Saskatoon's green network is the collection of green spaces and other "green infrastructure" found on public land in the city. It includes natural areas, parks, the urban forest, and smaller features such as bioswales and community gardens. Considering natural systems as a network rather than separate components helps the City manage and improve overall green space in the city.
The City's 2022-2025 Strategic Plan includes the following key actions within the Recreation, Culture and Leisure, and Environmental Sustainability priority areas:
- Develop asset management plans for key recreation infrastructure and equipment and incorporate green infrastructure and natural assets into existing asset management plans for parks.
- Implement actions in the Green Infrastructure Strategy and Implementation Plan within proposed timelines.
- Develop proactive policies, strategies and practices to ensure the environment is protected from damage and, where possible, ecosystems are enhanced.
Where are we now?
The green network analysis completed in 2019, found that Saskatoon's green network comprises 11,150 hectares or almost half of the city's footprint. This includes 3,068 hectares of natural areas (grasslands, wetlands, forest/shrubland); 2,185 hectares of parks, green spaces, and rights-of-way; and an average of 10% tree canopy across the city.
What Are We Doing?
The Green Infrastructure Strategy was received by City Council in 2020, and lays out the vision for a green network that provides sustainable habitat for people and nature. The holistic green network considers natural, enhanced, and engineered green infrastructure, which as a system provides far more effective services when considered together than when apart. Nature-based solutions help Saskatoon sequester carbon and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Monitoring the Green Network
Through the Green Infrastructure Strategy, we are starting to monitor the status of the green network, including its overall quality, connectivity, and whether it's distributed equitably throughout the city. For example, the distribution of park space and the urban forest across neighbourhoods has been mapped. This allows us to consider which area of the city need to be prioritized for new green infrastructure.
We are also beginning to track the overall quality of the green network, particularly at natural areas in partnership with the Parks Department and Meewasin Valley Authority. For example, Meewasin recently published a Valley-wide Monitoring Framework that lays the groundwork for ecological monitoring of Saskatoon and region's natural areas.
What Can You Do?
- Get out and enjoy all the spaces the green network has to offer including parks, natural areas, and the Meewasin trails. Remember to respect all signage in parks and natural areas including cleaning up your litter and pet waste. This helps keep the network green and healthy.
- Consider becoming a citizen scientist and helping the City and partners monitor biodiversity in Saskatoon. Meewasin often has opportunities listed on its website.
- Consider adding 'green infrastructure' to your own yard. The City's Healthy Yards program has some tips to managing storm water and encouraging biodiversity in your yard and other sites. Check out the Healthy Yards webpage for tips and how-to guides.
Did You Know?
Saskatoon is home to a diversity of wildlife including 70 COSEWIC-ranked species, and species of concern such as Piping Plover, Monarch Butterflies, and Northern Leopard Frogs. Sources: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and Meewasin Valley Authority's most recent State of the Valley 2014-2018 report.