Sask Government Survey on Provincial Pastures

10 Apr
In its March 22, 2017 budget the Saskatchewan government announced they would end the provincial pastures program and sell the land. Please write the Premier and fill out Sask Agriculture’s survey.
Sask Agriculture Pasture Land Consultation
They are doing a consultation with invitational meetings and an online survey. The survey is located here
You will notice that the survey is biased and doesn’t ask the basic question – Do you want the pastures sold? People need to make it clear they are in favour of retaining the pastures as public lands.
 
There are three spots in the survey where you can fill in your thoughts. This could include these points:
 
– Keep the provincial pastures as public lands – this is a top priority
 
– Express strong opposition to subdividing the pastures whether publicly or privately owned.
 
There is no urgency or economic advantage to dispose of the provincial pastures program. Delay the decision for an additional year to give more time for a proper inquiry into options.
 
– Sponsor a fully independent review of the ecological, agro-economic, and cultural effects of changes to the PFRA and provincial pastures systems.
 
Let them know 
Write, e-mail, fax  or phone the Premier and cc the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Agriculture
 
In addition to the points above  say why the pastures are valuable to you and society as a whole, such as: habitat for conserving native flora and fauna especially Species at Risk, soil and water conservation, carbon sequestration, public access for recreation and research, accommodating sustainable livestock grazing while conserving habitat.
Premier Brad Wall
Telephone 306-787-9433
FAX 306-787-0885
Mailing Address: Room 226, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
Email Address: 
premier@gov.sk.ca

 

Hon. Scott Moe, Minister of the Environment
Telephone: 306-787-0393
FAX: 306-787-1669
Mailing Address: Room 345, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
Email Address: 
env.minister@gov.sk.ca

 

Hon. Lyle Stewart, Minister of Agriculture
Telephone:306-787-0338
FAX: 306-787-0630
Mailing Address: Room 334, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
Email Address: minister.ag@gov.sk.ca

Saskatchewan Community Pastures Program to End

27 Mar

The Leader-Post covers the issue here.

The plan, announced in the provincial budget, is to phase the provincial pasture program out over three years, with 2017 being the last year it fully operates. The program includes 51 pastures operating on 780,000 acres of land.

PPPI Co-Chair Trevor Herriot was interviewed by the CBC on the potential impacts on prairie conservation.

When you privatize public conservation land, you’re severely weakening your ability to create and enforce laws, policies, regulations, if you want to meet prairie for sustainable grassland management. There’s a lot of public interest in these lands

There will be consultations made for the future management of the land with the public, stakeholders, First Nations and Metis communities. An online survey will be available online at www.saskatchewan.ca/pastures from March 27 to May 8.

Official Parliamentary Petition – Take Action!

12 Mar

As a result of recent developments in Ottawa and in the national media, PPPI has launched an official parliamentary petition to Hon. Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, calling on her to work with livestock producers, First Nations and Métis organizations, local committees and conservation organizations to create a multi-use prairie conservation network on all former PFRA Community Pastures.

Please fill out and share this petition with others before July 6th when it closes. Already it is garnering support across Canada  – we need 500 signatures in order for final certification.

https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-927 

Grasslands are the most endangered, the most altered and yet the least protected ecosystem on the planet. The Community Pastures in Saskatchewan contain some of the largest, best managed and biodiverse rich blocks of remaining native grasslands in North America.  A conservation network will not only protect our grasslands but support Canada’s biodiversity Target 1 to protect 17% of all terrestrial areas and inland water. http://www.conservation2020canada.ca/pathway/

A Chance to Take Action – Pastures on the Federal Government Radar

1 Mar
Recently the future of community pastures was raised in the House of Commons, with a question by Wayne Stetski, NDP and a response by Hon. Catherine McKenna, Liberal, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. (See the post on this page from February 22)
The CBC subsequently interviewed Trevor Herriot and Mert Taylor. If you missed the interview you can listen to it or read the transcript at http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-february-21-2017-1.3991287/canada-s-grasslands-most-endangered-least-protected-ecosystems-1.3991299

If you want to send a message about conservation of the community pastures, you can consider the following:

‘In response to Wayne Stetski’s question during question period regarding the transfer of federal pastures to Saskatchewan, you said, “Mr. Speaker, I take very seriously the obligation to protect our natural environment. I am committed to working with the member on this issue to find a resolution.”

As a citizen of Canada concerned about our endangered native grasslands and their capacity for carbon storage, climate change adaptation, the numerous public benefits derived from these ecosystems, and the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples to access publicly-owned grasslands, I call on you as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to commit resources that will help livestock producers and communities, conservationists and Indigenous peoples to work together to protect the old growth prairie on the former federal community pastures from market forces that drive cultivation, ranchette development, badly-managed resource exploitation, and privatization.’

Email: Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca
Telephone: 1-613-996-5322

Fax: 1-613-996-5323                    

Mail: Hon. Catherine McKenna, House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A6 (Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament.)

And in addition you may post a response on Facebook at The Current CBC (February 21 at 4:48pm) https://www.facebook.com/cbcthecurrent/

Save the Date! PPPI AGM

27 Feb

The PPPI Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday March 25 from 1 to 5 pm.

The meeting will be held at Lakeview United Church, 3200 McCallum Ave, Regina. There is parking on the street and in behind the church. Use the west entrance off of McCallum Avenue. http://www.lakeviewchurch.ca/  (Click the Contact & Map button in the upper right hand corner to see a map of the location.)

We will be having updates on the many recent developments concerning grasslands at the provincial and national levels and discussions on the next steps to be taken in preserving the heritage of the community pastures and other grasslands. A more detailed agenda will be posted closer to the meeting date.

Hope to see you there!

