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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/

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.

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.

Pasture Transitions in the News

2 Nov

With a new party in the decision-making seat, groups are calling on the federal government to delay the pasture transition.

Saskatchewan Pasture Transfers Should be Delayed: Conservation Groups

“What we want is an assurance of protection for the grasslands,” said Ignatiuk.

“Right now, the transfer agreements are divesting to the province and the patrons associations (will eventually) take them over … but there’s really no long-term assurance that those lands will be protected.”

Ignatiuk said his group has no objection to grazing, a practice that’s compatible with the Nature Saskatchewan’s conservation objectives.

Caledonia-Elmsthorpe Community Pasture Ride

26 Jun

PPPI is proud to support a public ride through the Caledonia-Elmsthorpe Community Pasture on Aug. 15 and/or 16, 2015. Ride, hike or walk the beautiful trail – enjoy vistas, rolling hills, wildlife & birds while enjoying virgin prairie that may not be available to the public very soon.

The pasture is located between Avonlea and Milestone and is home to species at risk, fossils and archeological sites.

Rider meetings are at 9 a.m. both days, and rides run between 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Riders can enjoy a 30-mile ride and take in the vistas, rolling hills, wildlife and birds, and the beauty of the prairies

The ride costs $10 per person and $30 for families. For more information, email pastureride@gmail.com.

Links to registration form, waivers, poster, and more:

Registration Form | Waiver for minors | Waiver over 18 | Poster | Species at Risk | Protecting Public Pastures

SARM coming around on pasture issues

20 Mar

From the Western Producer:

The turning point was a meeting about the pastureland issue at last week’s convention that attracted about 60 RMs and a few SARM directors.

It became clear at that meeting that SARM would now be taking the issue seriously and would be lobbying the province to come to some sort of agreement with the affected RMs.

 

Lots of news coverage of PFRA Pastures Transition Study

19 Feb

– Leader Post article

Groups wants changes to provincial pasture plan

– Western Producer article

Pasture transition needs changes: Sask report

– Swift Current Online

APAS Calling for New Approach to Pasture Transition

and

Stewart Speaks on Pasture Lease Fees

– Saskatoon Home Page

Pasture Transition Needs Changes

– Grenfell Sun

APAS calls for new approach to PFRA pasture transition

Joint PFRA Pasture Study Released

10 Feb

APAS Calls for New Approach to PFRA Pasture Transition

February 10, 2015

Regina: Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), Community Pasture Patrons Association of Saskatchewan (CPPAS), Public Pastures – Public Interest (PPPI) and Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) examined Saskatchewan’s approach to pasture transition and found it would adversely affect the livestock industry in Saskatchewan.

“We are asking the Saskatchewan Government to take a hard look at its current approach to the transition of the 62 PFRA pastures which affects 1.8 million acres or 2,500 ranchers,” says Norm Hall, APAS President. “The current process is inefficient, short and long-term costs will rise substantially for patrons, and public expectations and regulations for pastures could prove to be unworkable.”

The study (executive summary here) commissioned by the four partners is anchored in the following principles:

  • Conserving native grassland is critically important;
  • Land use should re-inforce the economic viability of our livestock sector;
  • Natural working ecosystems must be preserved over the long term;
  • Business and governance systems must be efficient and effective;
  • Producers should not be expected to pay for public benefits.

(Full Report can be found here.)

The approach taken by Saskatchewan is to increase revenues at the expense of producers and to offload responsibility for the environment from the public sector to pasture patrons. Pasture patrons are being asked to pay a full Crown land grazing rate. They are required to provide full public access and manage and report on the ecological, environmental and endangered species on native landscapes without required resources. “A level playing field is required,’ says Ian McCreary, CPPAS Chair.

“Preserving a working natural landscape where hunters and naturalists can share the pasture system into the future must be maintained,” says Darrell Crabbe, Executive Director, SWF. “Pasture patrons cannot be expected to shoulder the costs of sourcing the expertise required and providing ongoing public benefits.”

“APAS is concerned over the long term viability of the livestock industry in Saskatchewan,” says Hall. “We have a shrinking beef breeding herd and livestock producer numbers are falling. The current approach leads to a further acceleration of producers leaving the industry. Pasture patrons may fall by one-half. The current approach closes the opportunity for young producers to enter the industry. A different approach is needed if we are to build a strong, sustainable Saskatchewan livestock industry.”

