The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA), along with the South of the Divide Conservation Action Program Inc. (SODCAP), has received US$250,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The money will be used to implement results-based conservation agreements with beef producers.
“This NFWF grant demonstrates that our beef producers in Saskatchewan are actively engaged in voluntary stewardship of grasslands which contributes to conservation of species-at-risk,” says SSGA president Bill Huber.
NFWF is a U.S.-based conservation organization that works with partners to support results-oriented projects for forest and grassland species. The money will be used together with funds from the Habitat Stewardship Program that were awarded to the SSGA and SODCAP last year.
In total, over the course of three years, $262,5000 will be allocated to two grazing corporations, the Val Marie Grazing Corp. and the Beaver Valley Grazing Corp., to protect 25,000 acres of Greater Sage Grouse Critical Habitat under the results-based conservation agreements.
According to a news release, the grazing corporations will be responsible for managing 160,000 acres of native grasslands, which includes critical habitat for several species in addition to the greater sage grouse, such as Sprague’s pipit, swift fox and Mormon metalmark.
Cattle producers who own or manage critical habitat for species-at-risk in southwest Saskatchewan are eligible to sign results-based conservation agreements. These producers will be expected to meet annual habitat targets for the term of the three-year agreements.
“The funding being awarded to our corporations will assist in sustaining the stewardship and protection of critical habitat for species-at-risk within our pasture’s management mandate,” says Clint Christianson, president of Val Marie Grazing Corp.