Archive | September, 2013

Call to Action on Species at Risk

27 Sep

Andrea Olive will be on CBC Saskatchewan radio on Monday Sept 30 at 12:30 explaining what would be involved in a “stand-alone species at risk” act for Saskatchewan.

It will be a call-in show as well – the question posed to people will be: “Should Saskatchewan create its own Endangered Species Act?” As you may have read on this site, Saskatchewan does not have its own act, and once federal lands are transferred to provincial control, as in the case of the community pastures, species at risk are far less protected.

Please share this information, and consider calling in to the show.

Andrea Olive is an assistant professor of political science and geography at the University of Toronto. Originally from Regina, Olive has a BA from the U of Calgary, a MA from Dalhousie and PhD from Purdue University (Indiana). Her area of expertise is private property and the conservation of endangered species in Canada and the US. Her next book, Land, Legitimacy and Stewardship, is coming out this December with the University of Toronto Press. The book compares Canada and US conservation strategies and features Saskatchewan as a case study.


Provincial Protection?

24 Sep

Andrea Olive, expert on Species at Risk legislation, has an editorial in the Star-Phoenix questioning the claims of Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister that species at risk are protected in this province. This is an important issue as federal community pastures containing species at risk are transferred to provincial control.

“Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart has been telling the people of Saskatchewan that the provincial government cares about endangered species and will protect them. He has assured everyone that the sale of the PFRA lands will not affect the protection of grassland birds…

If Saskatchewan is doing as good a job as Stewart has been telling us, then why does Environment Canada need to step in on provincial land? What is the Saskatchewan government doing? Why has the sage grouse declined 98 per cent since 1988 if Saskatchewan has two laws in place to protect species at risk? This is a big deal Saskatchewan. This is the first time the federal government has ever used emergency protection for an endangered species.”

Good news for the sage grouse?

18 Sep

Some community pastures contain sage grouse habitat. Will this order help protect not only the sage grouse, but the pastures?

CBC News article: “For the first time, Environment Canada will issue an emergency order to protect an endangered species, a rare Prairie bird called the greater sage grouse.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced Tuesday that the order will be issued in the coming months and will impose restrictions to protect the habitat of the sage grouse on provincial and Crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

According to Environment Canada, fewer than 150 of the birds remain in the two Canadian provinces where they are found, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the bird’s population has fallen 98 per cent since 1988. The sharp decline has been blamed on the destruction of its habitat by industry, especially the oil and gas industry.”

The Environment Canada backgrounder can be found here.

You can take action! The public needs to insist on immediate implementation–the Sage Grouse do not have any time to spare. The time for gradual change passed years ago.


Photo courtesy of

Time running out for native prairie

5 Sep

The pasture transition deadline for the first 10 pastures is looming, and the issue of species at risk has not been adequately addressed. The Southwest Booster ran this excellent piece by Trevor Herriot.

“Yesterday (Aug. 30) I received news that an Alberta farmer who purchased a large block of Crown land in the far Southwest has a hired man running a 24 foot breaking plough through the sod, destroying the habitat once and for all. The land in question adjoins the west flank of the Govenlock PFRA pasture and therefore supports its ecological integrity as a single block of intact native grass. As I write this, the destruction continues and there is nothing any of us can do to stop it.

This is why Public Pastures–Public Interest and prairie conservationists in general believe that the best way to protect our largest pieces of Crown grassland is to keep them under the Crown. Easements or no easements, once they are sold to a rancher the land can be re-sold to someone who wants to plough it and plant crops or destroy it in other ways for profit.

…This province is long overdue for a thorough public review of all of our Crown native grasslands–co-op pastures, Provincial and Federal community pastures, and the seven million acres of Crown grassland leased to private cattlemen. First, to find out what we have remaining, and then to determine its ecological value (biodiversity, carbon sequestration, soil and water conservation), its heritage resources (Metis and First Nations’ ancestral sites), and its food security values, and then to decide in a full consultation with all stakeholders, how we want these incredibly valuable and endangered landscapes to be managed for the good of all and generations to come.”