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Reality Check

RC-05: Community Pastures - Can We Protect These Lands?

Date Posted: May 7, 2011

There are 22 community pastures in Manitoba. The system provides grazing lands for producers, and was established because of impacts on grazing lands from the 'dirty thirties'. Alberta and Saskatchewan also have community pasture systems, though with differences in administration, etc.

Manitoba's network of community pastures is administered by Agriculture Canada, but made up of provincial crown lands. Costs for managing and use of pastures is funded almost entirely from fees producers pay for grazing access.

Certain of Manitoba's community pastures are intact ecosystems, with few changes to habitat. Others have drainage, tillage, and forage projects. Inventory and fieldwork have verified the biodiversity value of our community pastures.

Annual management plans, and agreements between the federal and provincial governments administer the community pastures. Regulations under our Crown Lands Act designate the pastures. Saskatchewan took steps to protect most of their community pasture lands several years ago, including these in the province's network of protected areas.

Steps to protect grazing access and rights, while ensuring the community pastures are not subject to forestry, mining, hydro, oil or gas development would mean that Manitoba's community pastures are protected areas.

Recently Langford and Lansdowne Municipalities received a Municipal Excellence award due to their decision to protect and manage for long term sustainability the Langford Community Pasture. This amounts to 3, 975 Ha (9,822 acres) of municipally owned native grassland being perpetually protected.

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