Southeastern Alberta is home to the highest density of At Risk wildlife in Alberta. MULTISAR is a multi-species stewardship program for species at risk focusing on the Milk River watershed and portions of the South Saskatchewan drainage. The program is a collaborative effort between landowners, ACA, Alberta Environment and Parks, and Prairie Conservation Forum. In 2014/15, we completed wildlife and range surveys on 87,000 acres (35,207 hectares) of land and completed five habitat plans for landowners to help them incorporate wildlife habitat needs into their ranching practices. Endangered greater short-horned lizards and greater sage grouse, as well as Threatened ferruginous hawks, chestnut-collared longspurs, yellow-bellied racers, and Sprague’s pipits, are just a few of the species identified on these lands. We implemented enhancements on six properties, including the ongoing restoration of 1,300 acres (526 hectares) back to native grass through broadleaf spraying for Canada thistle; planting 4,000 silver sagebrush, golden bean and wild vetch plugs; and seeding two fields back to wheat to help control weeds and prepare the sites for seeding in the spring. We developed one upland watering site to attract cattle away from riparian areas and two dugouts in a tamed pasture to keep cattle on the uplands and allow the riparian system to recover. Landowners installed 9 km of wildlife-friendly fencing to increase permeability of fence lines for pronghorn movement. Through open communication, we continue to build long-term relationships with landholders and increase awareness of species at risk. These relationships have helped us implement stewardship activities on 310,000 acres of land that enhance wildlife habitat and complement the business strategies of individual landholders.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Government of Canada, Landholders, Prairie Conservation Forum
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