Projects Inventory

CRSB Member

Multisar

Brad Downey

Alberta Conservation Association

April 2002 - On-going

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

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.

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.
    • We monitor riparian health and implement strategies to reduce impacts around wetlands and riparian areas to improve water quality and provide alternate watering site for cattle which provides improved water quality and is linked to higher weight gains.

  • Soil health is maintained or enhanced.
    • Range assessments are link to soils types and plant communities expected to be present. Erosion issues are documented, and recommendations are provided.
  • Grasslands, tame pastures and native ecosystems are maintained or enhanced.
    • Detailed range inventoried and range health assessments are completed for the property. This is a snap shot in time on where the producer’s land currently sits in terms of the range health and components like litter, weed issues. These assessments are discussed as a group with the producer and ideas are generated to maintain and improve range health where needed.

  • Habitat for wildlife is maintained or enhanced, and wildlife conflict prevention is managed.
    • Detailed wildlife assessments looking at mammals, herptiles, fish, avian, and starting into pollinators provides produces with a snap shot of what their property currently supports. Information is linked up with riparian and range assessments and generated discussion on how to maintain and further create additional habitat for several species including species at risk.

Communication Tools:

Information relating to beneficial management practices, fact sheets, and videos can be found on the MULTISAR website. We also have a Twitter and Facebook account.

The MULTISAR Program focuses their efforts in the Milk River and South Saskatchewan Watersheds with over 600,000 acres already collaborating in the program and a waiting list for producers interested in being involved. Due to the success of the MULTISAR Program we are scaling this program up and developing the Species Habitat Assessment and Ranching Partnership (SHARP) Project for the North Saskatchewan Watershed. This project will follow the same principles as the MULTISAR Program but without the species at risk focus.

Tagged as: Environment