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.”

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