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What’s New in the Grasslands?

March 20, 2017

Dear Wilderness Defender,

Grasslands are the most altered, most endangered, and least protected ecosystem in the planet. In Canada, we’re lucky to be a part of the Northern Great Plains, and we must do our best to protect this amazing region. There’s lots of conservation work going on in the prairies right now!

For instance, our neighbours in Sasktachewan, Public Pastures – Public Interest (PPPI) have launched an official parliamentary petition to create a multi-use prairie conservation network on all former PFRA Community Pastures. Read on for more!

AWA Conservation Specialist


PFRA Pastures!
PFRA community pastures were originally established in the 1930s to manage soil erosion. They contain some of the largest surviving remnants of old growth native prairie in Canada, crucial for dozens of listed species at risk. In 2012, the government divested PFRA community pastures and transfered them to the provinces.

In February 2016, we wrote requesting the federal government reconsider the decision to transfer PFRA land to the provinces, so they are maintained in the public interest.

Public Pastures – Public Interest (PPPI) is a group bringing together rural and urban Canadians who share an interest in protecting Saskatchewan’s prairie. They recently submitted a petition, calling upon the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to work together to create a multi-use prarie conservation network on all former PFRA Community Pasures. To fill out the petition, visit the website.

Govenlock Pasture
This important pasture near the Alberta-Saskatchewan Border is one pasture that has been secured in federal hands. However, no legislated protection has been secured. AWA has called for Govenlock to be established as a National Wildlife Area and continues to push for this a crucial part of grassland conservation.

“Prairie’s Got the Goods” Week:
Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan is hosting “Prairie’s Got The Goods” Week! All events are free, including webinars and presentations at Swift Current and Regina. Visit the website for details, or follow SKPCAP on Facebook.

Grassland conservation in Milk River Basin
Wideview Complex is Canada’s newest grassland conservation area! The Nature Conservancy of Canada announced the 1,222 hectare area this week. It’s next to Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, within the Milk River Basin. AWA commends this project, as real legislated protection is so desperately needed for Canada’s prairies.

Wideview Complex is in the same natural region as Milk River – Sage Creek in Alberta, pictured here. Photo: B. Verbeek
Alberta Prairie Hike!
An epic trip is being planned for this summer from May to June. Long-time AWA supporter and winner of AWA Wilderness Defenders Award Gus Yaki is organizing a tour across southern Alberta from the Saskatchewan to BC border, to record the unique flora, fauna and features of the route. The trip is full, but keep your eyes and ears out as AWA will aim to keep you updated about this exciting adventure!


Important links:
Fill out the PPPI’s Petition
NDP Parks Critic request to government
PPPI in the news
Climb for Wilderness
Prairie’s Got The Goods

I needed something to pare the fat off my soul, to make me grateful again for being alive. And I knew… There is nothing like a wilderness journey for rekindling the fires of life.
- Colin Fletcher
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