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Conservation Efforts Focus On Prairie Community Pastures

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, there are 141 Community Pastures that cover an area twice the size of Prince Edward Island and support at least 36 bird and plant species at risk. According the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), the continued existence and good management of these lands contributes to biodiversity, water quality, soil conservation, and storing carbon.
 
Native grasslands are the most endangered ecosystem on the planet. Community pastures are a precious ecological, societal, and economic resource. Now largely cared for by local and provincial community groups, there is a new opportunity for people to help conserve these grassland, forest, and wetland habitats across western Canada.
 
These lands also improve human wellbeing by supporting a sustainable livestock industry, and by providing an important connection to the land. Community pastures are very important to biodiversity and our organization is working with those who care for Community Pastures to maintain them as part of the Prairie’s livestock economy.
 
NCC is listing some of the different ways Community Pastures impact people, why they should care and how they can help:
 
- It is not too late to protect native prairie grasslands over the long-term. There are still big pieces of prairie with some connectivity, big enough that they are functioning landscapes for managed grazing and integrated weed management plans.
 
- Pasture Managers and their boards have been tasked with managing Crown land. These lands are still accessed by the public, but it is important that you approach the groups responsible for their management and ask permission and then follow their rules because they are trying to keep people safe, keep invasive species for entering, trying to keep infrastructure intact (fences and wells are expensive) so that they can keep the pasture going for the next couple of generations.
 
- If you work on a community pasture for your business to haul gravel, drill wells, put in pipelines, remember that the regulations put in place to keep these places sustainable are important and make a difference.
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