The SSRP has been a long time in the making. Over three phases of consultation we heard from 7,500 Albertans and received 2,000 online workbooks and written submissions.
The views and ideas we heard were diverse to say the least (you can check out all the summaries of the consultation sessions here). But there were also some concerns and ideas that we heard in almost every community we visited. We’ve made changes based on those comments.
Today, we’re happy to announce that the SSRP has been finalized. Here are some of the changes we’ve made to reflect your feedback:
- More land for the Castle Wildland Provincial Park (now 54,588 hectares) and Pekisko Heritage Rangeland (34,356 hectares)
- A formal commitment to work with our stakeholders to explore conservation opportunities in the Twin River and Onefour Heritage Rangeland Natural Areas of the grasslands
- Improved connectivity for wildlife habitats, both within the South Saskatchewan region and connecting to other regions
- A commitment to explore new tools and incentives for stewardship and conservation on private land
- Longer terms for grazing leases (20 years instead of 10)
That’s not all that’s in the plan, of course. It’s a blueprint for how we’ll balance development in the South Sask region with protecting its resources – so it sets objectives for conservation; monitoring and environmental management; biodiversity; recreation; private land stewardship; recreation – and lots more.
If you’d like the full scoop on the plan, you can check it out here. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be blogging about some of the ‘hot topics’ that came up at our SSRP community sessions, explaining how the finished plan will address the concerns that we heard. We’ll talk about:
- How we decide where to create new conservation areas
- What wildlife habitat connectivity means and why it’s important
- Protections for the region’s grasslands
- What the SSRP means for recreation
- Tools for private land stewardship and conservation
- What’s next for air and water quality frameworks in the region, and how they’ll impact monitoring
Is there a topic you’d like to see covered? Tell us in the comments!