Birds Canada releases grassland conservation guide

·2 min read

Rural landowners have several options for land stewardship programs, but a new guide could help them consider them all in one place.

Birds Canada, a non-profit charity, has released the Grasslands Conservation Incentives Guide, a “one stop shop” guide to the incentives and programs available for prairie working landscapes.

Available on the organization’s website (birdscanada.org), the guide summarizes the stewardship initiatives active across the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. These programs can help Canada’s grassland bird populations, of which 60 per cent have disappeared since 1970, according to Birds Canada.

According to Alyssa Robb, Wheatland County environmental coordinator, the guide offers an overview of national and provincial programs targeting the protection of grasslands and other environmentally important features, such as wetlands. It also highlights some of the bird species that inhabit grassland habitats in Wheatland County and other regions of the prairies.

“It’s not just a document about resources that are available, it’s also informative,” said Robb.

In Wheatland County, one of the national programs is ALUS.

“We have an active ALUS program extending funding to landowners and projects to provide ecological goods and services on the landscape, such as providing habitat for birds,” said Robb.

Provincial programming active in Wheatland County includes the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Cows and Fish (through the county’s ALUS program) and Ducks Unlimited Canada, Alberta, she explained.

Additionally, the county has extended some MULTISAR education resources (related to grassland species at risk) to the community and are members in two watershed groups: the Bow River Basin Council and the Red Deer Watershed Alliance.

“It’s neat to see quite a large conservation community available for us to pull resources and ideas from, so if we were not already involved in a lot of these programs, it’d be a great spot to find them,” said Robb.

Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times