Working with ranchers, community groups to ensure long-term conservation of community pasture
July 28, 2015 – Swift Current, Saskatchewan – Environment Canada
David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills — Grasslands, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, announced today the Govenlock Community Pasture will be transferred from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to Environment Canada.
The Community Pasture Program was a land-management service created by AAFC in the 1930s to conserve land that eroded during droughts. AAFC is transferring the control and administration of these pastures to Environment Canada, which will work to conserve this grassland ecosystem and habitat for species at risk.
The local community and ranchers who use Govenlock Pasture for grazing are important partners in the conservation of this area. Environment Canada will work with them to develop a strategy to manage the pasture in an economically, socially and environmentally responsible way to support livestock production, wildlife habitat protection and local community interests. Environment Canada has consulted with local landowners, ranchers and conservation groups, such as Sustainable Canada, over the past year, and will announce the official transfer at a later date.
- In May 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the National Conservation Plan to advance conservation efforts across the country and enable Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters in and around their communities. This plan includes $252 million for environmental initiatives over a five-year period.
- Govenlock Community Pasture, more than 200 km2 in size, is located in south-western Saskatchewan, and will remain federally‑owned.
- Environment Canada will continue consultations with residents, ranchers, the Rural Municipality of Reno #51, First Nations, the Province of Saskatchewan and other conservation groups before finalizing a management strategy for the area.
- Govenlock Community Pasture is primarily natural prairie grassland and supports more than 11 species at risk.
- Livestock grazing, which mimics traditional disturbance by plains bison maintains the health and quality of these native prairie grasslands.
- The biologically diverse native prairie grassland in the area is widely recognized nationally and internationally by Bird Studies Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and other conservation organizations for its significant concentration of migratory birds.
“Our Government continues to advance the aims of the National Conservation Plan to conserve and restore Canada’s lands and water by working closely with farmers, conservation groups and landowners. The transfer of this community pasture to Environment Canada will build on the success of previous conservation programs and preserve this important grassland ecosystem for generations to come.”
– The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council
“As part of the National Conservation Plan, our Government’s approach to stewardship, conservation and restoration of these important ecosystems is to build long-term partnerships with community groups and hardworking ranchers. Today’s announcement demonstrates the success of our Government’s ability to work with local communities. It will bring together residents, local landowners, ranchers and Environment Canada to conserve the Govenlock Community Pasture now and into the future.”
– David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills — Grasslands
“Sustainable Canada Association wants to proactively preserve and improve the economic, social, and environmental interests of people affected by Species at Risk legislation, including the Govenlock Community Pasture. Our goal with this transfer is ensure the integral and vital role of local stakeholders is recognized to balance conservation and restoration of biodiversity with a prospering economy.”
– Mr. Randy Stokke, Sustainable Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment