Saturday, March 29, 2014
United Way Building, 1440 Scarth St, Regina, SK
Topics to be discussed re the former PFRA Community Pastures: the process of transfer from the federal to provincial government, the effects on the cattle producers who use the pastures and their communities, the effects on species at risk and habitat protection, oil and gas developments on the pastures, First Nations concerns and protecting heritage sites on the pastures.
1:00 Welcome & Introductions
Opening Prayer and Welcome from Treaty Four
− Oil and gas developments and the community pastures (Dr. Emily Eaton)
− Pasture transfer process (Ian McCreary, Community Pasture Patrons Association of Saskatchewan)
− Preserving heritage sites on the pastures (Tentative)
2:20 Report on past year and updates on recent developments
2:50 PPPI Financial Report
3:00 Election of PPPI Board
3:10 Objectives and Actions for 2014-2015
4:15 Other Business
E-mail: public4pastures (at) gmail.com
SASKATCHEWAN GRASSLANDS: WHY WE MUST PROTECT OUR REMAINING NATURAL PRAIRIE AND HOW
FEATURING TREVOR HERRIOT
THURSDAY MARCH 13, 7 pm
ST. MARKS LUTHERAN CHURCH HALL, 3510 QUEEN STREET
Saskatchewan’s grasslands are among the most endangered and human altered ecosystems in the world. Join us on March 13th to discuss and ask questions on:
- Preservation of Saskatchewan’s community pastures and grasslands
- How modern agriculture and oil and gas activity affects grasslands
- Our complicity in habitat erosion and species extinction
- The choices we all face
Much of what is left of Saskatchewan grasslands is found in community pastures. The federal government recently moved to shut down these pastures. Farmers, conservationists, ranchers and communities are demanding the government act to save key pastures. On Thursday March 13th, we invite you to learn why preserving our remaining grasslands is essential, and how to do it, as well as to discuss broader topics of sustainability, human choice, and the path forward.
The Vancouver Sun follows up on their January 30 article about management of the pastures, with a consideration of First Nations concerns.
“As management of five federally run Saskatchewan pastures is transferred to the province next month, some aboriginal groups who use and have lived on the land say they’re worried about the fate of historic First Nations sites and their ability to purchase the land in the future.“The consultation was zero to nil,” said former Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations chief Roland Crowe of the land transfer.”
Question raised January 30, 2014 in House of Commons Question Period by Linda Duncan, MP.
“Saskatchewan community pastures delivered a model partnership for over 80 years, sustaining small ranches and critical habitat for threatened species. Incredulously, the Conservative government responded by shutting them down. Farmers, conservationists, ranches and communities are demanding the government act to save the key pastures.
Will the Minister of the Environment commit today to intervene and establish a national wildlife area as a model for sustainable farming and wildlife protection?”
See this page for video of the question and the response from federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
Importance of Federal PFRA Management in Mitigating Oil and Gas Impacts: Factsheet, produced by Dr. Emily Eaton and PPPI, is now online, under the “Resources” tab. From the factsheet:
“The PFRA pastures have been described as a “hidden park system” where some of our largest and healthiest remaining tracts of grassland are conserved. Yet these lands are still open to mineral development. The grassland ecosystems of many of the PRFA pastures have been compromised – many pastures already suffer serious environmental consequences from the proliferation of oil and gas wells, flow-lines, pipelines and access roads. This has occurred in spite of federal environmental protections and the efforts of dedicated PFRA staff monitoring oil and gas activity….
Additional provisions restricting operation and development resulting from non-compliance would be beneficial in the Surface Leasing Agreements. But to be of any value, these provisions and the current regulatory tools of the Saskatchewan Ministries of Agriculture, Environment and Economy need to be made more effective through inspection (which is currently infrequent) and enforcement.”
Argued by Andrea Olive, in the Star-Phoenix:
“In a mail survey I conducted of residents in Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current and Moose Jaw, I learned that 95 per cent of respondents felt that it is important for human beings to protect other species. More importantly, 70 per cent of respondents thought it is not OK to let other species go extinct because of human activities.
I infer from this that the majority of people in Saskatchewan feel that the greater sage grouse should not be allowed to go extinct in Canada for the sake of the oil and gas industry. If Premier Brad Wall does not want to listen to experts or environmentalists, he should at least listen to the people of Saskatchewan.”
The Vancouver Sun has picked up on the community pasture issue. Protected grassland faces uncertain future.
“Largely, it’s going to be very, very difficult under patron governance to replicate the environmental stewardship,” said Ian McCreary, chair of the Community Pasture Patrons Association of Saskatchewan, which represents the users of most of the province’s community pastures.
He said increased fees and management responsibility could cause some fields to fail altogether and that farmers in fields that survive may try to take on the manager’s role themselves to save money.
Both scenarios could be hugely detrimental to the grasslands, Herriot said. Fields left ungrazed become derelict and cattle farmers managing the fields themselves won’t be able to provide the land with the protection it needs.
Illustrated talk “Saskatchewan Grasslands – a Vanishing Landscape?”
Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2 pm
Frances Morrison Public Library in Saskatoon, 311 – 23rd Street East
Temperate grasslands are one of the most altered and modified landscapes in the world. Recent economic and social changes in the Prairie Provinces are driving a rapid shift in the type of land use, with industrial agriculture and development negatively impacting the remaining prairie habitat. Join Saskatoon photographer Dr. Branimir Gjetvaj on a journey of discovery of our diminishing prairie landscapes.
For more information visit: http://branimirphoto.ca/public-presentations-and-shows
In the last post, concerns about pasture transitions were raised. Minister of Agriculture Lyle Stewart assures Western Producer readers that the transitions are on schedule in this article.
““The Dec. 1 date for signing is not set in stone,” he said in response to a news release from the Community Pasture Patrons Association of Saskatchewan (CPPAS), which said the deadline had come and gone without formal agreements.
Rather, he said it was a target to en-sure patrons were working toward developing their plans and that the first 10 were ready to go for 2014.
…”However, there are a couple of outstanding issues.
One is the matter of non-reversionary land, which is land in some of the pastures, including several of the first 10, that does not automatically revert to the province. It represents five percent of the federal land and is owned by the agriculture, environment and defence departments.
Stewart said an agreement between Ottawa and Regina to swap land to accommodate the non-reversionary land fell through after other departments stepped in and said a formal process had to be followed.
Trevor Herriot sums up the problem: “The Federal Government has been changing its mind on the terms of transferring the PFRA pasture lands month by month and week by week, making it next to impossible for Saskatchewan Agriculture and the first five community pastures to come to any kind of agreement on how the lands should be transferred and leased. The latest talks broke down a few days ago because the Province and Ag Canada could not agree on how the federal lands on each pasture should be handled.”
The Southwest Booster covers it here: Patron frustration and uncertainty grows as imposed deadline passes.