Minister's Response

Date: December 13, 2019


Smith Creek Regional Watershed Association Board, Blackbird Creek Conservation and Development Area Authority, and a group of landowners holding property within the area are proposing to expand an existing drainage network within the upper Blackbird Creek watershed for the diversion of surface water from agricultural lands. Located approximately 50 kilometres east of Yorkton, Saskatchewan, the project would operate indefinitely and facilitate the diversion of an additional 235,092 cubic metres of water per year, approximately a 20 percent increase in capacity of the existing network.


Non-designated project.


The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has considered the potential for the project to cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction, adverse direct or incidental effects, public concern related to these effects, as well as adverse impacts on the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The Minister also considered the analysis of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

The Minister has reached the decision that the designation of the Project is unwarranted for the following reasons:

  • the regulatory review processes that currently apply to the Project and related consultations with Indigenous Peoples provide a robust framework to address the potential adverse aforementioned effects and concerns raised by Indigenous Peoples and members of the public. This includes:
    • licences, permits and approvals required for the Project pursuant to the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency Act, Water Security Agency Regulations, and Agricultural Water Management Strategy sets requirements to ensure that environmental effects are localized and mitigated within provincial jurisdiction;
    • Saskatchewan Water Security Agency's Drainage Application and Options for Obtaining Land Control on First Nations Land Policy; and
    • Interprovincial memorandum of understanding and agreements between Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Government of Canada;
  • the Project must comply with relevant provisions of federal legislation, including the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Species at Risk Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.

Document Reference Number: 1

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