Tag Archives: native prairie

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.

News about the Wind Energy Project endangering bird populations at Chaplin Lake

26 May

A couple of recent Leader-Post articles by Ashley Robinson and Natascia Lypny are good reminders of the decline of migratory grassland bird populations and a conservation issue that will further endanger these birds.   The Wind Energy Project at Chaplin Lake calls for the installation of wind turbines on native prairie in an extremely critical area for migratory birds such as Sprague’s pipit and piping plover.

PPPI supports alternate energy sources, but this location is very concerning.  Along with conservationists from groups like Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nature Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, we want to ensure that the turbines are not located in the sensitive globally significant habitat around Chaplin Lake.

Recent articles

http://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/grassland-birds-in-saskatchewan-under-threat-report by Ashley Robinson

http://leaderpost.com/news/saskatchewan/saskatchewan-government-developing-wind-energy-siting-guidelines by Natascia Lypny

And there are also articles from last year:

http://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/university-of-regina-researcher-concerned-about-songbird-population by Kerry Benjoe

http://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/wind-turbine-project-raises-concerns-over-bird-safety by Natascia Lypny

As well as Trevor Herriot’s “Grass Notes” blog:



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

Success at White Butte

27 Apr

by Simone Hengen and PPPI members

The success story at White Butte is one of democracy in action: a group of people ready to express their views about a place they care about, a political party in opposition ready to question and a political party in power ready to listen.

Even before the public consultation came to bear, the swell of public support took the wind out of the sails of a proposal for a golf course at White Butte recreational area near Regina. Why did the public respond so quickly to conserve White Butte?  In the 1.1 million acre ocean of cultivated lands, farmyards, city roads and utility right-of-ways of the Regina plains, White Butte is a tiny island of native prairie. Among its many biodiversity elements, two stand out: populations of the increasingly rare Plains Rough Fescue grass and Sharp-tailed Grouse dancing leks. Skiers, dog walkers, bikers, horse-back riders, bird watchers, nature lovers use White Butte extensively. And, ideal for outdoor pursuits and nature study, it is an established asset for school divisions around Regina.   Supporters may not have known all of the statistics about the area or its multiple uses, but were motivated to voice their opinion for the individual reasons that White Butte was important to them.

How was success achieved? Public opposition to the golf course proposal began with a letter sent to the Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, Mark Docherty, by the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation in December 2014. Next, Simone Hengen of PPPI proposed a resolution at the Regina Ski Club’s March 2015 Annual General Meeting, opposing the conversion of White Butte into a golf course and supporting keeping it as a natural area. The resolution passed unanimously.  Then, on March 29, Trevor Herriot, PPPI Co-Chair and well-known Saskatchewan author and naturalist, took two important steps – posting a blog with thoughtful and relevant arguments in his website Grassnotes, and creating a Facebook page: “Don’t be mute. Save White Butte”. Both went viral -with 2100 likes within a few hours of the posting and provoked a whirlwind of media attention.  From Monday, March 30th  to Wednesday, April 1st,  the story received media coverage from CBC Radio, CTV, Global TV, the Leader-Post and the online National Post.

Also on Tuesday, March 31, as more people opposing the golf course gathered at Atlantis Coffee for a letter writing event quickly-organized by Karen Herriot, Trent Wotherspoon, NDP MLA and Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition, raised the issue with Minister Docherty during Question Period in the Legislative Assembly.  Minister Docherty, realizing the valid arguments for preserving White Butte and sensing a public typhoon of opposition to this golf course, listened to the arguments and announced to media that there would be no government support for the golf course. On April 1  Trevor Herriot spoke to Minister Docherty’s Chief of Staff who stated that the Minister had confirmed that in spite of previous statements saying there would be a public consultation, no consultations would be held, since the golf course proposal would not be proceeding,

And that’s democracy in action: people expressing their views, the opposition party questioning and the party in power listening.  On behalf of supporters of White Butte conservation, PPPI thanks the Minister for his thoughtful and direct response to our campaign and the public for taking the time to make their opinions known. We also consider that we will walk (ourselves and our dogs), ride, bike, bird-watch, etc. as a more knowledgeable and appreciative community for our efforts.


What are Native Prairie Grasslands Worth?

11 Oct

Native Prairie Speaker Series: What are Native Grasslands Worth?

Oct 23, 12:10pm

Join Nature Regina at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum Auditorium for their next installment of the Native Prairie Speaker Series “What are Native Grasslands Worth?” Presented by Chris Nykoluk, on behalf of Ranchers Stewardship Alliance Inc., SK


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.”