GFM Network News


Things can look great from a distance but to know if your grasslands and pastures are living up to their potential, you need to walk the land and look at species type and abundance, vegetation layers, amount of litter, and presence of invasive species.

Eyeball your way to range health

Keep an eye out for these five things to see if your rangeland is living up to its potential

Reading Time: 4 minutes The most important tools you have to assess the health of your rangeland are your own two eyes. “What a range health assessment does is provides a measure of how well rangelands are performing key functions,” said Ross Adams, range management specialist with Alberta Environment and Parks. “It would be difficult and expensive to go […] Read more

(Dave Bedard photo)

U.S. to move BLM headquarters to Colorado

Reuters — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will move its headquarters to Colorado from Washington, officials said on Tuesday, sparking ire from conservationists who said the decision would weaken the agency dedicated to managing the country’s vast public lands. The Department of Interior, which oversees BLM, announced the move in letters to key congressional […] Read more


Purple prairie clover is just one in a long list of native species on Alberta’s rangelands that have 
‘co-evolved’ with native pollinators.

You want pollinators to make their home on your range

There are scores of native pollinators in Alberta — and the more you have on your rangeland, the better

Reading Time: 3 minutes There is a buzz on range- and pasture lands. And we really need to pay attention to native pollinators and the benefits that they provide, says a rangeland ecologist. “Pollinators are critical to rangelands themselves, and the plants that are there,” said Cameron Carlyle, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, who is not […] Read more

Taking a bit of time to create a grazing plan will pay good dividends for years, says rangeland specialist Pete Deal 
(centre in cowboy hat).

It pays to have a plan before turning your cattle out on pasture

Bountiful, nutritious forage doesn’t happen by accident — 
here’s how to plan for success on your ranch

Reading Time: 3 minutes A grazing plan might save you more than you think. Whether it’s a simple or detailed plan, a few key components will not only save your grass, but maybe save you a few dollars in the long run. Adjusting your stocking rate will allow you to get good-quality forage and vigorous regrowth. “Managing the amount […] Read more


The 42,000 acres of short-grass prairie at Onefour Ranch is home to at least 23 federally listed species at risk, including the mountain plover (inset).

Historic research ranches won’t be riding off into the sunset

The future of Onefour and Stavely ranches has been secured by the province and the University of Alberta

Reading Time: 2 minutes Decades of grassland research in southern Alberta will be preserved thanks to a deal between the province and the University of Alberta. The agreement will ensure rangeland studies continue at the historic research ranches of Stavely and Onefour. In 2013, the future of both sites was thrown up in the air when the federal government […] Read more

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Taxability to rise on Saskatchewan rangeland

The percentage of value (POV) subject to property taxes will be bumped back up on Saskatchewan producers’ rangeland and pasture for the 2017 tax year. Government Relations Minister Donna Harpauer on Monday announced the POV on non-arable (range) land such as pastures will be set via regulatory amendment at 45 per cent, up from 40. […] Read more


Grazing makes for healthier grasslands, which means more carbon capture and plant biodiversity.

Grazing grasslands is good for the environment, study finds

A research team conducted a study on 114 sites throughout Alberta and 
found that long-term grazing can have a positive impact on grasslands

Reading Time: 2 minutes Cattle are often demonized as environmental polluters, but grazing them can have a positive impact on grasslands. “Grasslands store a lot of carbon and we should be proactively thinking about the value of that carbon, not to mention all the environmental goods and services they provide,” said Edward Bork, professor of rangeland ecology at the […] Read more



Foothills Fescue Range Health Assessment Training offered

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Foothills Restoration Forum is holding two hands-on sessions on conducting range health assessments. The Foothills Fescue Range Health Assessment Training will be held on Sept. 15 in Stavely and the Mixedgrass and Dry Mixedgrass Range Health Assessment Training session will be held in the Cypress Hills/Manyberries area on Sept. 17. The courses will focus on the […] Read more

cattle on the open prairie

The five keys to assessing rangeland health

The old adage about not being able to manage what you can’t measure applies to rangelands

Reading Time: 3 minutes Native rangelands are key assets to livestock producers — and rangeland health assessments allow them to adjust grazing practices to achieve productive, sustainable grazings. A rangeland assessment system looks at the five key functions of rangelands: integrity and ecological status; community structure; hydrologic function and nutrient cycling; site stability, and noxious weeds. And in all […] Read more