Tag Archives: conservation

Take Action on the Chaplin Lake wind turbine project

7 Jun

Two actions can help influence the Chaplin Lake wind turbine project decision and future wind turbine projects.

1. Contact the Saskatchewan Environment Minister.

Saskatchewan’s Minister of the Environment, Herb Cox, is currently considering options for approving the controversial wind energy project by Chaplin Lake  Chaplin Lake is an internationally important shorebird staging wetland, used by thousands of birds as they migrate seasonally, including many endangered species. The proposed project of 79 turbines would include 25 to 34 turbines on native grasslands, affecting 62 hectares (153 acres) that support several species at risk in breeding season. The project area would also be cut by roads, transmissions lines and other vertical structures such as buildings.

PPPI and many other groups interested in grassland conservation, including Nature Saskatchewan and Nature Canada, believe that the project should be moved off the native grassland and onto alternative/cultivated land.

Last November people wrote in their concerns and analysis to the environmental assessment process and this caused additional consultation and reflection on the project. We are encouraging people to review the material in the NEWS items below, and send letters or emails to Minister Cox strongly urging him to insist that the wind project be moved off native grassland.

Hon. Herb Cox, Minister of Environment
Mailing Address Room 38, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
E-mail: env.minister@gov.sk.ca
Phone (306) 787-0393
Fax (306) 787-1669

2. Provide input concerning draft guidelines being developed for wind energy projects in Saskatchewan,
A meeting was held May 31 with Saskatchewan Environment officials and representatives of conservation groups and comments on the draft guidelines were invited. The turn around is tight – the deadline for comments is June 15, but the document is not too long. Contact PPPI if you are interested in contributing to this effort.

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.

Saskatoon Event – Northeast Swale and Conservation

23 Mar

“Paving Paradise”

April 18, 7-9 pm at the Frances Morrison Central Library Theatre

Join speakers Candace Savage and Larry Beasley after a viewing of the film “Division Street”.

FAPavingParadise02_16

Saskatchewan Election: Protecting our Grasslands

22 Mar
With the Saskatchewan provincial election in full swing, and an election date of April 4, 2016, we have created some material for bringing forward the concerns about the PFRA Community Pastures and publicly-owned grasslands.
A handout to give candidates, with recommendations for things they can do. It is a thumbnail sketch of the complexities of the Community Pastures and grasslands issues, but we hope it conveys the essentials.
There are many ways to influence direction at at the time of an election.
  • Talk to the candidates that knock on your door or that you meet at events.Take courage – you have the right to present your views and even a short conversation has an effect.
  • Attend all-candidate forums and ask about the environment, agriculture, public pastures and grasslands, even though other issues seem to be dominating the airwaves.
  • Write a letter or email or make a phone call to your local candidates. Drop by their constituency office and have a chat about  your views.
  • Write a letter to the editor to the newspaper, or local community paper.
  • Put forward your views on social media.
  • Talk to your neighbours.
  • Do a creative video, or just a short simple interview on your camera or smartphone, and post it on You-Tube.
  • Send a message via Twitter
Grasslands could become an election issue!

Protected Areas: Saskatchewan’s “Geography of Hope” at risk

14 Mar

Is conservation an issue in the provincial election? Trevor Herriot argues, in the Leader-Post, that it should be:

In 2012, the federal government cut the PFRA community pasture program, placing the lion’s share of our protected grasslands in limbo. The Saskatchewan government chose to pass on management responsibility for these ecologically rich lands to private grazing corporations, offering to lease or sell them. By any application of the IUCN criteria for protection, you can no longer count conservation land stripped of its biodiversity programming, then leased or sold primarily for cattle grazing.

So where is Saskatchewan at then, once we remove the WHPA lands for sale and PFRA pastures from the tally of protected areas? Our protected area percentage drops from 8.7 to 6.34 per cent — nowhere near the 17-per-cent commitment under Canada’s 2020 Biodiversity Targets and Goals and half our original RAN commitment.

PPPI AGM – March 19

7 Mar

We hope you can come out to the Public Pastures-Public Interest Annual General Meeting on March 19!

If you cannot attend in person, your ideas and suggestions are always appreciated via phone or e-mail.

Like any organization, we are always happy to have people come forward who are willing to assist with the individual tasks needed to carry out our work or to participate on the PPPI Board.

