Projects Inventory

Non-Member

Multiple Approaches to Habitat Conservation: Finding the Right Fit Encourages Producers to Manage for Species at Risk Habitat

TOM HARRISON

SOUTH OF THE DIVIDE CONSERVATION ACTION PROGRAM INC.

September 2015 - March 2020

Audience(s): Cow-Calf   Project Type(s): Pilot

The South of the Divide Conservation Action Program Inc. (SODCAP Inc.) is a non profit group created to implement a multi species at risk action plan in southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. Along with one of their board members, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA), SODCAP Inc. is investigating new and innovative programs that would effectively encourage producers to make species at risk a priority in their management decision making on their ranches. SSGA has secured funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to evaluate six programming options. The options include:  

  • Results Based Conservation Agreements
  • Habitat Management Agreements
  • Habitat Restoration Agreements
  • Grass Banking
  • Niche Product Branding
  • Term Conservation Easements

To date 30 agricultural producers, including multi-producer groups, have signed legally binding agreements with the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association that impact approximately 200,000 acres of native grasslands and species at risk habitat.  

The non prescriptive results based programming option appears to be the most popular agreement among producers but habitat management agreements are required where active intervention is needed (e.g. invasive species control) or where specific habitat requirements of species at risk do not exceed normal agricultural practices (e.g. swift fox). Restoration appears to be very expensive and there is a reluctance for lands to be removed from annual production and converted to native seeding. Niche Product Branding and Grass Banking can fill niche roles. There is very little interest in securement options such as conservation easements.

Goals:

Goal #3: Enhance ecosystem services and biodiversity on lands managed by beef producers

Indicators Addressed:
  • Riparian areas, wetlands, surface and ground water sources and nutrient runoff are responsibly managed to help maintain or enhance watershed health.
  • Grasslands, tame pastures and native ecosystems are maintained or enhanced.
  • Habitat for wildlife is maintained or enhanced, and wildlife conflict prevention is managed.
  • Operation is involved in its community (community is defined by each individual).

Animal Health and Welfare should not be sacrificed to achieve habitat objectives in this project.

Communication Tools:

On going communication of this project is important to its success. Communication activities include presentations at international events such as the International Rangeland Congress, Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference, Transboundary Grassland Workshop and NFWF Partnership Workshop.

Presentations are also made at local extension events, on line webinars, to committees such as CCA Environmental Committee and Species At Risk Coordinating Committee. Field tours have been organized for national and international guests, politicians, government bureaucrats, agricultural producers, producer associations, industry companies and conservation advocates.

Printed material including annual reports and articles in newspapers, industry publications and conference proceedings have been published. Factsheets and information bulletins have been produced for public distribution. Events and progress is promoted through social media on websites, Twitter and Facebook and progress of the project has been tracked by conventional media sources including radio. Please refer to www.sodcap.com and www.skstockgrower.com for additional information.

Tagged as: Environment