On June 10, 2022, Environment and Climate Change Canada announced Saskatchewan’s only UNESCO designated Biosphere, The Redberry Lake Biosphere Region will receive $585,362 over 3 years. This is part of an investment $11.3 million across Canada’s 19 Biospheres.

Over the next 3 years RLBR will work together with partners and landowners to restore, maintain and enhance biodiversity conservation in the areas surrounding the core protected area of Redberry Lake – Mihkomin sâkahikan. RLBR will increase awareness of and engage with stakeholders to develop Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs). OECMs are tracts of land that are governed and managed by stakeholders in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the conservation of biodiversity such as low intensity grazing and eco-tourism.

“It’s about working with people and meeting them where they are at so that together, we can develop solutions that help nature and our communities thrive. That’s the essence of Biosphere’s, People and Nature in Balance.” says John Kindrachuk, Executive Director of the RLBR.

“This project allows for us to develop a kind of hopscotch pathway for wildlife and plant species to survive within. Large habitat runways are no longer available for wildlife, but sustaining a mosaic of habitat landing pads provides support for wildlife to adapt to the pressure human’s have created. It’s the least we can do to share some space and provide some power-up support for species in this game of survival.” says Katherine Finn, Project Manager for the RLBR.

“Redberry Lake Biosphere Region is relatively unknown. We need to start promoting to the outside world what bene fits this organiz ation and its living landsc ape can provide to us all. Being accepted for this project is truly a major step forward for the growth and long-term sustainability of the region. If you have not been here or witnessed its beauty, you are missing out. It is an honour to be a part of a globally recognized area for biodiversity, so let’s keep it that way.” says Lance Lamontagne who grew up and farms in the area in addition to working with RLBR as an Environmental Consultant.

In a press release on June 10 announcing the funding, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change said “Biosphere reserves are a model for how communities can connect with nature in healthier and more sustainable ways. They inspire and empower Canadians to work together to address global challenges such as biodiversity loss and climate change. By investing in Canadian biosphere reserves, we are advancing important conservation work in areas rich with cultural and biological diversity.”

Land successfully recognized as an OECM can be counted towards Canada’s conservation goals of 30% by 2030. Community engagement sessions are currently being planned for fall and winter.

This is the second RLBR project to be funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada. $402,400 over 3 years was announced in February of 2021 to support conservation and restoration of habitat for Species at Risk in partnership with Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, blending western science with traditional knowledge shared by First Nation elders.

The RLBR was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve surrounding Redberry Lake – Mihkomin sâkahikan in 2000 and expanded in 2020 to include the watershed and the 7 Rural Municipalities who share its borders. The RLBR is located on Treaty 6 Territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis. It is part of a global network of 702 locations in 124 countries and 50 Indigenous Nations.

WHICH SPECIES AT RISK ARE YOU?

Answer 10 Quick Questions & Find Out!