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.”