Saskatchewan River Delta (2009)

(Documentary, 60 minutes)

Saskatchewan River Delta explores this vast region in four seasons from the perspectives of culture, science, and nature.  Traveling by air, ground, and water with the many people who live and work there, we visit Canada’s largest inland delta – one of the largest unbroken wetlands left on Earth. 

Double Gemini Award Nominee
(Best Photography in a Documentary Program or Series; 
Best Sound in a Documentary Program or Series)

Canada’s Saskatchewan River Delta and its wetlands cover nearly 10,000 square kilometers in east-central Saskatchewan and west-central Manitoba, making it the largest inland delta in North America. This region also represents one of the largest unbroken wetlands on earth. In yet another context, this Delta is larger that of the Florida Everglades National Park but has no official environment protection.

As a remote wilderness, and home to one of western Canada’s oldest settlements, the delta continues to provide a traditional lifestyle to a few. We observe trappers using time-honoured methods, catch a ride across a wintry landscape on a dog sled, and talk to fishers about the endangered Lake Sturgeon. An educator valiantly works to teach her Cree language and traditions to cell-phone-carrying, tech-savvy students. Traditions are disappearing, but these remaining few struggle to keep their ancestor’s traditions alive.

A complex and varied ecosystem, the Saskatchewan River Delta is home to endangered and threatened species including the prehistoric Lake Sturgeon.  Its wetlands are the nesting and transitory habitat for over two hundred bird species. Of the millions of birds that come to the delta, some, such as the Ring-billed, Redhead and Canvasback ducks, are in numbers so large as to be considered globally significant.

The size, age, and geological features of this Delta are of particular importance to Scientists from around the world, who describe the Saskatchewan River Delta as “an unparalleled natural laboratory for studying rivers and their deposits and their behaviour.”

Considering the continuing and rapid loss of wetlands throughout the world, the Saskatchewan River Delta is an area in need of attention.

This documentary takes us into Canada’s largest inland delta through the eyes of the Métis and First Nations people who make the area their home, with the scientists who come from around the world to study here, and from the marsh and its creatures themselves. Our cameras focus on personal stories, on hard science, and on the awesome natural surroundings. The documentary is both a comment on humanity’s connection to nature, and a detailed visual study of a rarely seen fragile ecosystem that without action could easily be lost.