The federal and Saskatchewan governments have finally completed a land swap that started when Ottawa unloaded its former Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration pastures.
Environment Canada will acquire Govenlock, Nashlyn and Battle Creek pastures in southwestern Saskatchewan in exchange for federal land and improvements on 55 former pastures.
The deal involves land such as former pasture manager residences, fences, barns and corrals that were contained within land the province acquired.
Environment Canada will manage the pastures for conservation of species at risk while retaining cattle grazing. The pastures cover 800 sq. kilometers, and the government, conservation groups and ranchers have developed a strategy to manage them in an “economically, socially and environmentally responsible way,” according to a news release.
Ten species at risk are found on the pasture habitat: swift fox, Sprague’s pipit, chestnut-collared longspur, McCown’s longspur, greater sage grouse, burrowing owl, ferruginous hawk, mountain plover, long-billed curlew and northern leopard frog.
The lands involved in the exchange are valued at $64 million each.