MULTISAR is a grassroots program that has collaborated with producers for 18 years and focuses on increasing, maintaining, and improving habitat for species at risk within the Grassland Natural Region of Alberta. This partnership involves habitat assessments, development of voluntary habitat conservation strategies, and subsequent implementation and monitoring of on the ground enhancements.
A Habitat Conservation Strategy (HCS) is a five-year extendable voluntary plan that identifies beneficial management practices and habitat improvement recommendations to encourage sustainable ranching operations. We develop these plans after first taking in-depth habitat, wildlife and fish surveys, along with vegetation inventories, and range and riparian health assessments. We evaluate these results with the producer and look at the needs of species at risk and balance the plan with the needs and objectives of the ranching operation. Mutually agreed solutions are adopted and integrated into the strategy, and with priorities listed along with a monitoring plan to assess progress. After signing a five-year stewardship agreement, we assist the producer with implementing the agreed to enhancements and grazing strategies (producer driven i.e. they decide what they want to implement). Progress is re-assessed every five years with adjustments incorporated into a living management plan for the operation. A landowner questionnaire is also completed to identify what is or isn’t working from their perspective, which helps us re-adjust the plan going forward. Another five-year stewardship agreement may be signed for continued implementation of the strategy.