Benito-area grain grower John Sandborn recently donated 58.5 acres of pristine woodland habitat to the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) under a conservation agreement. The agreement will protect habitat forever. The Swan Lake Watershed District partnered with John and MHHC to facilitate the signing of the conservation agreement. The mixed conifer and deciduous forest is located south of Benito on the northern slope of the Duck Mountains. It is home to many birds and animals, including deer, moose, elk, bears, lynxes, wolves, and sometimes cougars.
âI initially visited Swan Lake Watershed District Director Stephanie Reid in their Swan River office to get information on a pollinator program,â said landowner John Sandborn. âI wanted to increase pollination and the yields of the crops I grow. While I was there, StÃ©phanie told me about the MHHC Conservation Agreement (CA) program to protect wildlife habitat.
The Watershed District Board supports the Conservation Agreement program as it helps them meet the habitat goals set out in their Integrated Watershed Plan, âsaid Edward Shao, Acting Director of the Swan Lake Watershed. âThe partnership with MHHC helps the board to take positive steps towards environmental management and sustainability in the watershed. ”
“The agreement to protect habitat would not have happened without the Swan Lake Watershed District,” said John Sandborn. âThe staff had all the information; they explained the process and what to expect. They made it easier for me. It turned out that my goals and those of the MHHC and the Watershed District were the same.
“The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation is pleased to partner with Manitoba’s River Basin Districts to conserve fish and wildlife habitat through voluntary agreements with landowners,” said Roy Bullion, Conservation Specialist. MHHC. âWe have the administrative capacity and conservation easement expertise to help support local watershed councils and their landowners. “
âWith donations from conservation agreements, there is almost always a sentimental bond between a land and a family,â said Curtis Hullick, MHHC Field Officer. âOften there is a desire to leave an area of ââwildlife habitat in its natural state as a legacy. One of the advantages of habitat donations is that MHHC can provide a tax receipt to the landowner for the value of the habitat. A given conservation agreement protects habitat in perpetuity through an easement registered to title to the land. The land itself remains in private property.
âMy Swedish grandfather, Johan Sundbom, ran the farm in 1910,â said John Sandborn. âThree generations of Sandborns have retained the 58.5 acres of forest habitat in their natural state. I got to know this property well by tending to my trapline when I was in elementary school. I feel good protecting the habitat of birds and animals in perpetuity. It gives me great pleasure to know that my niece, who will inherit the property, fully supports the conservation agreement.