The Nature Conservancy of Canada in Manitoba has announced that it has bought a property in the province that contains 11 species at risk and uncommon species.
The not-for-profit, land conservation organization has completed the purchase of 127 hectares known as the Ethier Sandhills in the Oak Lake Natural Area in southwestern Manitoba.
The site was sold to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (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 have created stability and resulted in habitat for many rare or uncommon species.
The NCC has discovered 11 species at risk and uncommon species on the property, including silky prairie clover inhabiting the blowouts which is listed as both nationally and provincially threatened.
The property is also one of only a few places in Manitoba where brittle prickly-pear and the provincially imperilled spiny star can be found.
According to the NCC, the Oak Lake sandhills and wetlands area supports a high diversity of habitat types, including "globally significant waterbird concentrations."
"Lush marshes meet rolling sandhills, creating critical habitat for Manitoba's only lizard, the endangered prairie skink. The surrounding prairie and sandhill slopes support rare plants such as prairie spiderwort, smooth goosefoot and hairy prairie-clover," the NCC states on its website.
Many of the lands in the region have been cultivated and the wetlands continue to be drained, while recreation and petroleum development are increasing the threat to the natural biodiversity, the NCC says.