Norm Hall
President, APAS

Ian McCreary
Chair, CPPAS

Darrell Crabbe
Executive Director, SWF

Trevor Herriot
Public Pastures-Public Interest

NCC Partnership with Lone Tree Pasture

21 Jan

A New Partnership to Conserve Saskatchewan Grasslands:

Community Pasture Teams Up with Nature Conservancy of Canada

REGINA, January 20, 2015.  –  The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Saskatchewan and Lone Tree Community Pasture shareholders signed a pilot partnership agreement to work together to develop a guide for future management and long term conservation of community pastures. After more than 75 years of conservation management by Canada`s federal community pasture system, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is transferring these pastures to Saskatchewan.

Under this agreement, NCC staff in Saskatchewan will work with Lone Tree’s community pasture manager and shareholders to develop best practices for pasture management and long term land conservation. In efforts to balance livestock production with long term conservation, it is hoped this partnership will help foster rapport with other community pasture shareholders and NCC staff.

NCC will include the advice and best practices of Lone Tree’s management of the 33,697 acres (13,637 ha) of community pasture along with NCC conservation practices and techniques, and financially assist with the management of the pasture during 2015. This work may also help NCC guide the future conservation of other southern Saskatchewan community pastures and grasslands.

Best practices for pasture management will build on the knowledge that Lone Tree pasture managers and shareholders have gained over many years. Conservation actions and techniques that help sustain the diversity of plant, animal, bird and amphibian species, as well as the economic wellbeing of livestock producers and pasture management groups alike, will be included. The guide will help others conserve and sustain pasture grasslands similar to the Lone Tree pasture.

A management plan will be developed through face-to-face meetings with NCC staff, the Lone Tree pasture manager, and the Lone Tree shareholders prior to the 2015 grazing season. These best practices will be recorded, reviewed, revised and developed into a guide that can be shared with community pastures from Mankota to Midale, Valjean to Nokomis, McCraney to Good Spirit, and beyond.

QUOTES:

“This historical and significant pilot agreement helps pave the way for community pasture patrons and conservation-minded organizations like NCC to work together.” says Mark Wartman, Regional Vice President, NCC in Saskatchewan. “The goal is to conserve grasslands through effective pasture management over the long term across southern Saskatchewan. By working together through this precedent-setting agreement, improved grasslands conservation can be achieved.”

“It’s simple. We both (Lone Tree and NCC) want the same thing.” says Clint Christianson, spokesperson for Lone Tree community pasture shareholders. “We want this land to be at least as healthy and functional well into the future! And I want my kids—and their children—to enjoy this land, just like it is now. Our partnership with NCC is a strong first step in reaching this goal.”

FACTS:         

  • In Saskatchewan alone, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved over 140,000 acres (57,000 ha) of ecologically significant lands through land donation, purchase and conservation agreement, in partnership with governments, corporations and other organizations.
  • 1.8 million acres in 62 of Canada`s federal community pastures are being transferred from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to the Government of Saskatchewan.
  • Lone Tree community pasture involves 15 shareholders who collectively graze 1130 head of cattle.
  • NCC partners with landowners through grazing leases and provides public access on-foot-only on all NCC properties in Saskatchewan.
  • Through its Natural Areas Conservation Program and its Habitat Stewardship Program, the Government of Canada to date has supported NCC conservation of almost 34,000 acres (13,760 ha) in Saskatchewan.
  • NCC is working with the Government of Saskatchewan, SaskEnergy, Encana, K+S Potash, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and now with Lone Tree community pasture and others for long term land conservation in Saskatchewan.
  • Eighty-three per cent of contributions to NCC go directly to on-the-ground conservation of Canada’s natural spaces and wildlife, including species at risk. The NCC conserves land in perpetuity so your gift can literally last for ever.
  • NCC owns and manages properties in many southern and central Saskatchewan communities around Eastend, Swift Current, Weyburn, Assiniboia, Carlyle, Shellbrook, Spiritwood, Mankota, The Battlefords and more.

ABOUT:

  • The Nature Conservancy of Canada works with a broad range of organizations to advance long-term land conservation in Saskatchewan and throughout Canada.
  • The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares), coast to coast, placing national perspective on great Saskatchewan work.
  • An independent review of Canadian charities by Charity Intelligence Canada awarded top marks to the Nature Conservancy of Canada for charitable private land conservation in Canada (2014).

See the news article in the Southwest Booster.

“Grasslands” video now available!

6 Jan

If you missed the Grasslands video screening on November 6, you can now order a DVD online! Don’t miss this film by award-winning filmmaker Ian Toews.