Source: Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association
The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) and the South of the Divide Conservation Action Program Inc. (SODCAP Inc.) are pleased to announce that funding has been secured from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to implement results-based conservation agreements with beef producers.
“This NFWF grant demonstrates that our beef producers in Saskatchewan are actively engaged in voluntary stewardship of grasslands which contributes to conservation of species-at-risk,” stated SSGA President Bill Huber.
The U.S.-based conservation organization, which works with partners to support results-oriented projects for forest and grassland species, has granted $250,000 USD to the SSGA. This funding will be used together with matching funds awarded through the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) in 2018. Environment and Climate Change Canada administers HSP funding for projects that contribute directly to the recovery objectives and population goals of species-at-risk.
Over the course of three years, $262,500 is being allocated to two grazing corporations, the Val Marie Grazing Corp. and the Beaver Valley Grazing Corp., to protect 25,000 acres of Greater Sage Grouse Critical Habitat under the results-based conservation agreements. The two grazing corporations are responsible for managing 160,000 acres of native grasslands, which includes critical habitat for several species in addition to the Greater Sage Grouse, such as Sprague’s Pipit, Swift Fox and Mormon Metalmark.
“The funding being awarded to our corporations will assist in sustaining the stewardship and protection of critical habitat for species-at-risk within our pasture’s management mandate,” said Clint Christianson, President of Val Marie Grazing Corp.
Cattle producers who own or manage critical habitat for species-at-risk in southwest Saskatchewan are eligible to sign results-based conservation agreements. These producers will be expected to meet annual habitat targets for the term of the three-year agreements.
“The whole idea behind these agreements is that we’re not being prescriptive in our management. We’re letting the producers do the decision-making” that supports species-at-risk habitat, stated SODCAP Executive Director Tom Harrison.
“We’re excited about the partnership that we’ve formed with SSGA and SODCAP. The two pastures have worked closely together to present our management challenges of critical habitat to these agencies,” stated Sandy Larson, Chair of Beaver Valley Grazing Corp.