Posts Tagged "endangered species"

Saskatchewan election – vote for the grasslands

Posted by on 3. April 2016 in Blog / Journal, News & Events | Comments Off on Saskatchewan election – vote for the grasslands

Saskatchewan election – vote for the grasslands

On the eve of the 2016 Saskatchewan election, it is disappointing to see that the environment and sustainable development have not been a serious topic of debate. We have heard almost nothing what the major political parties will do to safeguard our disappearing native prairie landscapes. The prairie ecosystem is one of the most altered and threatened in North America; only 20% of Saskatchewan’s native prairie remain, and in some areas, such as in the Regina Plains, there are less than 1% native prairie left. Even protected areas do not have a secure future, as a series of political measures have recently undercut their status.     Why should we be concerned how our elected leaders will manage natural resources that belong to the people of Saskatchewan? When we look at the most imperilled ecosystem in Canada, there many reasons why Saskatchewan grasslands matter (as compiled by writer and naturalist Trevor Herriot): Because they are rare and threatened by cultivation and other kinds of development. Because they support endangered species. Because they are diverse. Because they protect soil and water Because they sequester carbon. Because they support ranching economy and culture. Because they contain the cultural heritage of the prairie. Because people need native prairie places they can visit. Because all natural land has value that goes beyond economics. Because we have a responsibility to the future.     When you go to the polls tomorrow to elect the provincial government for the next four years, vote for a MLA representative that cares about, and is interested is supporting our grassland heritage.  ...

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Ian Toews’ Grasslands film screening in Saskatoon

Posted by on 14. April 2015 in Blog / Journal, Conservation | Comments Off on Ian Toews’ Grasslands film screening in Saskatoon

Ian Toews’ Grasslands film screening in Saskatoon

Saskatoon audiences will have an opportunity to view the poetic documentary about Saskatchewan grasslands this week. The film, produced by Gemini award winning filmmaker Ian Toews, will be shown on big screen at the Frances Morrison Central Library theatre, 311 – 23rd Street East in Saskatoon on Thursday, April 16, 2015 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is no admission charge and everyone is invited; bring along a friend or two. Following the screening, author and naturalist Trevor Herriot will provide an update on the state of the province’s grassland, and the work of Public Pastures – Public Interest (a citizen group that draws together rural and urban Canadians who share an interest in conserving public grasslands in Saskatchewan). Author Candace Savage will lead the discussion that follows. We will finish the evening with an informal get-together and refreshments.     The Grasslands documentary is a love letter to Saskatchewan prairies: endangered Greater Sage Grouse perform their mating ritual, herds of bison roam the vast open landscapes. We hear from ranchers and First Nations about their connection to the land. Conservation biologists explain the complexity of protecting the precious remnants of native prairie.     “This film illustrates the beauty and fragility of the grasslands ecosystem, threats to its preservation and efforts to sustain it,” said Trevor Herriot. “The film has been drawing enthusiastic audiences all over the province, a testament the value that Saskatchewan people place on our grasslands. It is an inspiration to those working to preserve this heritage for future generations.” “I wanted to convey that prairie was an expansive, flowing mass of grasslands. And then show people what it is today and what is being done to preserve it,” said the filmmaker and producer Ian Toews.     Originally from Saskatchewan, Toews earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film production from the University of Regina. His works are primarily concerned with the natural environment and often, its degradation. He is the producer, director, and DOP of 7 short films, more than 60 television episodes, and 5 full-length documentaries. Ian Toews’ films and videos have been widely acclaimed and awarded with numerous international awards, including the Grand Prix at the Tampere International Film Festival, the Jury Award at the New York Exposition of Short Film, Canadian Film & Television Producer’s Association Indie Award, 5 Gemini Award nominations, a Canadian Screen Award nomination, and a 2008 Gemini Award win for Best Arts Documentary Program or Series for the long-running arts series “Landscape as Muse”. Toews has screened his films in over 50 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia. The official Grasslands movie web site: www.grasslandsdocumentary.com You can see the trailer at vimeo.com/102805861 * Portions of this blog post contain information from a press release that I received this morning.      ...

