Nature Conservancy of Canada Launches Program To Save Habitats

by Jennifer Smith April 25, 2019

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the federal government area announced Tuesday they are working together to take aim on Target 1 – a national initiative to protect at least 17 per cent of the country's land and freshwater and 10 per cent of our marine areas by 2020 – through a new $100 million, four-year fund.

The money will support privately protected areas in ecologically sensitive landscapes, from forests and endangered grasslands to wetlands and coastal regions, with every federal dollar to be matched by at least two dollars of non-federal contributions, which can be either cash or land.

The focus of the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is to protect the habitat of endangered, threatened and significant species, said Gary Davies, the conservancy's northwestern Ontario program director.

Protect habitats important to both wildlife and people

"The big picture desired outcome is to meet Canada's commitment to Target 1," he said. However, on "Lake Superior, it's doing our part to meet that number to conserve habitats that are not only important to the species that use them, but to the people who live around Lake Superior."

The vast region is home to many species at risk, such as woodland caribou, which "are under a lot of pressure and habitat to support them could be part of this." "We've done work on Lake Superior to conserve peregrine falcon habitat and that may be part of it as well, and there are also a number of songbirds under threat, such as the Canada warbler, and certain plant species that are pretty rare, and unique to Lake Superior's coastline whose habitat could qualify for this program," he said.

The initiative will also help fund further protection of the habitat of species at risk around Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods.

'Perpetual fundraising campaigns' to buy threatened areas

The NCC and other conservation organizations have "perpetual fundraising campaigns where we're looking for generous Canadians to support our efforts," said Davies

"We've been very successful on Lake Superior, for example, raising money to purchase our Big Trout Bay property a few years ago, which we raised about $5 million through donations," said Davies.

The NHCP will result in new conservation of 200,000 hectares (more than 490,000 acres) over the next four years, according to a NCC news release Tuesday.

The NCC will oversee the program with contributions from partner organizations including Ducks Unlimited Canada, Canada's land trusts (Canadian Land Trusts Working Group) and Wildlife Habitat Canada, which will administer the local land trust portion of the program.

Story re-posted from Written by By Cathy Alex of CBC News

Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith