Wildlife conservation efforts by Maple Creek volunteers have been recognized.
Ron Schaal, a member of Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation Maple Creek Fish and Game League for more than 48 years, received the Clayton Young Memorial Award for lifetime volunteerism.
The award is presented annually to an individual from each of the SWF’s six regions who fulfills the federation’s mission to “ensure the wild life legacy we leave to our children surpasses that which we inherited”.
A Loch Leven spawning bed project also merited recognition for the Maple Creek Fish & Game League. The Ed Begin Conservation Project Award goes to an affiliate SWF branch for the most outstanding fish or wildlife habitat project completed in the past year.
As well as a plaque, the winning branch receives a $500 grant.
Normally, the awards are presented at the wildlife federation’s annual convention, but because of COVID-19 the gatherings have been held virtually.
Schaal was handed his award by Trent Empey, another Maple Creek volunteer from the federation.
“It’s a great honour to receive it,” he said.
He also accepted the conservation project award from Empey on behalf of the branch.
Schaal’s name had been submitted for consideration for the Clayton Young Memorial Award by the executive of the Maple Creek Fish & Game League.
The submission is printed in full in a separate piece.
The conservation project award relates to the replacement of a brook trout spawning bed near the gazebo at Loch Leven in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.
The old bed had outlived its usefulness, with a build-up of algae disrupting water flow and discouraging spawning.
In October, 2021, wildlife conservationists removed the old bed and replaced it during a lengthy operation that required 120 feet of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) construction tubing, a pile of clean stone, a bobcat, a crane, and a paddle boat.
Four Maple Creek volunteers from SWFT took part: Schaal, Empey, Murray Bartole, and Howard Harder.
Also involved were James Villeneuve, Moose Jaw-based director of fisheries with Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, and Nick Elmslie and Roy Daul, from Swift Current’s Bacoda Crane & Oilfield Ltd; these two were the only non-volunteers.
The project came under a Fisheries Enhancement Agreement, featuring a partnership between the Ministry of Environment and the SWF.
The wildlife federation and Maple Creek Fish & Game League had installed the first bed in 1998 with the Ministry of Environment.
Schaal, who installed the original bed, said it would be interesting to visit the site in the spring or September to seek the brook trout.