Saskatchewan River Delta

Assessing links between water, animals and people in the Saskatchewan River Delta

Global Institute for Water Security, SaskPower

Current Participants: Tim Jardine (Principal Investigator) (School of Environment and Sustainability, U of S.), Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt (School of Environment and Sustainability, U of S.), Norman Smith (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Howard Wheater (School of Environment and Sustainability, U of S.), Keith Hobson (Environment Canada), David Natcher (Indigenous Land Management Institute, U of S.), Ken Belcher (School of Environment and Sustainability, U of S.), Maureen Reed (School of Environment and Sustainability, U of S.), Doug Clark (School of Environment and Sustainability, U of S.)

There are four overall objectives to this research:
1) Determine how the current and potential future flow regime of the Saskatchewan River affects the distribution of aquatic habitats (e.g. lakes, wetlands, riparian areas) in the Cumberland Marshes
2) Assess which of these habitats are most important in spawning/breeding and production of fishes, birds and mammals
3) Evaluate market and customary (non-market) resource use by people in the region and assign value (social, cultural, economic) to this harvesting and any related conservation activities
4) Create a conceptual framework (Bayesian Belief Network) that allows estimation of the ecological and societal implications of future flow scenarios

Workshops will be held in Cumberland House to continuously engage the community in the research. A possible outcome of this research is input into the operating plan of E.B. Campbell Dam, where flows could be optimized to allow wetland inundation and maximize animal production while maintaining flood protection for the community. Similarly, Ducks Unlimited Canada will gain knowledge of the key habitats for waterbird production that can aid in ongoing water level management.