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Grasslands Petition

The new Liberal government should put on hold the transfers of Saskatchewan grasslands formerly managed by the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) to private leaseholders until a nature protection plan is in place.

Grasslands are one of the most imperilled ecosystems in Canada.  PFRA grasslands include almost all the best remnants of mixed-grass prairie in Canada, providing critical habitat for at least 31 species at risk such as:

      • Greater Sage Grouse,
      • Burrowing Owl,
      • Swift Fox, and
      • Ferruginous Hawk.

These grasslands also provide an important carbon sink for greenhouse gas emissions.

Transfers of management responsibility of PFRA grasslands to private leaseholders should be put on hold until Canada and Saskatchewan agree on a legally binding plan to protect their natural values, especially species at risk. Federal management of these grasslands has meant stronger protection for threatened and endangered species under the Species at Risk Act; Saskatchewan’s law is not nearly as strong.

The previous federal government wrongly decided to turn over management of one million hectares of prairie grasslands without any plan to protect species at risk and ensure sustainable cattle ranching. Although 25 grasslands in Saskatchewan have already been transferred, the Liberal government can ensure that nature is protected on the thirty-seven Saskatchewan grasslands yet to be transferred.

Given the Liberal platform commitment to establish new National Wildlife Areas, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change, should move forward quickly on public consultations towards establishing a National Wildlife Area (NWA) for the 28,000 hectare Govenlock grasslands and adjacent Nashlyn and Battle Creek grasslands to protect nature while providing security of tenure for ongoing cattle ranching.

A pause on transfers of federally managed grasslands in Saskatchewan should be part of a strategy to conserve native grasslands across the prairies by supporting positive stewardship practices by ranchers and nature groups on private lands as well as establishing protected areas such as NWAs.

Send a letter today urging the Minister of of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister Environment and Climate Change to put the transfers of federally managed grasslands on hold until a nature protection plan is in place, and to begin discussions with provincial governments, ranchers, and nature and aboriginal groups on a strategy to save Canada’s prairie grasslands.

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, ON  K1M 1A9

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, ON  K1M 1A9

In a hurry? Then simply sign the petition to the right.
To: The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Body: We, the undersigned, petition the Ministers of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Environment and Climate Change to stop the transfer of federally managed grasslands in Saskatchewan until a nature protection plan is in place and begin discussions with provincial governments, ranchers, and nature and aboriginal groups on a strategy to save Canada’s prairie grasslands.

 

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