Grass Banks are conservation tools have used extensively by ranching communities in the United States with significant success. According to the Natural Resource Conservation Services, grass banks are a physical place where where forage is made available to ranchers, at a reduced fee, in exhange for tangible conservation benefits. Its a community based conservation plan that provides meaningful benefits for both the environment and the ranchers.
In partnership with Grasslands National Park, SODCAP Inc. and Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, we are excited to offer Grass Banks to help producers manage their own land while having access to grazing Grasslands National Park for a reduced fee if environmental and habitat outcomes must be meet on both privately managed land and park land.
Some species that habitat targets have been created for are Spraque’s Pipit, Greater Sage Grouse and Chestnut Collared Longspur. The habitats are managed through different grazing methods to account for multi-species benefits. Monitoring on both privately managed land and GNP land will be done by SODCAP Inc. in order to ensure environmental and habitat outcomes are being met.
The Grasslands National Park can be rugged landscape with tough terrain that poses difficulty when it comes to managing grazing. Fencing is not as feasible and can also pose threats to wildlife. Instead, management can be done by horse back riding, strategic placement of salt/lick tubs and time of use.
This in a unique opportunity to collaborate with ranchers, Parks Canada and scientists. It will also help develop positive relationships within the communities involved.
We are looking to expand this program to more ranchers surrounding the Grasslands National Park and include larger areas within park boundaries.
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