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World Wildife Day – March 3, 2014

Posted by on 4. March 2014 in Blog / Journal, Conservation | 2 comments

World Wildife Day – March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014 has been designated the first ever World Wildlife Day by the United Nations. It is an opportunity to celebrate our planet’s incredible variety of animals and plants, and to raise awareness about the need for global conservation of all living creatures on our planet. This day was chosen as the World Wildlife Day as it was on this day the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was adopted. The Convention plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ well being. Here is a small gallery of images showing wild creatures that can be found on the Northern Great Plains. Burrowing owl. Great Sand Hills, Saskatchewan Black-tailed prairie dog, American Prairie Reserve, Montana Northern Showeler, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan American Avocets. Saskatoon,Saskatchewan Western Madowlark. Zortman, Montana Mule deer. Great Sand Hills, Saskatchewan Canada Goose. Sakatoon, Saskatchewan Least Bittern. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Plains bison grazing. Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan...

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Greater Sage Grouse emergency protection order takes effect

Posted by on 18. February 2014 in Blog / Journal, Conservation | Comments Off on Greater Sage Grouse emergency protection order takes effect

Greater Sage Grouse emergency protection order takes effect

In December of 2013, the Canadian government announced an emergency order to enhance protection of the critically endangered Greater Sage Grouse .  The order would restrict certain types of industrial activity (like gravel, oil or gas extraction, construction of new roads etc.) during important parts of the Sage Grouse’s life cycle and adopting land use practices in areas near the Sage Grouse habitat that could impact the dwindling populations. The emergency protection order came into effect today. I wrote about the Greater Sage Grouse emergency protection order in a previous blog post.     The emergency protection order will impose restrictions to protect the Sage Grouse habitat on approximately 1,700 square kilometres of provincial and federal Crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The birds depend on silver sagebrush for food and shelter and share their habitat with many threatened prairie species like burrowing owls and swift fox. The new measures will not affect activities on private land, nor will they restrict grazing of domestic animals on leased provincial and federal Crown lands. An emergency order is a rare conservation measure. It can be issued under Canada’s Species At Risk Act when a species faces “imminent threats to its survival” and existing protection measures are deemed inadequate. Between 1988 and 2006, the Greater Sage Grouse populations in Canada declined by nearly 90 percent. Some estimates show that there might be only 14 males left in Alberta (with the total population of approximately 30 birds) and only 17 males were counted at active breeding grounds in Saskatchewan. The emergency protection order is a last minute measure, brought in attempt to prevent the disappearance of Sage Grouse from Canada....

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Future of native grasslands in doubt – interview with Trevor Herriot

Posted by on 11. February 2014 in Blog / Journal, Conservation, News & Events | Comments Off on Future of native grasslands in doubt – interview with Trevor Herriot

Future of native grasslands in doubt – interview with Trevor Herriot

Radio Canada International has posted an interview with the naturalist and Saskatchewan writer Trevor Herriot about the uncertain future of the native prairie grasslands found on former PFRA community pastures. One of my images of a stallion running through a prairie with sage brush was used as a page opener for the story posted on RCI web site.   During the interview, Trevor spoke eloquently about the state of native prairie in Saskatchewan and all the wildlife that depends on the remaining large tracts of grasslands found on the former Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) community pastures. He also stressed the importance of a well-functioning pasture system for the small and medium-sized ranching operations and communities in rural Saskatchewan.  At the later part of the interview, Trevor advanced the idea of establishing a heritage rangeland on a set of three PFRA pastures in the extreme south-west corner of Saskatchewan. The tree pastures in question; Govenlock, Nashlyn and Battle Creek cover over 840 square kilometres of vast open prairie. This set of community pastures has been recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an Important Bird Area for it’s significance to local and migrating bird populations. There is also a very important human heritage element at play – the great North American writer and naturalist Wallace Stegner’s family  homestead was located within the Battle Creek PFRA pasture. One of (many) Wallace Stegner’s legacies is a 2400 word letter that he wrote shortly after returning from a visit to southern Saskatchewan where he worked on the Wolf Willow, a childhood autobiography and a breathtaking account of life on the unbroken prairie of southwest Saskatchewan. The Wilderness Letter as it is now known, had an enormous influence in the movement to pass The Wilderness Act of 1964, a federal legislation that created the legal definition of wilderness in the USA. The Act created a formal mechanism to designate and protect millions of acres of wilderness on federal land in the USA. Unfortunately for Canadians, a similar legislation does not exist in our country. You can listen to the full 10 minute interview by clicking on the “Listen” button at the Radio Canada International web site. About the image: it was getting dark late in the day so I set the sensitivity to ISO 640, to alow for a slightly faster shutter speed. I panned the camera and followed the movement of the horse; that is why the sagebrush is slightly blurred. I selectively sharpened the horse a bit, to make it stand out from the surrounding...

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