Res #: 35-02A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Environment
WHEREAS, conservation easements are intended to protect wildlife habitat; and
WHEREAS, some municipalities already contain a large amount of habitat, for example, the RM of Churchbridge currently has 96,000 acres, or 40% of the land in the municipality is presently in wildlife habitat and wetlands; and
WHEREAS, Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food are currently trying to place these conservation easements on land they are currently selling from their inventory of "land bank" land in this and other municipalities; and
WHEREAS, there is no scientific evidence that there is any need to restrict the development of this land;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management, and the other twelve agencies authorized to hold conservation easements in the Province of Saskatchewan, to develop sound scientific and environmental criteria establishing the need for the conservation easements before they are arbitrarily placed.
Response From the Hon. Pat Lorje:
The Conservation Easement Act, which was proclaimed in 1997, authorizes eligible holders, which currently includes the three levels of government and 12 other conservation organizations, to enter into voluntary agreements with landowners for the following purposes:
- the protection, enhancement or restoration of natural ecosystems, wildlife habitat or habitat of rare, threatened or endangered plant or animal species;
- the retention of significant botanical, zoological, geological, morphological, historical, archaeological or palaeontological features respecting land;
- the conservation of soil, air and water quality;
- any purposes prescribed in the regulations
The development of this legislation involved consultation with a variety of stakeholders, including Municipal Affairs and Housing. As a result of these consultations, a notice must be provided to any interest that appears on the title and the municipality in which the land is located. Conservation easement agreements can exist for a fixed term or perpetuity. All of the conservation easement agreements that have been signed so far in Saskatchewan (78 agreements involving 9,199 hectares) are designed to protect the remaining natural values, while permitting agricultural uses.