The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) will continue its species at risk stewardship activities with a $1.27 million contribution from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCA).
The Species At Risk Partnership on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) initiative will be delivered in partnership with MULTISAR, Cows and Fish, Alberta Beef Producers, and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
The additional funding allows CCA to continue conservation activities with beef producers to protect Greater Sage grouse habitat in the southeast Grassland Natural Region in southeastern Alberta, the organization says.
“Strong partnerships with the agricultural sector are essential for the protection of biodiversity and wildlife habitat,” says Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Our government is pleased to support the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association through the Species At Risk Partnership on Agricultural Lands fund. Through ongoing collaboration, we will continue to conserve important grassland habitat for species at risk, including the iconic Greater Sage-Grouse.”
The previous SARPAL project, which ran from 2015 to 2020, covered over 189,000 acres within the project boundaries in Alberta, working with 24 ranches to bring 45 habitat enhancement strategies into place.
The project brought together conservation groups and beef producers to achieve outcomes for species at risk through ranch management plans, education, habitat conservation strategies and improvements including riparian protection, off-site watering, portable electric fencing, and implementing beneficial management practices.
“This additional funding from ECCC is welcome news and we are excited to take further steps forward working directly with beef producers through SARPAL to make a difference to the protection of Greater Sage Grouse habitat in southeast Alberta,” says Duane Thompson, environment committee chair for CCA.
The next two-year phase of the project will focus on working directly with landowners in the target area to conduct habitat assessments, and develop and employ management strategies. Another objective of the project is to evaluate the feasibility of utilizing new technologies such as virtual fencing to protect sensitive habitats.
Scoping, development, and delivery of innovative term conservation easements with willing landowners will also be part of the project. Term agreements for Greater Sage Grouse critical habitat would be in place for a set period of time.