Saskatchewan’s Representative Areas Network Grows By 74,000 Acres
Approximately 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares [ha]) of land has been added to Saskatchewan’s Representative Areas Network (RAN), through a stakeholder agreement and transfer of land from another government ministry.
The RAN is a network of ecologically important land and water areas across the province that currently protects more than 15.8 million acres (6.4 million ha).
The Ministry of Environment and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) have agreed to co-operate on protected areas management with the addition of approximately 70,000 acres (28,000 ha) of SWF-owned land to the RAN. Just over 4,000 acres (1,700 ha) transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture will also be added to the network.
“Expanding our Representative Areas Network protects more natural and cultural land features for the future,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Co-operation with partner organizations and other ministries allows us to enhance the network’s valuable contributions to ecological integrity, wildlife habitat, and as benchmarks to assess the environmental impacts of human activities.”
- The Ministry of Agriculture is transferring nearly 80,000 acres (32,000 ha) of Crown land with little to no agricultural potential to the Ministry of Environment.
- Almost 66,000 acres (27,000 ha) of this land will be added to the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund (FWDF), and managed as wildlife habitat.
- At the same time, the Ministry of Environment will transfer just over 4,200 acres (1,700 ha) of Crown land in agricultural use to the Ministry of Agriculture.
“These land transfers are part of ongoing efforts by the two ministries to make sure that public lands are appropriately and sustainably managed,” Duncan said. “As time goes by and situations evolve, some lands are more appropriate for the Ministry of Agriculture, and some more appropriate for Environment. This change in designation will be enjoyed by all Saskatchewan residents who appreciate wildlife and the outdoors. The amendment will also contribute to our province’s climate change objectives by enhancing resiliency to extreme weather events.”
“We applaud the Saskatchewan government for supporting this extremely proactive initiative, recognizing the societal and ecological values of these lands,” SWF Executive Director Darrell Crabbe said. “We are very optimistic that this initial transfer will pave the way for future reallocations.”
The FWDF receives a portion of revenue from trapping, angling and hunting licences, and supports projects to protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat while ensuring continuing access for hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. There are now nearly 300,000 acres (122,000 ha) of FWDF lands.
FWDF lands are overseen by a board, with representatives from the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Ministry of Environment.