Pastures featured on The Current

22 Feb

If you missed the interview with PPPI Co-chair Trevor Herriot and retired PFRA cowboy Mert Taylor talking grasslands with CBC Radio’s Anna Maria Tremonti on Tuesday, February 21, you can find it here. A partial transcript is also available on the site.

The issue came to the attention of the CBC because this past Wednesday, the Federal NDP’s Wayne Stetski (Kootenay-Columbia) rose during Question Period with the following question about the transfer of pastures to Saskatchewan:

“Mr. Speaker, both Conservative and Liberal governments have downloaded responsibility for Saskatchewan’s environmentally critical grasslands without any concern for their future. These grasslands are unique ecological heritage sites. They act as important carbon sinks and are home to rare and threatened species. Now the government is considering giving away the last of these grasslands in southwestern Saskatchewan and ending the environmental protection they receive.

Will the Minister of Environment and Climate Change commit today to create a new national wildlife area to preserve these ecosystems for future generations?”

Response from Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):

“Mr. Speaker, I take very seriously the obligation to protect our natural environment. I am committed to working with the member on this issue to find a resolution.”

42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION, EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 141
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=42&Ses=1&DocId=8769411

NDP urges federal government to preserve last federal pastures

16 Feb

NDP urges federal government to preserve last federal pastures: news article from CBC.

“Conservative and Liberal governments have handed off responsibility for Saskatchewan’s environmentally critical grasslands without any concern for their future protection,” Kootenay-Columbia MP and National Parks critic Wayne Stetski said during question period Wednesday.

“As we come close to losing the last three pastures in the southwest corner of the province, will the minister of the environment commit today to creating a new National Wildlife Area to preserve them for future generations?” Steski asked.

The Messenger: Film Screening and Fundraiser

12 Oct

The Messenger: Birds Have Something to Tell Us

 Award-Winning Eco-Documentary presented by PPPI at the

 Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina

Thursday, November 3rd at 7:00

baby-robin

An essential film for anyone who cares about the environment and nature, The Messenger explores mankind’s deep-seated connection to songbirds and the devastating impact humans have had on bird species, from urbanization, climate change and pesticides.

Since its world premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival, The Messenger has wowed audiences the world over at more than 30 international film festivals, played in over 100 US Cinemas, and is available on US Netflix.   A Hot Docs 2015 ‘Top Ten Audience Favourite’, it has received several awards, including Best Theatrical Feature, International Wildlife Film Festival.

Shot in Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, France, The Netherlands and the USA, The Messenger is an international story with high-stakes global consequences. The film argues that the decline of songbirds is due to human activity, signaling an uncertain shift in an already fragile ecosystem while warning that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.

“According to Su Rynard’s provocative and beautiful documentary The Messenger, today’s songbirds are delivering us a message of global proportion: Modernity is killing them, and if we don’t do something soon, it might destroy us, too.” LA Weekly

The Messenger is directed by Su Rynard and produced by Joanne Jackson. Both grew up listening to bird song in the forest: Su at her family cottage in the Kawartha’s and Joanne in her hometown of New Liskeard, Ontario.

This event is a fundraiser for Public Pastures – Public Interest. We welcome your donations at the door.

A full description of the film can be found here.

To watch the trailer and for more information please visit the film website at http://themessengerdoc.com.

 swallow

FOLLOW THE MESSENGER ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/SongbirdSOSfilm/

Twitter — @themessengerdoc

Take Action on the Chaplin Lake wind turbine project

7 Jun

Two actions can help influence the Chaplin Lake wind turbine project decision and future wind turbine projects.

1. Contact the Saskatchewan Environment Minister.

Saskatchewan’s Minister of the Environment, Herb Cox, is currently considering options for approving the controversial wind energy project by Chaplin Lake  Chaplin Lake is an internationally important shorebird staging wetland, used by thousands of birds as they migrate seasonally, including many endangered species. The proposed project of 79 turbines would include 25 to 34 turbines on native grasslands, affecting 62 hectares (153 acres) that support several species at risk in breeding season. The project area would also be cut by roads, transmissions lines and other vertical structures such as buildings.

PPPI and many other groups interested in grassland conservation, including Nature Saskatchewan and Nature Canada, believe that the project should be moved off the native grassland and onto alternative/cultivated land.

Last November people wrote in their concerns and analysis to the environmental assessment process and this caused additional consultation and reflection on the project. We are encouraging people to review the material in the NEWS items below, and send letters or emails to Minister Cox strongly urging him to insist that the wind project be moved off native grassland.

Hon. Herb Cox, Minister of Environment
Mailing Address Room 38, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
E-mail: env.minister@gov.sk.ca
Phone (306) 787-0393
Fax (306) 787-1669

2. Provide input concerning draft guidelines being developed for wind energy projects in Saskatchewan,
A meeting was held May 31 with Saskatchewan Environment officials and representatives of conservation groups and comments on the draft guidelines were invited. The turn around is tight – the deadline for comments is June 15, but the document is not too long. Contact PPPI if you are interested in contributing to this effort.

PFRA pastures in Sask make National Trust endangered places list

1 Jun

Two articles this week highlighted the placement of the former PFRA pastures in Saskatchewan on the National Trust’s list of endangered places. CBC ran this article and the Leader-Post ran this article, from which the following quote is taken:

The Public Pastures – Public Interest group is quite pleased to see the pastures on the list. The group has been campaigning for years for the conservation of the pastures.

“We’re trying to end up with some form of assistance, some form of guarantee that the pastures will remain publicly owned and managed for livestock producing as well for species at risk, biodiversity and basically continue on the same track that the PFRA system had developed,” said Lorne Scott, co-chair of Public Pastures – Public Interest.