Tag Archives: pastures

Saskatchewan Community Pastures Program to End

27 Mar

The Leader-Post covers the issue here.

The plan, announced in the provincial budget, is to phase the provincial pasture program out over three years, with 2017 being the last year it fully operates. The program includes 51 pastures operating on 780,000 acres of land.

PPPI Co-Chair Trevor Herriot was interviewed by the CBC on the potential impacts on prairie conservation.

When you privatize public conservation land, you’re severely weakening your ability to create and enforce laws, policies, regulations, if you want to meet prairie for sustainable grassland management. There’s a lot of public interest in these lands

There will be consultations made for the future management of the land with the public, stakeholders, First Nations and Metis communities. An online survey will be available online at www.saskatchewan.ca/pastures from March 27 to May 8.

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/

Pastures featured on The Current

22 Feb

If you missed the interview with PPPI Co-chair Trevor Herriot and retired PFRA cowboy Mert Taylor talking grasslands with CBC Radio’s Anna Maria Tremonti on Tuesday, February 21, you can find it here. A partial transcript is also available on the site.

The issue came to the attention of the CBC because this past Wednesday, the Federal NDP’s Wayne Stetski (Kootenay-Columbia) rose during Question Period with the following question about the transfer of pastures to Saskatchewan:

“Mr. Speaker, both Conservative and Liberal governments have downloaded responsibility for Saskatchewan’s environmentally critical grasslands without any concern for their future. These grasslands are unique ecological heritage sites. They act as important carbon sinks and are home to rare and threatened species. Now the government is considering giving away the last of these grasslands in southwestern Saskatchewan and ending the environmental protection they receive.

Will the Minister of Environment and Climate Change commit today to create a new national wildlife area to preserve these ecosystems for future generations?”

Response from Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):

“Mr. Speaker, I take very seriously the obligation to protect our natural environment. I am committed to working with the member on this issue to find a resolution.”

42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION, EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 141
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=42&Ses=1&DocId=8769411

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.

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.

Reversing the Damage: Report

29 Feb

This report out of the Manitoba CCPA, Reversing the Damage: How the Federal Liberals Can Restore Hope on the the Prairies discusses cuts to federal programs and employees, such as the closure of the PFRA Community Pastures Program (see pages 7-9 of the report). It contains recommendations for ensuring the continued stewardship of best management of the pastures.

Making a Difference for the Community Pastures and our Grasslands

16 Feb

We have received word that there is a possibility that the new federal government may consider reviewing the Harper decision to dump the PFRA pastures system. However, we are told that, for that to happen, our elected MPs, and the Minister of Agriculture Canada in particular, must hear about it from concerned citizens.

So we are asking everyone to send letters to the Minister of Agriculture, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, as well as the Hon. Ralph Goodale and the Prime Minister as soon as possible (see addresses below).

We have a brief window of opportunity to convey our deep concerns over the demise of the PFRA Pastures in Saskatchewan and to ask for the federal government to halt the transfer of the pasture lands and conduct a full review of the Harper government’s decision.

Your letters need not be long and detailed. A simple approach is to ask the federal government to halt the transfer of these pastures to the province of Saskatchewan which is not recognizing, managing or investing in the value of public goods on these vanishing grasslands.

We have heard from government sources that it important to emphasize the climate change benefits of native grassland but you should use your own words and choose any of the points listed below stating why these grasslands are important to you (e.g. climate change mitigation, conservation, Species at Risk, hunting, etc.) Tell them you want to live in a Canada that protects endangered landscapes and sustainable agriculture initiatives like the PFRA system always did.

We would also like people to request a full Strategic Environmental Assessment of the risks to the natural and human heritage in the PFRA Pastures, in accordance with The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.

It is very important that you include your full name and address, even if you are sending an email. Politicians always note the location where correspondence comes from. Be sure to request a reply to your letter.

Below are some points you may wish to reference in your letter. We suggest you select two or three and use your own words.

–    The Community Pasture lands are not “just agricultural lands.”

–   These pastures contain the largest and best managed grasslands in Saskatchewan.

–   Some 80% of our natural landscape in southern Saskatchewan has been lost to development.

–   These pastures are part of Canada’s commitment to its 2020 Biodiversity Goals, in accordance with the Global Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

–   Prairie grasslands are vital elements of the public trust every bit as precious as our northern forests and lakes

–   The prairies have more Species at Risk than any other region of Canada.

–   Over 30 Species At Risk are found on the pastures.

–   Carbon sequestration is an important benefit of native grasslands.

–   Soil and water conservation is provided by the pastures.

–   Pastures contain many heritage sites from indigenous people and homesteaders.

–   Pastures provide important hunting opportunities, generating $70 million annually.

–   Keeping the pastures publicly owned is the best way to protect the many benefits they provide.

