Research engagement opportunity for landowners and livestock producers in Southwestern Manitoba

The Manitoba IBA program is excited to announce the launch of a new research project aimed at understanding livestock producer and landowner motivations for engaging in grassland conservation activities. Because much of Manitoba’s high-quality native grasslands are privately owned, it is essential that conservation organisations are able to work collaboratively with the people who own and work on the land. That is why the Manitoba IBA Program and Bird Studies Canada, with the support of Manitoba Habitat and Heritage Corporation, West Souris River Conservation District, and Turtle Mountain Conservation District will seek to recruit landowners and producers to participate in an online survey. Participation in this survey will help us understand local people’s environmental values and views on avian Species-At-Risk. Through better understanding landowners and producers, we hope to identify practical ways of addressing conservation issues in Southwestern Manitoba.

Southwestern Manitoba is a stronghold for much of the province’s remaining high-quality mixed-grass prairie habitats. Four Manitoba Important Bird Areas (IBAs) can be found in the Southwest, including our newest addition: Ellice-Archie and Spy Hill Community Pastures Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. The three other IBAs include: Whitewater Lake, Oak Lake/Plum Lakes, and Southwestern Manitoba Mixed-Grass Prairie.  Southwestern Manitoba is home to many avian Species-At-Risk, such as the Chestnut-collared Longspur, Sprague’s Pipit, Baird’s Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, and Ferruginous Hawk.

Top left: Chestnut-collared Longspur, bottom left: Loggerhead Shrike, top right: Baird’s Sparrow, middle right: Sprague’s Pipit, bottom right: Ferruginous Hawk. Photos taken by Christian Artuso. 

In the spring of this year, the 12th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference (PCESC) took place in Winnipeg. The theme of this conference was “working landscapes”, in acknowledgement of the fundamental role that landowners and producers play in grassland conservation across the prairie provinces. Helping landowners and producers retain and manage grassland properties is vital for supporting the retention and recovery of our grassland Species-At-Risk.

If you are a landowner or livestock producer in Southwestern Manitoba and would like to participate in this project, you may proceed to the online survey HERE. Surveys must be completed by November 10th, 2019. Participants will also have a chance to enter a contest to win a $100 pre-paid VISA card (winning ballot will be drawn on November 25th, 2019).

Lynnea Parker is the coordinator for this project.

Funding for this research project has been provided by Bird Studies Canada through the Manitoba Conservation Trust and a Young Professional Stewardship grant awarded at the PCESC this spring.