Manitoba Conservation Trust: Kirkella Pasture Enhancement
About the Project
Kirkella Community Pasture Association’s Grassland Habitat Enhancement Project received $100,000 from the Province of Manitoba’s new Conservation Trust Fund for a two-year pasture improvement project on the community-owned pasture.
The 4,000 acre pasture is located in the Rural Municipality of Wallace-Woodworth in western Manitoba and has significant environmental and cattle production values.
“The Kirkella Community Pasture is a municipally-owned tract of land that includes grassland, wetland and woodland habitats that have been managed by a municipally-operated grazing cooperative for many decades,” said Garth Mitchell, Wallace-Woodworth’s Chief Administrative Officer. “We see a great opportunity to undertake improvements to the pasture for the purpose of enhancing grazing opportunities as well as the environmental benefits that result from more effective grazing and landscape management practices.”
According to Tim Sopuck, CEO of MHHC, the Kirkella Community Pasture is a productive, intact tract of grassland, wetland and associated habitats in a highly altered landscape. “Improving the management capability of the area will translate into environmental amenity enhancement as well as improved management and production of livestock,” says Sopuck. “Based on the results of a pasture assessment, this project will deliver a combination of range enhancement activities, including fencing, livestock watering and control of invasive shrubs among other benefits.”
The Project’s Partnership
The delivery of the project will be through a formed partnership consisting of:
Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association (MFGA): Lead the project administration, reports and communications
Rural Municipality of Wallace-Woodworth and the pasture’s patrons committee: Lead the on-field pasture improvements and actions
Upper Assiniboine River Conservation District: Use MFGA's Range & Pasture Health Workbook to assess the pasture and provide to MFGA to work with Wallace Woodworth on the pasture enhancement plan.
Virden-area producer Darren Chapman, chair of the MFGA and a local resident, is familiar with the Kirkella Community Pasture. He says the chance to work with Wallace-Woodworth at Kirkella was a great fit for MFGA. “We are a producer-led organization that advocates for the retention of existing grasslands for all the great reasons this project was approved by the Conservation Trust,” says Chapman. “MFGA is proud to be a partner and we look forward to working with Wallace-Woodworth team. We’d also like to congratulate the Province of Manitoba, MHHC and the Winnipeg Foundation for the Conservation Trust. It’s quite an accomplishment to bring together all the different groups on common ground. From MFGA’s perspective, it’s a win-win.”
Funding of the Project
Kirkella Community Pasture was among more than 40 projects and $2.2 Million in Budget 2018 and is now permanently endowed so it can support and inspire important conservation projects for generations.
Province of Manitoba: Award $100,000 from the Conservation Trust Fund
Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC): Administer, track and evaluate the project. projects administered, tracked and evaluated by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC).
Winnipeg Foundation: Manage the fund which is expected to generate about $5 million a year