The agenda follows and can also be seen here: PPPI AGM 2016 agenda

PPPI Annual General Meeting

Saturday March 19, 2016, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

United Way Building, 1440 Scarth St., Regina, Saskatchewan

9:30     Coffee and registration

10:00   Annual General Meeting

  • Welcome & Introductions
  • Report on past year – Highlights of PPPI activities and achievements  – Trevor Herriot
  • Financial Report
  • Election of Board

11:00   PPPI Roles & Projects

12:00   Lunch

12:45   Grassland photographs, an audio-visual presentation by Branimir Gjetvaj

1:00    “Nature connection and place attachment: Roles of personal attachment and motivation in conservation” – Katherine Arbuthnott

1:30     Where do we go from here?  Current situation concerning the pastures and objectives for the future – Lorne Scott

  • Interactive discussion with audience on current issues and future options

3:15     Next Steps

4:00     Adjournment

An RSVP is helpful but not required for attendance. If possible, to assist with planning for lunch and space, please RSVP to public4pastures@gmail.com or call (306)-515-0460.

A donation will be requested to cover the cost of lunch.

Parking is available in the parking lot North of the United Way building and the entrance to the Community Room is on the North side of the building.

The building is wheelchair accessible.

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.

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.

For Immediate Release

28 Jun

Celebrated Canadian authors and conservation groups call for transparency, consultation on Saskatchewan’s Plans for Pastures

June 28, 2013

REGINA — This morning, prominent authors and members of BirdLife International, Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson, held a joint press conference with representatives of Nature Canada and Public Pastures-Public Interest (PPPI), expressing the need for conservation of Saskatchewan’s remaining grasslands habitat. The Government of Saskatchewan plans to sell or lease 62 former PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration) pastures.

Management of the pastures was transferred to the provinces in the 2012 Federal Budget. The lands involved are larger than Prince Edward Island and worth $1 to 2 Billion. The Saskatchewan Government has not produced any official report, much less a conservation management plan for these lands. Alongside both authors, representatives of Nature Canada and PPPI called on the Province for more transparency, meaningful consultation with all stakeholders, and more information on the plan itself.

“I’m concerned for the loss of the PFRA, which promoted grasslands conservation while providing for the ranching community,” said Atwood.  “Maintaining PFRA pastures is our greatest chance to protect grasslands wildlife and local communities. Their loss means the squandering of 75 years of Canadian  citizens’  investment in these pastures, and an iconic way of life.”

“Over 80% of Saskatchewan’s original prairie has been lost,” added Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. “The Federal Government’s divestment from these pastures puts at risk some of Canada’s most important grasslands, home to numerous endangered species like the Greater Sage Grouse, which is almost gone from the province.”

“This land needs protection and conservation-based management,” said PPPI spokesperson Trevor Herriot. “This means the government needs to guarantee that the land will remain in the public trust and not be sold, and work with conservation groups, pasture patrons, the oil and gas industry, First Nations, and other stakeholders to ensure that the pastures will be managed professionally in a unitary system.”

While the groups welcome the Province’s proposal to strengthen its legislation on conservation easements to provide penalties for activities like breaking original prairie, this is no substitute for the services patrons are receiving now, or for a coherent approach to pasture management and environmental stewardship. Simply strengthening easements without dealing with the other issues still puts us on the track of breaking up the system and these irreplaceable lands with it.

– 30 –

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Ian Davidson, Executive Director, Nature Canada

PPPI Communications, 306-216-0345

More News Coverage

29 Apr

Did you catch the news about Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson?

There’s more news: The Meadow Lake Progress has an article with some back-and-forth between Lyle Stewart and Trevor Herriot regarding conservation and the pastures’ future. Herriot says, “Saskatchewan is considered a backslider province in not actually having its own species-at-risk provincial legislation…There is no private land owner who’s ever been told what to do with his land because of some Wildlife Act in Saskatchewan. And the federal species-at-risk act is optional.” Read it here: Community pasture debate continues.

And in the Star-Phoenix, Kathleen Morrell writes, “The issue of PFRA pastures is one where the interests of farmers and environmentalist converge. It is a complex issue that requires time to talk, to study and to plan. Surely, one year is not too much to ask.”