The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association has announced a partnership with Parks Canada’s Grasslands National Park on a pilot project to conserve habitat for species at risk.
Those species include the Greater Sage Grouse, Sprague’s Pipit and Chestnut Collared Longspur.
Stock Growers president Shane Jahnke says the project is noteworthy because Parks Canada is using cattle to help manage the park.
He says the project shows the important benefits of cattle grazing for the environment.
Grasslands National Park is implementing recovery and conservation for the Greater Sage Grouse in the East Block of the park by restoring grazing after being excluded for more than 20 years.
The project area covers 40 thousand acres of public and private land, much of which is considered critical habitat for the grouse, pipits and longspurs.
Local ranchers will manage grazing on portions of the East Block of Grasslands National park and their adjacent private land with a goal of achieving habitat targets for the three species.
The targets are set by the South of the Divide Conservation Action program.
Ranchers benefit when they meet habitat targets through reduced grazing fees and a financial incentive from the Stock
Growers through a species at risk partnership program, with suppport from climate change Canada.
Because of the large, remote landscape, Jahnke says fencing is not as practical for management so there will be traditional practice of riding as well as salt tub placement, topography and time of use.
To support targets, the Stock Growers provide funding for programming and monitoring to the South of the Divide Conservation Action program.
Jahnke says the program offers an opportunity for collaboration between ranchers, parks and scientists to help species recover and measure conservation benefits.