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Manitoba Lowlands


Manitoba Lowlands


Long Point
Long Point
© Parks Canada

A WILDERNESS OF WATER

A diversity of landscapes and life - checkerboard wheat fields growing on gently rolling plains, river valleys burnished copper in fall with bur oak, buttery-green rolling meadows, sweeping sand beaches, broad shallow lakes and some of the most productive fresh-water marshes in North America.

THE LAND:

This region is more than one-half covered by water - huge, shallow lakes, potholes, ponds and vast cattail marshes. These are the legacy of an immense glacial lake, Lake Agasiz, that once covered most of the area. Today, ridges of sand and gravel marking ancient beaches and shorelines separate the lakes and meander gracefully across the land. Underlain by flat beds of sedimentary rock, the uniform topography of this region is a product of the last glaciation - scoured by ice and smoothed by the deposition of sediments from ancient glacial meltwater lakes.

VEGETATION:

This region supports a diversity of vegetation, from spruce forest to prairie. The northern two-thirds of the region is a wilderness of spruce: white spruce mixed with birch and aspen on the better drained sites; black spruce mixed with tamarack on the wetter sites. A groveland dominated by burr-oak and aspen mixed with open prairie forms a broad transition to the true tall-grass prairie of the southern extremities of the region. A small remnant of tall-grass prairie, one of the few left in existence, is located in the city of Winnipeg and managed as the Living Prairie Museum. Vast areas of the region are covered by cattail marshes.

WILDLIFE:


The spruce forests are inhabited by moose, black bear and sharp-tailed grouse, while the burr-oak groves and prairies are frequented by wildlife more typical of the prairies - white-tailed deer, coyote, and Franklin's and thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Bison, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk and wolf thrived here in the recent past.

Coyote
Coyote
© Parks Canada

Eared Grebe
Eared Greb
© Parks Canada

The extensive marshes of this region are critical nesting and staging areas for a myriad of birds, especially waterfowl. Delta Marsh, North America's largest fresh-water marsh, remains in a relatively undisturbed state. Winter denning sites for thousands of garter snakes are found along the limestone outcrops on the west side of Lake Winnipeg.

The shallow lakes covering much of this region support an abundance and diversity of fish species, as well as a thriving commercial and sport fishing industry. Over 70 species have been recorded, with pike, whitefish, sauger and walleye the most important commercial species.


National Parks System Plan, 3rd Edition

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