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Delta Marsh Wildlife Management Area Expansion

Delta Marsh Wildlife Management Area (PDF)

Delta Backgrounder map

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Foggy marsh


Land Designation

Wildlife Management Area

Landscape Description

The Delta Marsh Wildlife Management Area Expansion protects an additional 275 hectares of marsh and grassland habitat in Delta Marsh, at the south end of Lake Manitoba. These lands were purchased from willing sellers through a partnership involving Wildlife Habitat Canada, the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, and Manitoba Conservation.

In 2006, only part of the original wildlife management area was fully protected from logging, mining, hydroelectric development, oil and gas development, and other activities that could harm habitat. Now the entire 11,275 hectares of important marshlands and wildlife habitat in the wildlife management area are protected.

Outstanding Features

Delta Marsh is one of the largest freshwater coastal wetlands in Canada. It stretches over 30 kilometres from Lynchs Point in the west to St. Ambroise in the east. The marsh formed thousands of years ago when the ancient Assiniboine River flowed into Lake Manitoba.

Delta Marsh was recognized as an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention in 1982, a Manitoba Heritage Marsh in 1988, and an Important Bird Area (IBA) in 1991. The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International.

The marsh provides critical habitat for a significant number of waterfowl, neotropical migrants, and songbirds every year. The Delta Marsh Bird Observatory monitors the spring and fall migrations of warblers and other perching birds, often recording the greatest number and variety of these birds in Canada.

White-tailed deer are common on the lands bordering the marsh, and sharp-tailed grouse can be seen year round as well. Common furbearers include coyote, red fox, beaver and muskrat. The abundance of waterfowl found in the marsh includes Western grebes, canvasbacks, lesser scaup, American white pelicans and double-crested cormorants.

The rich biodiversity of Delta Marsh has attracted people past and present, from all over the world and from all walks of life. Spear points, arrow heads and other evidence of early use by First Nations have been found throughout the area.

More recently, generations of farmers, fishermen, hunters, and trappers living close to the marsh found themselves in the company of the British royal family, and later, movie stars, television personalities, and astronauts who have all spent time exploring and hunting waterfowl in this world-renowned marsh.

Today the marsh is just as famous, but is attracting fewer hunters and more ecotourists. As well, the Delta Marsh Field Station operated by the University of Manitoba, and the Delta Waterfowl & Wetlands Research Station operated by the Delta Waterfowl Foundation, encourage wetland and wildlife research at Delta Marsh.

The Delta Marsh Wildlife Management Area was established to protect and enhance natural habitat, conserve biodiversity, and provide opportunities for compatible recreational activities requiring little or no development. Hunting, trapping, fishing and existing agricultural uses will continue as they have in the past. Existing Aboriginal and
treaty rights are respected in protected areas.

The entire wildlife management area is categorized as an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) protected area management category IV - a protected area managed mainly for conservation of habitat and species through management intervention.