Credit: Ducks Unlimited Canada

Prairie Habitat Joint Venture

Land Protection

Agricultural conversion rates for wetlands and grasslands (-0.44% to -2.62%/yr.) currently exceed protection rates in PHJV. To stem ongoing loss, conservation of existing intact native and semi-natural lands (wetland and upland) is a large focus of PHJV programs (allow ag use except cropping; 86,000ac/yr.) – again, targeted to high wetland/waterfowl density landscapes (supported by North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NACWA) match funding). Conservation easements (CE), outright land purchase, and rotating land purchase (buy, apply CE, sell, reinvest) are primary delivery tools. Easements or land titles are mostly NGO-held although provincial/federal governments may hold in some instances. Currently expanding native grass-based objectives outside wetland/waterfowl target landscapes but funding sources remain uncertain.

5-year acres: 1,100,000 (perpetual) grassland, 303,000 wetland
5-year cost: $660 million

Grassland Restoration

Grassland remains a limiting factor for bird production in this region. PHJV converts 35,000-40,000 acres of cropland to haylands and pasture annually. Mostly targeted to high wetland/waterfowl density target landscapes (supported by NAWCA match funding). Delivered primarily by NGOs. These efforts mostly occur in landscapes supporting cattle production. See also marginal cropland restoration above.

5-year acres: 500,000
5-year cost: $34 million

Grassland Enhancement/Management

PHJV partners provide extension (the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education) and tech transfer (the transfer of technological advances or improvements to farmers) to support beef cattle ranchers. The information shared in this program will help ranchers employ best management practices and increase ranch profitability. Sustainable ranching on the landscape lowers the risk of grassland and wetland conversion by keeping them in beef production and enhancing the environmental and conservation values they provide.

5-year acres: 100,000
5-year cost: unknown

Wetland Conservation

Wetland loss rates continue to be a primary concern for the PHJV (losing ~27,000 acres per year) – mostly small temporary and seasonal wetlands of high value to waterfowl and wetland birds. Restoration efforts are ~1,500 acres per year. Most effort is being put into enacting provincial wetland protection policies and regulations with some success. Targeted to high wetland/waterfowl density landscapes (supported by NAWCA match funding).

5-year acres:  22,000 Restoration; 303,000 Retention
5-year cost: $64 million Restoration; $65 million Retention