Pope National Wildlife Area Water Control Structure Renaturalization Project

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is proposing to breach a water control structure and re-naturalize the upstream wetland basins within the Pope National Wildlife Area (NWA). This project currently affects wetland and upland management with one (1) water control structure controlling water levels and conveyance throughout the complex.

The Pope National Wildlife Area is administered under the Wildlife Area Regulations of the Canada Wildlife Act. The 30 hectare National Wildlife Area contains approximately 16 hectares of freshwater wetlands. The water control dam was built by Canadian National Railway in 1926 to hold back water for refilling steam engines. Ducks Unlimited Canada was given control of the area to manage it for wildlife 1967.  Due to its age, the earthen dam and water control structure has deteriorated and soon will not be able to maintain water levels within this wetland. 

The scope of this project includes:

  • Breach of earthen dam, including controlled drawdown of water to natural (pre-dam) levels, resulting in a roughly 3.25 hectare remaining freshwater wetland after the work is complete.
  • Reclamation of surfaces exposed during the breach using fully photodegradable erosion control blankets and an appropriate seed mix.
  • Re-vegetation with native plant species of upland and wetland habitats that were formerly underwater prior to the dam breach.

This work will disturb the current vegetation. 

The proposed work will be completed in mid-summer 2024. Water drawdown will begin after July 15 to leave the area undisturbed during the migratory bird breeding season. Any disturbance to migratory birds and other wildlife will be minimal. All exposed soil surfaces will be seeded with suitable grass species and other riparian species in the fall 2024 and spring 2025.


Latest update

September 1, 2023 - The public comment period on the project is closed. The Canadian Wildlife Service is considering comments received to help inform its determination on whether the carrying out of the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
1 Notice of Intent to Make a Determination - Start of Public Comment Period - April 24, 2023


Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Jeffrey Harder, Protected Areas Specialist
115 Perimeter Road
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 0X4
Telephone: 306-241-0411
Email: jeffrey.harder@ec.gc.ca

  • Location

    • Pope National Wildlife Area (Manitoba)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Dams and reservoirs
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Ducks Unlimited Canada
  • Authorities

    • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.

Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
Date modified: