CLI LAND CAPABILITY OF
THE REGINA MAP AREA,72 I
The Canada Land Inventory provides one of the most comprehensive digital map
source for resource planning and management in Canada. The area covered
by the CLI is indicated in the index map. For each of the map sheets
areas land capability is mapped at 1:250'000 scale and usually at a
1:50'000 scale. This is an example for Mapsheet 72I, Regina.
The index map
the right shows the areas mapped for land capability under the CLI.
The left image shows an example of a number of overlays displayed on
Each of the 1.250'000 scale maps has an extensive description
of the landscape ecosystem and capability perspectives. Below is an
example for the Regina map area.
Table of Contents
MAIN SOIL CHARACTERISTICS
LAND CLASSIFICATION FOR UNGULATES
The area covered by the Regina map sheet comprises about 6,100 square miles in
south-central Saskatchewan. It lies on the western edge of the Saskatchewan
Plain in the Interior Plains physiographic region. Relief differences
are minor. The highest elevations are about 1600 feet above sea level
at Last Mountain Lake and 2800 feet in the Cactus Hills of the Missouri
Coteau. The area is part of the grassland zone, but trembling aspen
is common in the northeast and in valleys.
The main subdivisions in the Saskatchewan Plain division of the Interior Plains
Region are the Regina Plain in the south, part of the Moose Mountain
upland in the east-central part, and the Qu'Appelle Plain in the northern
halt of the area. The Qu'Appelle Plain has elevations from 1600 feet
above sea level at Last Mountain Lake to 2000 feet above sea level
at its borders. The plain is gently undulating to rolling. It developed
mainly on glacial or glaciolacustrine deposits and contains a network
of meltwater channels. The streams that flow along these channels empty
into the au'Appelle River, which occupies a main meltwater channel.
The spillways that are cut 100 to 400 feet into the plain are blocked
by dams, by moraines, or as in the Qu'Appelle River valley, by alluvial
fans. The Regina Plain, which occupies most of the southern part, is
predominantly a smooth lacustrine plain, between 1800 and 2100 feet
above sea level. The Moose Mountain upland in the east-central part
is undulating to strongly rolling. It developed on glacial till and rises 200 to 300 feet above the surrounding plains.
In the southwest are parts of the Missouri Coteau and
the Old Wives Lake section of the Alberta Plateau. The Coteau, the
eastern edge of the Alberta Plateau, presents a dissected, east-facing,
steep slope to the Saskatchewan Plain and rises more than 700 feet
above it. Hummocky ground moraine provides local relief of up to 50
feet. This part of the Old Wives Lake plain is undulating and has elevations
from 2200 to 2400 feet. It developed on till deposits; local bedrock
exposures of the Upper Cretaceous Period occur.
Although mixed grass prairie covers most of the area,
small stands of trembling aspen occur in the northeastern part. In
the Qu'Appelle River valley, bur oak, American elm, green ash, Manitoba
maple, and cottonwood are found. The changes in climate and vegetation
correlate with changes in soil zones. Brown, Dark Brown, and Black
soils occur from southwest to northeast.
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The area has a cold continental climate. The winters are long and cold, and the
summers are short and fairly warm. The total annual precipitation is
low. At Regina, the mean temperatures for January and July are 1.60
F and 66.70 F. respectively; the absolute minimum and maximum temperatures
are -540 F and 1100F. The total precipitation of 15.5 inches includes
43 inches of snowfall, 4.3 inches water equivalent. Precipitation is
heaviest from May to September. Because of the small increase in precipitation
and the slight decrease in summer temperatures from southwest to northeast,
the area is divided into the semiarid southwest and a subhumid northeast.
The average frost-free period of 110 to 90 days decreases from southwest
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Most of the area is rated as Class 6 since the mainly treeless plains have a
low physical capability for recreation. The northeast face of the Dirt
Hills on the Missouri Coteau is rated as Class 4. This wooded section
has potential for viewing and picnic sites and riding and hiking trails.
The slopes are steep and long enough for skiing, but they may lack
adequate snow cover. Elsewhere, higher capability lands are confined
to the spillways and their associated waters.
The Qu'Appelle River valley has walls up to 400 feet high and is the most scenic
of the glacial spillways. The valley is well suited for riding and
walking and the tributary coulees, which are generally wooded, provide
attractive environments for camping and picnic grounds. There are several
excellent viewpoints and skiing may be possible on some of the north-facing
slopes. Eastward from Lumsden, the meadows and wooded banks of the
winding river create an attractive canoe route with few portages. Only
part of Pasqua Lake, the poorest of the four Fishing Lakes of the Qu'Appelle
River valley, is in the area. The western end of the lake is shallow
and weedy and suited mainly to the viewing and hunting of the abundant
wetland wildlife. The eastern end is better suited to boating, fishing,
and camping. The foreshore, as in the other spillway lakes, is narrow
and contained by the steep valley walls; access is often difficult.
The construction of a dam has improved Buffalo Pound Lake.
Spillway walls, especially on the northeast shore, come down to the
water, and erosion and slumping are common. Coarse materials dominate
the narrow beaches and the steep banks make access difficult. As in
many other lakes in southern Saskatchewan, the presence of algae may
affect swimming enjoyment.
Last Mountain Lake, the largest of the spillway lakes,
is 50 miles long and one mile wide. Over half of the lake is in the
area. Last Mountain Lake has a maximum depth of 100 feet and is good
for boating and angling. The lake water is of fairly good quality.
Some sand and gravel beaches have been developed as cottage subdivisions.
The lack of adequate tree cover on the spillway walls detracts from
the quality of the backshore areas. The marshy southern end of the
lake supports many shorebirds.
No other lakes in this area have high recreation capability.
Old Wives Lake is shallow, muddy, saline, and of changing size. It
has no recreation potential other than its significance as a nesting
ground for pelicans. Wascana Lake, Condie Reservoir, and the other
wetlands have similar wildlife value.
Description by Dr. J. H. Richards, Department of Geography,
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Capability classification
by D. McKay, J. H. Richards, and others.
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MAIN SOIL CHARACTERISTICS
The soils in the area are developed on lacustrine, alluvial lacustrine, alluvial
glaciofluvial, and glacial till parent materials in the Brown, Dark
Brown, and Black soil zonar. Dark Brown Chernozemic soils occupy approximately
75 percent of the area and have a capability rating ranging from Cross
2 to Class 5. There developed on fine-textured lacustrine parent materials
(Regina and Tuxford soil associations) are the most productive of this
group and are rated ar Class 2 soils, their only limitation being that
of a moderate climatic moisture deficiency. The moderately fine and
medium textured soils (Amulet, Weyburn, Elrtow, and Bradwell soil associations)
are rated as Class 3 due to a moderately severs deficiency in moisture-holding
capacity but may be reduced further due to additional limitations of
the landscape. Moderately coarse and coarse textured deposits (Asquith
and Biggar soil associations) rate are Class 4 and 5 depending on the
severity of the adverse soil characteristics.
Thin Black Chernozemic soils ore confined to the northeast part of the map sheet,
occupying about 15 percent of the map area. Soils developed on moderately
fine and fine textured lacustrine parent materials (Bolcarres and Edgeley
soil associations) are rated os Class 1 whereas soils developed on
mediumtextured deposits (Oxbow soil association) on similar landscapes
are rated or Class 2 due to a moderate deficiency in moisture-holding
The Brown soils occupy less than 2 percent of the area
and are confined to the extreme southwest corner of the map sheet surrounding
Old Wives Lake. The line and moderately fine textured soils (Sceptre
and Ardill soil associations) are generally rated as Class 3 soils
whereas the moderately coarse and coarse deposits (Hatton and Chaplin
soil associations) are Class 4 or 5 according to their degree of moisture-holding
Gleysolic soils are the most widely distributed soils
in the map sheet area, but they generally occupy less than 25 percent
of any particular area. They occur as intermittent or permanently wet
sloughs or depressions and are generally rated as Class 5 or 6 depending
on whether or not improvement practices are considered feasible.
Azonal soils characteristic of the alluvium and hillwash
complexer occupy about 10 percent of the area, occurring in association
with the main drainage channels or their adjacentfloodplains. The variable-textured
alluvial deposits (Alluvium, Caron, Wascana, and Rouleau soil associations)
have varying limitations due to wetness, structure, or salinity. Hillwash
soils are reduced to Class 5 or 6 due to adverse topography and erosion.
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Settlement of the area began with the coming of the transcontinental railway
in 1882, which saw the earlier 'Pile of Bones' crossing become the
site of the present city of Regina. It was severely retarded, and accompanied
by major abandonment of settlement, throughout the eighties and nineties
as a result of recurring year of severe drought. In 1886, colonization
settlements were established in the east and southeast of the area,
and a settlement along the south end of Last Mountain Lake was started
under the auspices of the Qu'Apelle Land Company. An influx of Ontario
settlers into the Regina-Moose Jaw area occurred in 1889, and some
settlement by United States immigrants followed the opening of the
Soo Line. The main settlement, however, did not occur until after 1900,
reaching its peak in the period up to 1906. Settlement of the southwestern,
northwestern, and northeastern parts of the area occurred somewhat
later and fill-in settlement of these parts of the area continued into
The area includes a portion of the Brown soil zone in the southwest and straddles
the Dark Brown, fringing on the Black soil zone in the northeast. Its
agriculture reflects this zonal transition or well as its brood diversity
of soil and land types. It is dominated by the large area of level
heavy clay soils commonly known as the Regina Plains in which arability
is over 90 percent, giving superb adaptation to specialized grain production.
Broken topography in the northwest end wooded cover in the northeast
reduce arability to about 70 percent, contributing to a more generol
incidence of mixed farming. In the southwestern part, in turn, additional
droughtiness, coupled with adverse topography and coarse-textured soils,
reduces arability to below 50 percent of occupied area, resulting in
a broad admixture of specialized grain farming with grain-cattle combination
and semiranching types of operations.
Wheat comprises from 70 to over 80 percent of the annual
crop acreage of municipalities of the Regina Plains and 60 to 70 percent
of the other parts. Coarse grains make up 10 to 15 percent of annual
crop in the former area, and are grown more commonly for cash sale
than for feeding on the farm. In the other areas coarse grain acreages
range from 15 to 20 percent of annual crop acreage and are more commonly
used for feed. Flax is a significant secondary crop, particularly on
the Regina Plains, and durum wheat and molting barley are also quite
widely utilized for cropping diversification. Seeded forage acreage
is generally low, ranging from 5 to 7 percent of cropland acreages
for outlaying parts and about 3 percent for the Regina Plains.
Livertock emphasis in the area includes a limited concentration
of fluid milk operations in the Regina and Moose Jaw milk sheds; a
more general incidence of mixed livestock operations in the mixed farming
area toward the east and northeast; rcattered grain-cattle combination
farming in association with the larger areas of uncultivated land in
the rougher topography towards the west and northwest and the poorer
soils along the south; and more common grain-cattle combination and
smell-scale ranch operations in the southwest. Cattle easily rank as
the dominant form of livestock; hog and poultry numbers are low throughout
The two-year cropping system is the dominant system in
the Plains port or well as throughout a large port of the remainder
of the area. Summerfallow generally exceeds 40 percent of the cropland
acreage, ranging to over 45 percent for individual municipalities of
the Regina Plains. Flexible use of second-cropping is a common practice
and regular use of the three-year cropping system is more common in
the mixed farming area towards the northeast.
Farm sizes for the area are somewhat larger than for other
parts of the Dark Brown zone but are widely dispersed and still include
a substantial part of relatively small units. Size adjustment has been
more moderate than in many other parts of the Province, most municipalities
reporting about two-thirds of their former highs of form numbers. The
droughty areas along the south and southwest have undergone more severe
adjustment, with present farm numbers ranging below 60 and down to
50 percent of former peak farm numbers.
Capability classification by J.A. Shields and J.S. Clayton
based on soil information contained in Saskatchewan Soil Survey Reports.
*Agriculture - prepared by H. Van Vliet, Head, Department
of Agricultural Economics, University of Saskatchewan.
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A mixed prairie vegetation type occurs in the semiarid southwestern and western
parts of the area, where western porcupine grass (Stipa spartea var.
curtiseta) and northern wheat grass (Agropyron dasystachyum) dominate.
On the drier sites spear grass (Stipa comata) and western wheat grass
(Agropyron smithii) are most common, whereas on clay-textured soils,
June grass (Koeleria cristata) and northern wheat grass are prevalent.
Many other forbs and shrubs occur, including pasture sage (Artemisia
frigida), silver sagebrush (Artemisia canal, western snowberry (Symphoricarpos
occidenralis), and silverberry or wolf willow (Elaeagnuscommutata).
Trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and willow (Salix spp.) are restricted
to moist, sheltered de-pressions.
The parkland or aspen grove vegetation type is found in the more humid northeastern
part of the area. Trembling aspen is usually found in pure stands,
except on poorly drained sites, where it is associated with balsam
poplar (Populus balsamifera). Rose (Rosa spp.), choke cherry (Prunus
virginiana), saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia), and occasional pin
cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) form the shrub understory, with red-osier
dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) in the moister locations.
The ungulates that are found in the area are pronghorn
antelope (Antilocapra americana), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus),
and mule deer (0. hemionus). Pronghornantelope and mule deer are restricted
for the most part to the extreme southwest in the Coteau and Old Wives
Lake areas. White-tailed deer occur throughout the area, but are concentrated
in the Moose Mountain uplandand north of the Qu'Appelle River valley.
Marsh and meadow plant species are similar for the mixed
prairie and parkland regions, except that leafy three square bulrush
(Scirpus paludosus) is more common on the mixed prairie and round stem
bulrush (S. spp.) is found more often in the parkland. Commonly occurring
plants in shallow fresh sloughs are: rushes (Neocharis palustris and
Juncus belticus), awned and beaked sedge (Carer spp.), grasses (Celamegrostis
spp., Glycerie spp., Beckmennie spp.), water plantain (allisma spp.);-and
arrowhead (Sagittaria cuneata). The more permanent fresh sloughs are
usually fringed with roundstem bulrush or whitetop (Scolochloa festucacea).
Three square bulrush is usually found on the more permanent
saline locations. Other plants commonly occurring in saline sloughs
are:wild barley (nordeum jubetum), alkali grass (Distichlis stricta),
samphire (Selicornia rubre), sea blight (Suaeda erecta), gum weed (Grindelia
squarrosa), and greasewood (Sarcobatus vermicultetus).
A wide variety of submergent aquatics occurs throughout
the sheet. Most common are: sage pondweed (Potemogeton pectinatus),
clasping leaf pondweed (P. richerdsonii), widgeon-grass (Ruppia spp.),
whitewater crowfoot (Renunculus subrigidus), milfoil (Myriophyllum
eralbescens), coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum), and bladderwort (Utriculsria
vulgaris). Two species of duckweed (Lemna spp.) are common.
The area is more important as a breeding ground for surface
feeding ducks than for divers. Common nesting dabblers are: mallard,
pintail, blue-winged teal, shoveler, gadwall, and widgeon. Diving species
which usually nest on the larger marshes are: canvasback, redhead,
ruddy, and lesser scaup. An introduced population of Canada gease nests
in Wascana Park within the Regina city limits and on Boggy Creek north
of the city. The American coot is abundant throughout the area.
Most of the area is used for the production of cereal
grains. Cattle raising is important in some locations especially in
the Missouri Coteau, which, because of topography or soil texture,
are unsuitable for cuItivation.
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The best habitat for waterfowl production for this area is found in the Wood
Mountain Upland in the northeast part. Most of this unit is rated Class
1 to 3. The main limitation is too gently undulating topography, but
aridity is important on the Dark Brown soils. The places of highest
production potential are found in undulating to rolling moranic deposits,
which have a high density of bodies of water of different types. Unfortunately,
many of the small bodies of water have been filled or drained for agricultural
purposes. Egg Lake, which was once an excellent production place and
imporTant migration stop, is now dry and farmed.
Ratings on the Assiniboine River Plain vary from Class 2 to 5. North of the Qu'Appelle
River (moraine), the most important limitations are gentle topography
and aridity, but poor water holding capacity is important on outwash
plains. South of the Qu'Appelle River (lacustrine), production is limited
chiefly by the extreme flatness of the Regina Plains and resulting
absence of bodies of water. The part of the Last Mountain Lake in this
area is limited by poor edge and depth, but is important as a migration
stop. The same is true of Buffalo Pound Lake, except for the extreme
northeast end, which has excellent production potential.
The Missouri Coteau is highly productive in consecutive
wet years, but has Been rated down because of its susceptibility to
drought. Steep topography, which limits edge development, is another
important limitation. Bodies of water on outwash plains in this locality
are usually limited by salinity. Old Wives Lake has poor edge development
and is limited by salinity. It is important, however, as a migration
area, although it is subject to botulism outbreaks. Frederick Lake
is too saline for waterfowl use, at least at its present level.
The main river and creek systems (Qu'Appalle and Souris
rivers, Moose Jaw and Wascana creeks), have good production potential.
All are sluggish, fertile systems and are limited chiefly by their
uniformity of habitat and distance from other water areas.
Capability classification by R. E. G. Murray end C. A.
Matthews, Canadian Wildlife Service.
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LAND CLASSIFICATION FOR UNGULATES
The lacustrine and morainic lands south of the Qu'Appelle River, excluding the
Moose Mountain upland to the east, comprise about 60 percent of the
area and have a low capability for ungulates. These lands were rated
Classes 5 and 6 with topography the main limiting factor. Where the
topography is rougher, aridity is the dominant limiting factor.
North of the Qu'Appelle River valley, the glacial till and glaciofluvial plains,
which together comprise about 30 percent of the area, were rated Class
2 to Class 5 for deer, with Class 3 the most common rating. East of
Last Mountain Lake extensive lands consisting of Oxbow soils were rated
Class 2. The Moose Mountain upland, which occupies the rest of the
area, was rated mainly Class 3 for deer, with isolated units of Class
2 and Class 4. The upland, a morainic till plain, has a landform limitation
The Qu'Appelle River valley contains critical deer wintering
habitat. Southfacing slopes were generally rated as Class 3 deer winter
range with an exposure limitation. The valley bottom was rated as Class
3 winter range with inundation and landform limitations. North-facing
slopes were rated Class 2 winter range for deer with a landform limitation.
Small areas of wintering habitat were also mapped along Buffalo Pound
Lake and Last Mountain Lake.
Extensive agriculture and the limited wildlife habitat
restrict ungulate-based outdoor recreation in the area. Because of
the high human population and good accessibility in the area, the ungulate
harvest is at or near its maximum potential.
Capability classification by T. W. Rock and K. R. Scheelhaase,
Fisheries and Wildlife Branch, Saskatchewan Department of Natural
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Thie, Ecoinformatics International Inc.