Home - Who We Are - Designation & Location
Redberry Lake becomes World Biosphere Reserve
The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) runs a program named Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB). Sites that become a biosphere reserve receive their recognition under this program. On January 21, 2000 the MAB Programme designated the area of the Redberry Lake watershed as the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve.
Located on the edge of the Parkland Ecoregion of Saskatchewan, Canada, the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve is presently the only UNESCO designated biosphere reserve in the province. It covers the entire Redberry Lake watershed.
Every biosphere reserve consists of three geographical zones: The 'core area', which is surrounded by a 'buffer zone' and an 'area of cooperation'. The Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve's core area (green) is Redberry Lake, a Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It is the protected part within the Biosphere Reserve and acts as a reference point: Information from this area is used to measure how sustainable activities are or how the environmental quality in the surrounding areas is doing. The core area can also contribute resources to projects which are developed with local people, businesses and other partners in the adjacent buffer zone.
The buffer zone of the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve (orange) is the area immediately surrounding the lake, which includes a Regional Park and a Research and Education Centre. The third area of the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve, the area of cooperation (yellow), is made up of all other land within the closed watershed of Redberry Lake and includes the Town of Hafford. This large outer part is where people live and work; it is here, the goal of sustainable resource use is explored and encouraged through research, education and community-based planning.
Research and Education Centre on Redberry Lake
The Research and Education Centre is located in Redberry Lake Regional Park, just 11 kilometres east of the Town of Hafford. The Centre features displays on local history and information about Redberry and other biosphere reserves around the world. This unique area has been studied extensively; the Centre houses historic data on weather, water levels, bird counts for colonial nesting birds and others, limnology, tourism and recreation use.
Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve's Environment
The Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve includes the saline lake and 112,200 hectares of rolling prairie, dotted with seasonal ponds and marshes, along with aspen/shrub groves. Small patches of natural mixed prairie can also be found here – a rarity in this highly grazed and cultivated area. The core area of the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve is an important site for conservation. Water birds use the lake as breeding grounds, migrating shorebirds and waterfowls have their staging point here. The lake provides habitat for a total of nine endangered or threatened species as well as over 180 other species.
Important Bird Area (IBA) around the Lake
To assess and conserve essential bird habitats of threatened birds like Piping Plovers and colonial birds like American White Pelicans, Redberry Lake and its four islands (Gull, Pelican, Old Tern and New Tern) are designated as a Canadian Important Bird Area (IBA). This international initiative is dedicated to conserve birds, their habitats, and biodiversity.
Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve acts as a caretaker for the Redberry Lake IBA region through annual bird monitoring.
If you want to know more about Canadian IBAs or want to get involved as a caretaker the IBA website offers lots of information.
Living and Working in the Biosphere Reserve
As of 2006 about 5,086 people live in the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve [Statistics Canada, 2006]. Most of them are Euro-Canadians of Ukrainian origin.
The primary economic activities in the region are agriculture and livestock rearing. The number of farms transitioning from conventional to organic production practices increases. In addition, Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve manages an Agri-Environmental Group Plan (AEGP) to encourage producers to implement sustainable management practices on their farms.
In recent times the out-migration of residents has resulted in fewer but larger farms needing more outside resources with technologically advanced machinery to work the land. The net result of this trend is a slow transition from family farms to industrial scale units. Alongside this model a new generation of producers is returning to the area to start small scale family farms to produce a sustainable supply of natural food sources.
There also exists a strong potential to develop new sustainably-produced agricultural, livestock and silviculture products, and to market them under the 'brand' of the biosphere reserve.