The Saskatchewan River Delta has important ecological and cultural significance and needs protecting. After flowing 1,200 kilometres from Canada’s Rocky Mountains, collecting runoff from the Prairies and Boreal Plains, the Saskatchewan River spills into a maze of channels that cut across the low-lying forests and wetlands of the Saskatchewan River Delta.
One of the largest inland deltas in North America, and one of the most biologically rich landscapes in Canada, the Saskatchewan River Delta is a 10,000 km2 network of waterways, wetlands and low-lying forests, and an internationally recognized “Important Bird Area.” The land and waters of the Delta provide habitat for millions of waterfowl and other migratory birds, including white pelicans, while the area’s forests sustain lynx, wolf, black bear, moose, and elk.
The Delta’s ecosystems store billions of tonnes of carbon in a vast peatland and boreal forest ecosystem, acting as a critical natural storehouse for carbon and a buffer against climate change. The Delta (located in East-Central Saskatchewan and West-Central Manitoba) is the traditional territory of the Cumberland House Cree Nation and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation who continue to rely on its rich ecosystems for sustenance and economic opportunities offered by hunting, fishing and ecotourism.
Protect The River Delta
The Saskatchewan River Delta has important ecological and cultural significance and needs protecting.
Threats to the Delta
Three large hydroelectric power dams located upstream affect water levels and nutrient flows into the delta.
Waste, chemicals, and nutrients from cities along the river enter the water system and travel downstream.
Livestock waste and farming chemicals from nearby farms and ranch lands impact the water systems downstream as they leach into the water.
As announced in July 2020, Saskatchewan is preparing for a large irrigation project based out of Lake Diefenbaker, upstream of the Saskatchewan River Delta.
Saving the River Delta
Cumberland House Cree Nation Declaration
On June 10th 2021, Chief Rene Chaboyer released the Cumberland House Cree Nation Declaration on Jurisdiction and Protection of Kitaskīnaw (Saskatchewan River Delta). The declaration sets out a manifesto on economic development and the protection of the delta.