–   Indigenous rights to access the land based on international declarations would be harmed by privatization of the land.

–   Producers should not be expected to pay for managing the land for public benefits.

–  The many public benefits should be maintained and enhanced with public dollars.

–  The Canadian people’s 75 year investment in the Community Pastures could be lost by eliminating the federal support for Community Pastures.

Address your letters to:

The Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca

Send copies to the PM and Ministers listed:

The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and MP for Regina-Wascana

ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

carolyn.bennett@parl.gc.ca

The Right  Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

If you send your letter by regular mail, all mailing addresses are: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A6

No postage is required on any mail addressed to the House of Commons.

Many thanks, for your support. We believe we have a chance to make a difference with this letter campaign. Your letters are very important and could help turn the tide.

Campaign: 1000 Letters to the Premier

20 Mar

This is a request to the many people who expressed concern and interest in the future of the PFRA Community Pastures.

We are at a point where a large scale letter writing campaign is needed as we continue to work towards the continued public ownership and conservation of our pastures. Your letters need not be long. We are hoping to generate over 1000 letters in the next few weeks.

We need to get the message out that the public feels that:

  • It is vitally important to keep the pastures public
  • The public should pay for public values
  • The government must take on this responsibility
  • The public wants to know how the government will ensure that the pastures will continue to be managed for the many important public benefits.

Be sure to address your letters to Premier Wall. Be polite and make sure you ask for a reply.  Below are some points you may wish to talk about. There are also some sample letters here. Make your letters personal, explaining why retaining the pastures are important to you.

To write your letter begin by making some (but not all) of the “Important Points” listed below, and then ask one or two specific questions:
 

  1. “How will your government ensure that the pastures will continue to be managed for [choose your public benefit/issue from the points below]”
  1. “We all recognize that retaining land under public ownership is the highest form of protection for the long term. Please explain your government’s willingness to sell Crown lands that are among the most ecologically important and endangered landscapes in Canada.”

IMPORTANT POINTS
 

The following are several points about the PFRA pastures, some of which you may wish to refer to in your letter:
 

  • These grasslands are not merely agricultural land; they are important for grazing but also represent some of the last large protected areas of grassland on the continent. They must be managed with both grazing and biodiversity in mind.
  • Southern Saskatchewan contains one of the most modified landscapes in North America.
  • Some 80% of our natural landscape in southern Saskatchewan has been lost to development.
  • Only 15% of the natural landscape south of the forest fringe is public land, where public oversight can be provided.
  • It is critically important to preserve these vanishing native grasslands.
  • The PFRA Pastures are the most critically important remaining grasslands in Saskatchewan.
  • The PFRA pastures are a major part of this province’s Representatives Areas Network, a network of ecologically important land and water areas across the province.
  •  Canada has commitments to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to preserve a portion of our landscape in its natural condition and the pastures are a major component of this in Saskatchewan.
  • The Prairies have a greater number of Species at Risk than any other region of Canada.
  • Over 30 Species at Risk are found on the PFRA pastures.
  • Carbon sequestration is an important benefit from native grasslands.
  • Soil and water conservation is provided by PFRA Pastures.
  • The pasture lands have many known heritage sites from Indigenous people and homesteaders. Many of the pastures have not yet been assessed for their archaeological potential or sites of a special nature such as sacred sites.
  • Keeping the lands public is the best way to protect these known and unknown sites.
  • The publicly-owned lands are important to enable Indigenous people to continue practices such as hunting and gathering, and practising respect for sacred sites.
  • These pastures are very important to producers for grazing opportunities. The first ten pastures to be transitioned have already lost 50% of their patrons.
  • PFRA Pastures are important for the local economy.
  • Pasture patrons are necessarily concerned first with their private interests as cattle producers. Unless they receive some support, it is not realistic to expect they will also care for the range of public goods that the PFRA pastures always provided to society as a whole.
  • Full time, qualified pasture managers are critical to the long term management of the pastures.
  • The pastures provide important access for hunting opportunities, generating $70 million dollars annually.
  • The total annual cost of operating the 62 PFRA Pastures is $22 million. The total annual benefits to producers and society is $55 million.
  • Keeping the pastures publicly-owned is the best way to protect the many benefits they provide.
  • Some kind of legislative protection is needed for pastures.
  • The many public benefits from public lands must be recognized and maintained with public dollars.
  •  Producers should not be expected to pay for public benefits.

Whatever points you raise in your letter, be sure to ask the Premier for a response to your question.

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WRITE A LETTER.

YOUR SUPPORT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!

GETTING THE LETTER TO THE PREMIER
 

You can mail, e-mail or fax the letter to the Premier.

E-mail: premier@gov.sk.ca, Fax: 306-787-0885, Phone: 306-787-9433

 
A letter sent in the mail carries more weight.

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