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Saskatoon Event of Interest

29 Oct

Seminar in Environment and Sustainability – “What Sustains the ‘Unconventional Energy Revolution’ in Saskatchewan?”
Emily Eaton, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Geography
University of Regina
1:30 pm, Friday, October 31, 2014
Room 144, Kirk Hall
Abstract: Saskatchewan is now the country’s second largest oil producing province, with its recent boom attributable in significant part to unconventional oil extraction. This presentation focuses on the development of the province’s tight oil reserves through hydraulic fracturing, one such unconventional technology. I argue that, unlike other jurisdictions across Canada, and indeed internationally, there is little public debate about and social resistance to fracking in the province resulting in a lax regulatory environment. Lack of regulation has accelerated the fragmentation of native prairie, led to the loss of water from the hydrological cycle, proliferated spills and leaks and compromised air quality. I conclude that these social and regulatory silences are significant in sustaining Saskatchewan’s unconventional energy boom.
All are welcome to attend.
For more information, contact the School of Environment and Sustainability at
966‐1985 or sens.info@usask.ca

Resources Page updated!

28 Apr

Our Resources page now contains maps of the pastures and links to provincial government documents on pasture transition. Also, check out the new video on the Videos page: a talk by Brant Kirychuk, Manager of Leasing and Sales, Lands Branch, Saskatchewan Agriculture, on March 19, 2014 on the pasture transition.

 

Earth Day News! Species at Risk Factsheet

25 Apr

MEDIA RELEASE

EARTH DAY: PRESERVE PASTURES FOR NATIVE SPECIES AND PEOPLE

REGINA, SK: Public Pastures – Public Interest is honouring Earth Day by publicly releasing a factsheet on Species at Risk on the PFRA pastures.
The pastures are home to over 30 officially designated Species at Risk – mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct in Canada.

“Keeping the pasturelands public will help ensure that we can put provisions in place to maintain the habitat that preserves these species for future generations”, said Trevor Herriot, co-chair of PPPI.

The pastures also provide ecological benefits, such as carbon sequestration by the grasses and other plants, and filtering and purifying water.
And, the pastures are also important to people.

“In addition to cattle ranchers, residents of the province utilize and enjoy the use of the pastures”, said Lorne Scott, PPPI co- chair. “This includes hunters, photographers, First Nations, researchers and the general public on educational tours”.

“PFRA Community Pastures have been a significant asset to rural Saskatchewan for decades”, noted Herriot. “Detrimental effects to the pastures would mean that the way of life for the small ranchers, their families and communities is threatened. Privatizing the pastures could mean that First Nations people would not be able to access the lands for hunting and gathering that is their right on Crown lands,” noted Herriot. “In some ways the way of life for the ranchers and the people that practice an Indigenous traditional ways can also be considered at risk.”

“People and animals are part of an inter-related earth community. And the community pastures are a rare opportunity to protect wild species, ecosystems and local economies in a sustainable and healthy community.”

Further Information:
Public Pastures—Public Interest, public4pastures@gmail.com, cell 306-515-0460
Trevor Herriot, trevorherriot@gmail.com , home 306-585-1674
Lorne Scott, lorne.scott@sasktel.net , home 306-695-2047, cell 306-695-745

 

Vancouver Sun article stresses management aspect of pastures issue

30 Jan

The Vancouver Sun has picked up on the community pasture issue. Protected grassland faces uncertain future.

“Largely, it’s going to be very, very difficult under patron governance to replicate the environmental stewardship,” said Ian McCreary, chair of the Community Pasture Patrons Association of Saskatchewan, which represents the users of most of the province’s community pastures.

He said increased fees and management responsibility could cause some fields to fail altogether and that farmers in fields that survive may try to take on the manager’s role themselves to save money.

Both scenarios could be hugely detrimental to the grasslands, Herriot said. Fields left ungrazed become derelict and cattle farmers managing the fields themselves won’t be able to provide the land with the protection it needs.

Saskatoon Event: “Saskatchewan Grasslands – a Vanishing Landscape?

15 Jan

Illustrated talk “Saskatchewan Grasslands – a Vanishing Landscape?”

Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2 pmMT-3804-1277

Frances Morrison Public Library in Saskatoon, 311 – 23rd Street East

Temperate grasslands are one of the most altered and modified landscapes in the world. Recent economic and social changes in the Prairie Provinces are driving a rapid shift in the type of land use, with industrial agriculture and development negatively impacting the remaining prairie habitat. Join Saskatoon photographer Dr. Branimir Gjetvaj on a journey of discovery of our diminishing prairie landscapes.

For more information visit: http://branimirphoto.ca/public-presentations-and-shows

PPPI – A Year in Review

25 Nov

People often ask how things are going with the effort to secure a good future for the PFRA pastures. We started on this journey on November 23 last year so it is time to look back on what has happened during those twelve months. With all that has happened, PPPI believes that the CPPAS approach of an overall provincial management plan for all the pastures will ensure the best outcomes for all stakeholders, including the public. Producers should not be expected to cover the costs associated with enhancing and protecting public goods. That said, we have much to celebrate!

1.       Virtually all of the land will remain publicly owned for the time being.

2.       The pastures will not be subdivided.

3.       If any is sold it will be to pasture patron groups and only with a conservation easement

4.       The penalties and enforcement system for Crown land sold with an easement has been markedly improved

5.       Access for hunting and naturalists/scientists will not be changed

6.       More Saskatchewan people and Canadians know what a PFRA pasture is and why they matter.

7.       Groups with an interest in the pastures from various angles are now sharing ideas about the future of the pastures. To date, 46 Saskatchewan, Canadian and international organizations have endorsed the PPPI principles.

8.       The Province has repeatedly given assurances that species at risk and biodiversity will be protected.

We intend to stick with this journey, because the investment Canadians have made in the PFRA pastures is too important to be lost. The work of PPPI in the coming months will focus on:

–          Continuing our discussions and communications with First Nations, cattle producers and others concerned about the pastures

–          Encouraging the Province to maintain the same stocking rates and public access to the pastures

–          Research on carbon sequestration

–          Looking at issues of controlling invasive species

–          Ensuring methods for monitoring species at risk

–          Monitoring the talks between the Province and the first five pasture committees to transition

 

No federal plan for biodiversity, environment watchdog warns

7 Nov

Some sad news about the state of protection of biodiversity in Canada – with implications for the former PFRA pastures.

From the International Convention on Biological Diversity, to the state of Canada’s National Parks, to plans to save Canada’s 518 species at risk, Maxwell noted a “pattern of unfulfilled commitments and responsibilities” that appear to be the result of departments with too many demands and too few resources.

Full story here.

Bird Watch Canada article

17 Oct

Bird Watch Canada magazine contains topical feature articles about the world of birds. Prairie Grasslands in Peril? by Laura Stewart is the cover story for the Fall issue, and discusses the threat to birds under regulatory changes in Saskatchewan, including changes to the PFRA pasture system.

 

New Factsheets Available!

16 Oct

Public Pastures-Public Interest has created a series of factsheets on issues relating to the PFRA pastures, written by various local experts on the topics. They have been added to our Resources section, and you can find them here.

These factsheets can be shared widely, and used when writing letters or speaking to elected representatives and other concerned citizens.

ISSUE: In Saskatchewan, management of 1.8 million acres of land in 62 former PFRA community pastures is being transferred from the Federal Government to the Province. This is a land area larger than Prince Edward Island. The Province intends to sell or lease the land to private users, putting public benefits at risk.

Operation Grassland: Saving Species at Risk

10 Oct

Conservationist readers may be interested in a group out of Alberta, Operation Grassland. From their website:

For more than 20 years, Operation Grassland Community, inspired by its ranching partners, has remained open and receptive to the changing needs of both prairie wildlife and human communities, evolving and adapting to ensure timely and appropriate action. Some highlights of this work include:

  • Hundreds of ranching members acting as voluntary stewards & protecting >900,000 acres of prairie habitat.
  • A ranching membership who work with us to conduct annual wildlife surveys, develop Benefiical Management Plans, and implement Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Projects.
  • Partnerships with schools to provide specialized youth education opportunities on the importance of a sustainable prairie.
  • Engaging and inspiring others: reaching 1000’s of rural and urban Albertans through print and social media, public presentations, and events (e.g., coming in the fall of 2013: an innovative video documentary project, the “Conservation Caravan”