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Nature Conservation and Restoration

We argue that the national urban park program should aim to not only conserve existing natural areas but also, and perhaps more importantly, to heal damaged land by restoring ecologically strategic but degraded sites. Our proposal would preserve most established natural areas in the city centre and restore more than fourteen hectares of former industrial lands, adding 85,000 new trees in the process. It would protect 10 kilometres of waterways and repair habitat connectivity between the Red, Seine, and Assiniboine river corridors.


All regional habitats are represented in the proposed park area, including river bottom forest, wetland, Bur oak forest, aspen forest, and grasslands.

The Seine River corridor provides some of the most biologically diverse conditions in the Winnipeg region, with 24 mammal species, 149 bird species, 25 fish species, plus amphibians and reptiles, as well as 180 different plants inventoried so far. The Seine River corridor is also an important habitat for migratory birds. The environmental restoration efforts in Point Douglas and along the Red River would further extend this natural ecosystems by widening and repairing the riparian corridors. (Photos; Denis DePape)

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Photos; Denis DePape

Existing Natural Areas

Inventoried municipal natural areas protected by the proposed park.


The restoration of industrial sites can also make a meaningful contribution to Winnipeg’s ecological resilience by increasing urban forest canopy coverage and improving habitat patch size and connectivity in the city centre. 

By adopting a site remediation and restoration mandate, we believe that the national urban parks program can improve community health while augmenting natural areas in ecologically strategic urban locations. This approach is consistent with governmental initiatives such as the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, the Bonn Challenge of restoring 350 million hectares of damaged land by 2030; Canada’s 2 billion trees by 2030 initiative; and Winnipeg’s own goals of planting 1,000,000 trees by 2040 and increasing municipal canopy coverage to 24% by 2065. 

Spontaneous naturalization of abandoned industrial sites in Point Douglas.

Typical mixed quaking aspen, Bur oak, and white spruce forest, at about 25 years of maturity.

Modeling of environmental naturalization in Point Douglas over the next 75 years.

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