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Canada’s Government Supports Local Community Organization Delivering Real Action on the Environment

August 23, 2008

LONDON, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Aug. 23, 2008) – Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird announced an investment of $278,462 to the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority for The Thames River Aquatic Ecosystem Stewardship Initiative under the Habitat Stewardship Program.

“Our Government is committed to protecting and preserving our natural environment,” said Minister Baird. “I fully support grassroots community initiatives like these that deliver real results for Canadians by improving our environment.”

This year alone, the Government has invested $12.1 million in communities across Canada through the Habitat Stewardship Program. The Program contributes to the recovery of endangered, threatened and other species at risk while also preventing species from becoming a conservation concern.

The Thames River Aquatic Ecosystem Stewardship Initiative will improve water quality and aquatic habitat by offering incentives to private rural landowners to use recognized best management practices for clean water. The program will also involve community and school groups, as well aid in the creation of public awareness activities, including a reptile education program. Funding will also help ensure a safe and maintained habitat for spiny soft-shell turtles and queen snakes.

The Habitat Stewardship Program is a partnership-based conservation initiative managed by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada. It is a major component of the federal government’s program to implement the Species at Risk Act.

Please refer to the adjoining backgrounder for more details regarding the Habitat Stewardship Program.

BACKGROUNDER

PROTECTING SPECIES AT RISK: GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S HABITAT STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM

As part of Canada’s national strategy for the protection of species at risk, the Government of Canada established the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. This program allocates funds to projects that conserve and protect species at risk and their habitats and help to preserve biodiversity. This year, the Government of Canada committed $12.1 million to support the recovery of species at risk through 223 projects in communities across the country.

These funds promote participation by local communities to help with the recovery of species at risk and prevent other species from becoming a conservation concern. This engages Canadians from all walks of life in conservation actions to benefit wildlife.

The Habitat Stewardship Program provides funding to successful applicants who are seeking to implement activities that protect or conserve habitats for species listed as “at risk” (endangered, threatened, or of special concern), under the Species at Rick Act. These activities must take place on private lands, provincial Crown lands, Aboriginal lands, or in aquatic and marine areas across Canada. The program also fosters partnerships among organizations interested in the recovery of species at risk. Hundreds of Habitat Stewardship Program projects are currently underway across Canada.

The program’s objective is to achieve two-to-one leveraging on funds that it invests, so that for every $1 provided by the Habitat Stewardship Program, $2 is raised by project recipients. This leveraging can include either financial or in-kind resources such as volunteered labour, products or services. Partner funding and other support broaden the scope of projects, improve on-the-ground results and strengthen the public and private collaboration that is essential to involving all Canadians in stewardship activities for species at risk. The program directs funds where they are needed most – into the hands of people who can make a difference, those who work on Canada’s lands and waters and who care about this country’s natural legacy.

The Habitat Stewardship Program funds activities designed to protect species or habitat, such as a conservation zone of land for the protection of wildlife habitat signed between a landowner and a land trust. It also supports activities that improve the habitat of species at risk, such as river bank restoration projects. The program also provides funding to initiatives that mitigate threats to species at risk, for example, fencing to protect nesting grounds, or modified fishing gear to prevent incidental catch of non- targeted fish.

These projects address both habitat conservation and threat mitigation, benefiting more than 300 species listed under the Species at Risk Act. The program has established more than 200 partnerships with Aboriginal organizations, landowners, resource users, nature trusts, provinces, the natural resource sector, community-based wildlife societies, educational institutions and conservation organizations.

The Habitat Stewardship Program is administered by Environment Canada and managed co-operatively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Parks Canada Agency.

Egalement offert en francais

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