The rare prairie grasslands of Suffield IBA were left relatively untouched as part of a Canadian Forces Base. Now designated a National Wildlife Area (NWA), they're threatened by development.
The Great Plains landscape of Suffield IBA rolls along the South Saskatchewan River through mixed native grasslands and sand hills. The site teems with life, including 244 vertebrate species, 82 species of breeding birds, 436 catalogued invertebrates, and 462 plant species. As only 6% of Canada’s native prairie remains intact, Suffield is especially critical to breeding grassland birds including Brewer’s Sparrows, Western Meadowlarks, and Sprague’s Pipits. This is also an important wintering area for ungulates such as Mule Deer, and a haven for reptiles at risk including the Prairie Rattlesnake.
Suffield was designated a National Wildlife Area in 2003, yet a proposal has been made to permit drilling of 1,275 shallow gas wells within the IBA. Nature Canada strongly opposes the project, which would fragment precious habitat, disturb breeding wildlife, and sell out Canada’s protected areas to private interests. It would also set a dangerous precedent: No permit of this kind has ever been granted inside a National Wildlife Area in Canada.
Download more fact sheets about Canada’s IBAs or call 1-800-267-4088 ext. 241 to request one.