Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Alberta Advantage: a pasture management model from our neighbours

some of the folks involved with making the management of Antelope Creek Ranch work for the wider public interest
Here is a story that shows how a group of stakeholders and government agencies aiming to conserve grassland ecology can work with a large piece of grassland to maximize livestock gains while at the same time minimizing the damage from oil and gas development and ensuring that wildlife habitat is protected.

Antelope Creek Ranch, near Brooks, Alberta, is a model that Saskatchewan's PFRA grazing patrons and conservation community might want to take a close look at. The 5000 plus acres of pasture land are managed cooperatively in partnership with the Alberta Fish and Game Association (AFGA), Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and Wildlife Habitat Canada (WHC). Here is a quote from the history section of their website, but the whole site is worth a good look.
The ACR celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006, testament to a success story that it is possible for ranching, oil and gas operations and wildlife to co-exist on the same property. The ranch is managed for livestock and wildlife amid long-standing EnCana Corporation (formerly Pan Canadian Energy Corporation), and relatively recent Pengrowth Energy Trust (formerly Murphy Oil) oil and gas operations – a work in progress to promote the wise use of native mixed grass prairie in southern Alberta, and elsewhere in western Canada.
One of the nice features of the Antelope Creek Ranch is that they encourage day hikers and wildlife viewers. In fact the website (see below for a screen capture) suggests birdwatchers and hunters alike contact the ranch managers for favourable locations for their chosen activity.

Wouldn't you like to see some of Saskatchewan's PFRA pastures managed this way? There is no reason why we couldn't adapt the model and make it work for our grazing patrons and the ecosystems contained in the first ten pastures to be transferred first to provincial jurisdiction.

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