharp-tailed grouse congregate on their lek, a dancing ground where they perform their mating dance. Yet these ecosystems, which should be regarded as treasures, lack significant protection.
While we await Phase II and III of the City’s Green Infrastructure Strategy which we understand will contain assessments and guidelines for natural areas, development plans continue. These include University Heights 3 (a commercial and residential development that will surround the swales), a likely expansion of Lowe Road through the NE Swale and the proposed provincial four-lane highway crossing both swales. How many more springs will the grouse be able to dance on their lek?
We need concrete measures now to ensure that all valuable spaces in Saskatoon’s northeast sector (Small Swale, NE Swale, nearby natural areas) are mapped by the City’s sustainability experts and are placed under meaningful and full protection.
You can help by writing and talking to your city counsellor and the mayor demanding they do just that, that they truly meet the city’s goal of living in harmony with nature.
#saskatoon #yxe #naturecityyxe #meewasin #northeastswale #southswale #endangeredecosystem #nativeprairie #sharptailedgrouse
Photo Credits: Meghan Mickelson