FEDERAL BUDGET 2018 COMMITS $1.3 BILLION TO NATURE CONSERVATION
February 28, 2018
EBC is extremely pleased with the announcement of funds to assist nature conservation in Canada. The government of Canada has made a historic step towards meeting its obligation under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 17% of land and inland waters by 2020. As of June 2017, 10.6 per cent of land in Canada were protected by either provinces, territories, the federal government, Indigenous groups, or non-profit and private sector organizations.
The budget states: “The Government of Canada proposes to make historic investments totaling $1.3 billion over five years, one of the most significant investments in nature conservation in Canadian history—a true legacy for our children and grandchildren. This investment will contribute $500 million from the federal government to create a new $1 billion Nature Fund in partnership with corporate, not-for profit, provincial, territorial and other partners.”
“The government and all parties are to be commended for taking this step to preserve the best of Canada, forever.” said Bob Barnett, Executive Director of EBC.
So far land trusts in Canada have protected over 250,000 acres (101,000 hectares) of ecologically significant land, including habitat for over 90 federally-listed species at risk. With the budget announcement land trusts are will be in position to nearly double this amount within the next five years, protecting a potential 200,000 additional acres (81,000 hectares) of critical habitat.
According to OLTA (Ontario Land Trust Association), “working with private landowners, land trusts protect critical ecosystem services in heavily populated regions of the country where traditional public land conservation approaches are either prohibitively expensive or impractical. These places are in southern Canada where most species at risk live and where habitat is at the greatest risk of conversion or outright destruction. By harnessing innovative partnerships with landowners and working with dedicated community volunteers, land trusts are able to establish conservation areas that protect critical habitat and create corridors between parks and other blocks of public and private land.”
EBC typically conserves an acre for every $50 we receive. We have dozens of sites that warrant conservation that we have not been able to act on for want of funds. Today’s announcement will enable conservation of many of those sites and the benefits will last for generations. Specifically we have added over 2,000 acres in the areas of the National Park on the Bruce Peninsula, over 3,000 acres on Manitoulin where we protect and maintain the Cup and Saucer, the island’s most popular trail/tourist attraction, and over 18 kilometers of Lake Huron shore and many sites on and near the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario. The funds made available with this announcement will allow us to add to this treasury of natural heritage for all Canadians and all who visit us.