Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems

Natural elements of the SEAWA watershed include:

Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), a sensitive species in Alberta

Diverse wildlife habitats are provided by coulees and draws, cliffs and hoodoos, rivers and creeks, lakes and reservoirs, irrigation canals, riparian areas, wetlands, and the semi-arid native prairie or grassland.

Historically, the vast majority of land in the watershed was once native prairie. Unfortunately, only a very small portion of this land remains as native grassland, due to agricultural development, urbanization, and oil and gas production. In Alberta, it is estimated that only 43% of native grassland remains intact, with much of this being located in the southeastern corner of the province. This area is also home to the majority of Alberta's species at risk, making it a crucial region for conservation and restoration.

Biodiversity monitoring and ecological surveys are vitally important to keep track of the status of native plant and animal populations.

Below are some links to more information about conservation, species at risk, and biodiversity monitoring:

Great Basin Calicoflower (Downingia laeta), a rare plant in Alberta


Species at Risk in South East Alberta (449.77 KB)

Government of Alberta:

Government of Canada:

Municipal Governments:


A Case for Protecting Native Grasslands - Society of Grasslands Naturalists (2.25 MB)