Over 1000 species make their home on Canadian rangelands, their habitat regularly overlapping with agricultural landscapes, particularly livestock grazing operations. Existing producer management is often what has allowed the species to persist, but there are supplementary opportunities to further enhance the habitat quality for wildlife species on those lands.
Through funding from the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) Program, CRSB is partnering with members, including Alberta Beef Producers, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, MultiSAR and Cows and Fish to increase, maintain and improve habitat for species at risk (SAR) within the Grassland Natural Region of Alberta. The project is delivered by Cows and Fish and MultiSAR in partnership with voluntary producers. The project focuses on knowledge sharing, the completion of habitat assessments, development of voluntary Habitat Conservation Strategies (HCS), and subsequent implementation and monitoring of beneficial management practices.
The project covers 65,000 acres in Southern Alberta and includes ranchers from the Saskatchewan border through to the Alberta Foothills. Habitat enhancement include things such as water development projects, wildlife friendly fencing, and development of specific habitat through structures such as hawk poles.
During 2016 and 2017, baseline environmental inventories were completed on a total of ten ranches that covered approximately 68,000 acres. The project has collaborated with ranchers to implement 15 habitat enhancements as part of their Habitat Conservation Strategies. An Habitat Conservation Strategy includes an assessment of the natural resources such as plant communities, range health, wildlife biodiversity, and riparian health on the property. In addition to the baseline assessment, the HCS provides recommendations for maintaining or enhancing these resources.
Enhancements include things such as:
Future enhancements include several spring developments to reduce pressure on those springs and associated riparian areas, hawk pole installation for Ferruginous Hawks that also assist in the control of Richardson’s Ground Squirrels, completion of pasture pipeline to aid in cattle distribution, and wire wrapping trees to protect them from beaver damage.
Funding was received from Environment and Climate Change Canada through the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) Funding stream.
MultiSAR is an Alberta-based habitat stewardship program that works with producers to maintain or improve habitat for Species at Risk, and assist with species recovery using solutions that are compatible with agricultural operations. MultiSAR is a collaboration between Alberta Conservation Association, the Government of Alberta and the Prairie Conservation Forum.
Cows and Fish: The Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society, known as Cows and Fish, is a voluntary organization focused on improving appreciation for and awareness of, riparian areas and their management by fostering riparian stewardship.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is the national voice of Canada’s 68,500 beef farms. Its structure represents every phase of the production system including the purebred, cow/calf, backgrounding and feedlot sectors. The CCA was founded by producers and is led by a producer-elected board of directors from across Canada.
Alberta Beef Producers is run by producers for producers, representing the collective interest of close to 19,000 beef producers, and is dedicated to maintaining a truly sustainable, competitive industry for the benefit of all Albertans.