Manitoba’s conservation leader helped fight climate change in the past year by working with landowners to protect 49 square kilometres (19 square miles) of wetlands and natural habitat, an area larger than the city of Steinbach.

“Every acre, every pond, every bit of grassland is critical in addressing climate change,” says Mark Francis, Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) manager of provincial operations in Manitoba. “I want to thank staff and landowners in addition to our industry and funding partners for helping to achieve some remarkable conservation numbers.”

DUC protected over 12,000 acres in 2021-2022 from future loss through long-term partnerships with Manitoba landowners. In addition, DUC collaborated with farmers to restore more than 5,600 acres of wetland and grassland habitat and provided the leadership and resources to convert over 185,000 acres of privately held lands into more diverse and sustainable ecosystems, exceeding its own targets.

Contributions from Manitoba’s Conservation Trust (CT) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), combined with private sector partnerships including the Weston Foundation, allowed DUC to expand both its conservation goals and the resources offered to landowners.

Last year, DUC provided $8.3 million in conservation programming to farmers and ranchers in Manitoba, an increase of $1 million from the previous year.

“Beyond helping the environment, DUC is contributing to the economy of rural Manitoba by providing financial incentives to landowners who support businesses in dozens of local communities,” says Francis. 

In 2022-2023, DUC is increasing funding for forage and marginal areas programs in Manitoba and adding a new rangeland program to help ranchers improve the health and biodiversity of pasturelands.