March 21, 2005

New Sask regulations conserve a portion of the Great Sand Hills

REGINA, SASK-The Saskatchewan government has enacted regulations to conserve 36,585 hectares (366 square kilometres) of land in the Great Sand Hills. The regulations will serve to protect the land from certain surface disturbances, specifies permitted uses such as ranching and hunting, along with prohibited uses, such as gas development. The Great Sand Hills area comprises over 1,900 square kilometres of prairie rich in endangered rare plant and animal species as well as active and inactive sand dunes. It is also an important area for natural gas development. The province has set up a scientific advisory committee to conduct a regional environmental study of the area. The study, slated to start this spring and be completed in the fall of 2006, will examine ecological, economic and social elements in order to provide overall environmental conservation direction for future land uses and sustainable development of the region's gas resources. The province also plans to amend Saskatchewan's Ecological Reserves Act to accommodate conservation of the 366 km2 of land.

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