People passionate about nature

Environmental Stewardship Successes! – Manitoba IBA Program

Over the fall, the Manitoba Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program organized three stewardship events with the goal of protecting and restoring valuable freshwater habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Purple Loosestrife Pull at Oak Hammock Marsh IBA

Our first event was a Purple Loosestrife Pull at Oak Hammock Marsh IBA on September 5. Usually, the IBA program organizes annual weed pulls at the Riverton Sandy Bar IBA. This year, because of the high water levels, the Sandy Bar was underwater. Instead, we decided to focus our efforts on a newly-discovered patch of Purple Loosestrife in the Oak Hammock Marsh IBA (

Purple loosestrife is an invasive plant that is commonly found in wetlands and ditches. You may have noticed a lot of Purple Loosestrife near Winnipeg last summer – the wet conditions were ideal for this plant’s growth. Purple loosestrife outcompetes native plant species, which damages the ecosystem and reduces habitat and food available for wildlife. Purple loosestrife can be identified by its striking pink or purple flowers, square stems and opposite or whorled leaves. Thanks to a group of 6 wonderful volunteers, we were able to remove large amounts of purple loosestrife from Oak Hammock IBA.

Photo: Purple Loosestrife at Oak Hammock Marsh IBA.


Photo: Volunteers Ward and Marlene removing Purple Loosestrife.


Shoreline clean-up at Delta Beach

Our second stewardship event of the year was a shoreline clean-up on October 22nd at Delta Beach, which is within Delta Marsh IBA ( The forecast was calling for a rainy afternoon, but the conditions ended up being perfect – sunny skies and relatively warm weather, especially for the end of October in Manitoba!

A group of 13 of us spent the afternoon cleaning the beach, picking up litter as well as abandoned fishing line and nets. The shoreline and adjacent waters were alive with bird activity, which was certainly an added treat. Cal Cuthbert even helped some a few volunteers who were new to birding identify some shorebirds through his scope. Some of the species observed throughout the day included a Great Egret, Black-bellied Plovers, Long-billed Dowitchers, Bonaparte’s Gulls, and Rusty Blackbirds.

Photo: Volunteer Enid holding up debris found on Delta Beach.


Photo: Cal and Bob observing some shorebirds.


Photo: The wonderful group (missing a few) at the Delta Beach clean-up.


Shoreline clean-up in Lockport

Our third and final stewardship event of 2022 was another shoreline clean-up on October 23rd in Lockport. While Lockport is not within an IBA, it is a popular fishing location on the Red River. Lockport provided a great, more accessible opportunity for folks to get involved near Winnipeg while cleaning the shores of a river which flows into Lake Winnipeg (which is connected to multiple IBAs). Once again, the weather cooperated – although it was quite windy, the rain stayed away.

Our group of 16 worked hard and managed to pick up multiple bags full of various litter. One of the main types of debris we encountered was fishing line. Though often difficult to see at first glance, improperly discarded fishing line is quite detrimental to the environment and can entangle birds and other wildlife. This event was a great reminder to leave no trace by always picking up litter and recycling fishing line whenever possible! If you want to learn more about how to dispose of or recycle fishing gear, more information can be found here:

Photo: Volunteers hard at work in Lockport.


Photo: The amazing Lockport group (missing a few) posing with a portion of our clean-up haul. Photo taken by Kelsey Bell


These stewardship events were possible due to funding from EcoAction (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
We look forward to organizing more stewardship events in 2023! None of these events would be possible without the help of our incredible volunteers. There are lots of volunteer opportunities with the Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program, from stewardship events to bird blitzes to IBA caretaker roles. If you are interested in getting involved, please email

Photos by Marissa Berard unless otherwise noted

Article by Marissa Berard