Saskatoon's Swale Complexes

Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale: Wild, Wonderful, One of a Kind. 

The Northeast Swale is a ridge of windswept prairie and natural wetlands that begins within the City of Saskatoon and sweeps for twenty-six kilometers to the north and east.

In a region with vanishingly little natural grassland left (less than 5%), the Swale and its surrounding habitat are a refuge for life. The 300 hectares of the Northeast Swale within city limits alone is home to more than 200 kinds of plants and over 100 species of birds.

If you’re longing to hear the song of the Western Meadowlark or the weird and wonderful creaking of a Leopard Frog, the Northeast Swale is the place for you.

An Ancient Land in the Fast Lane 

Formed by the course of an Ice Age river and glacial retreat, the Swale is now threatened by run-away urban sprawl. The City of Saskatoon is proceeding with two new subdivisions around the Swale, one now under construction and the other in the final concept stages of planning. To facilitate this development, the City has extended Central Avenue and McOrmond Drive, slicing across both the Northeast and Small Swale complexes.

Future plans call for an existing grid road through the heart of the Northeast Swale to be enlarged and for 10-lanes of provincial freeway to be built less than a kilometer north of McOrmond Drive. The projected cost of the freeway is over $2 billion. 

CPAWS-SK continues to advocate for the protection of this important area, which includes the Northeast Swale and adjacent Small Swale – equally rich in biodiversity. Ensuring these ecosystems have adequate space to breath and remain connected by a largely undeveloped landscape is critical to its ecological function and integrity, and to its cultural importance within the broader landscape.    

Swale video series:

Preserving Prairie Urban Landscapes



By donating to CPAWS, you help us continue our advocacy work in the Northeast and Small Swales as they face mounting pressures from urban development. 

Donate Now