CTV news spent some time covering the PPPI AGM. Video:
The Leader-Post interviewed Branimir Gjetvaj, who will be presenting his prairie photos in a talk entitled “Saskatchewan Grasslands — a Vanishing Landscape” at the Royal Sask Museum on Friday night at 7 pm. Article here.
“My goal is, as a photographer, as a visual artist, to show people what we have,” he said, “and then in my talk, show what are the threats and what could happen to those lands if we don’t tread smartly, if we don’t plan ahead, if we’re kind of just running for the quick profit, short-term goal and not seeing long-term.”
Two recent articles about the pasture patrons:
- Star-Phoenix coverage of the Brant Kirychuk talk advertised in a previous post: Patrons key to pasture transfers, says Ag manager
“This is a huge, complex undertaking,” said Brant Kirychuk of Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, who gave an update on the pastures during a recent talk at the University of Saskatchewan, as part of the Native Prairie Speaker Series. Kirychuk said patrons are key to the transition.
“They are the ones most affected. They are the ones that have to put the work in to develop the business model that works for them.” The first 10 pastures are being leased to patron organizations.
Kirychuk heard from a number of citizens concerned about how the organizations will be able to afford managing the land and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
- Portage Online claims that Sask Pasture Patrons Envy Manitoba Community Pasture Setup
SCPPA [sic] Chair Ian McCreary says based on Manitoba’s program, Saskatchewan cattle producers are at a disadvantage.
“Patrons in Manitoba will be coming in with grazing costs around 85 cents a day and they won’t have to put money up front. They’ll have service similar to what they’ve experienced in the past and they’re pretty much ready to go,” he says. “That’s pretty attractive for our members and we feel some of those components that could be drawn out for Saskatchewan.”
The Western Producer has interviewed ranchers about the federal Protection Order for the greater sage grouse. This article, Protection order sparks fear among ranchers, shows some of the fears and misunderstanding out there.
[Rancher Hargrave] does not accept habitat loss as the primary reason the birds are disappearing. The greater threats to the birds are predators such as coyotes and hawks and diseases such as West Nile virus, she added.
Hargrave believes the federal government came under pressure and agreed to the emergency protection order when conservation groups, took the issue to court. A federal court judge ruled that government cannot ignore the critical habitat needs of species at risk.
So far, we have a commitment of millions of dollars to let the Calgary Zoo try captive breeding of the birds, and ranchers all over south-eastern Alberta and south-western Saskatchewan severely ticked off and feeling like the government and conservation groups never listen to them. [...]
To be clear, the conservation community was as surprised as the ranchers have been over the approach that Environment Canada has taken. And most people concerned about the species are wondering why the lion’s share of the money seems to be going to a zoo for captive breeding.
The Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan’s next talk in their Native Prairie Speaker Series features Brant Kirychuk, SK Ministry of Agriculture, giving a Federal Community Pasture Update.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
12:10 pm, Saskatoon, SK
Room 1039, Education Building, University of Saskatchewan (28 Campus Drive)
Folks from other parts of the province can still take it in: the presentation will be broadcast live at www.ustream.tv/channel/native-prairie-speaker-series.
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 (Tomasin Playford)
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.”