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Opposition to sale of native grassland

posted Mar 28, 2020, 4:54 AM by Action for Agriculture

Honourable Jason Kenney

Premier of Alberta


Honorable Jason Nixon,
Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks

Re: Proposed Sale of Public Land - SE 31-9-13-W4 - Taber, Alberta

Dear Premier Kenney and Minister Nixon;

On behalf of Action for Agriculture (AFA) I am writing to express concern about the proposed sale of the native grass quarter of public land, SE 31-9-13-W4, located near Taber. For 30 years AFA has advocated for policies that maintain agriculture on the landscape. Conserving and improving ecological services are an important component of a resilient agricultural landscape.

Native prairie is a threatened ecosystem in Alberta. Continued loss of those lands decreases drought resiliency, threatens the survival of more than 60 prairie species at risk and releases carbon to the atmosphere.

There is no record of public consultation about the sale. Selling Crown native grassland is contrary to current public opinion.

AFA supports the objectives of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan that came into effect on September 1, 2014. The plan commits to “reducing native grassland conversion” and “promoting efficient use of land to reduce human footprint on the landscape”.

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative, State of Grassland Birds 2016 report, states that remnant habitat is vitally important to the conservation of grassland birds. Virtually all grassland species are in sharp decline. This quarter of native grass is important!

AFA is asking for an explanation of the decision-making process involved and who and how the assessment was made to put this quarter up for sale especially with no easement to protect the native grassland.

AFA respectfully requests that if this quarter is to be sold a conservation easement preventing cultivation be placed on the title.

We look forward to your timely response.

Doug Wray,

Chairman Action for Agriculture
Submitted on behalf of the Board of Directors

Cc Minister Dreeshen, Honourable Grant Taylor