Harper Government Announces Additional Support for New Wetland Restoration Project at Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary

July 27, 2015

INGLESIDE- Guy Lauzon, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, today announced the Government of Canada is investing an additional $100,000 to support a revitalization and conservation efforts at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

The Government is funding this project and others like it across Canada through the National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF), which includes $50 million for investments that support the goals of the National Conservation Plan, which was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in May 2014.

Investments under the NWCF will go toward projects that:

  • restore degraded or lost wetlands;
  • enhance degraded wetlands;
  • help identify areas where restoration should be prioritized and monitor the impacts of these efforts through scientific assessments; and,
  • encourage stewardship and wetland appreciation to build support with a variety of partners for future wetland conservation and restoration activities.

The first call for proposals under this program was issued in July 2014 and generated significant interest, resulting in a total of 47 funded projects across Canada, with a $7.2 million investment over three years. In 2015-16, the National Wetland Conservation Fund will invest over $13 million over the next three years to support more than 80 projects across Canada.

Quick Facts

  • The $100,000 in funding for the boardwalk project is in addition to $45,000 announced through the federal government and the National Trails Coalition earlier this year
  • The National Conservation Plan builds on and coordinates conservation efforts across the country with an emphasis on enabling Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters while making it easier for citizens in cities to connect with nature.
  • The Government of Canada is investing $252 million in the National Conservation Plan, which include conserving Canada’s natural heritage, restoring degraded ecosystems and connecting Canadians to nature.
  • Canada has approximately 1.5 million km2 of wetlands, representing about 16 percent of Canada’s land mass and approximately one quarter of the world’s remaining wetlands.
  • More than 200 bird species and over 50 species of mammals depend on Canadian wetlands for food and habitat.
  • Canadian wetlands provide enormous benefits by protecting against floods, improving water quality and water supply, controlling erosion and supporting a host of recreational activities. These benefits translate into billions of dollars in economic benefits for Canadians each year.

Quotes

“I’m very happy to announce further support for this wonderful project. The boardwalk project, and the beautiful St. Lawrence Parks in general, are a real asset environmentally and economically. This investment will help maintain access and sustainability for years to come. ” 

– Guy Lauzon, Member of Parliament, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

“We are very pleased to receive this important funding from the Government of Canada for the boardwalks at Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary.  This will allow us to proceed with Phase 2 of the project which includes the second span of the Red Wing Trail.  It will also allow us to begin development work on Phase 3 for the blue Heron Trail.  This is an important project that will make our nature trails safe and accessible for the thousands of visitors who come here each year. “

– Lou Seiler, Manager of Parks and Recreational Facilities, St. Lawrence Parks Commission

Backgrounder

Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary Boardwalk Project

The Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary offers more than 8 km of self-guided nature trails where visitors can get up close to nature seeing countless species of birds, wildlife and natural habitat.

Funding of $100,000 from the National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF) will allow the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) and the Friends of the Sanctuary to move forward on Phase Two of the project which includes the second span of the Red Wing Trail at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary.   It will also support the development work on Phase 3 for the Blue Heron Trail.

The Red Wing Trail is one of the most heavily used sections of the 8 km of nature trails in the sanctuary.  The project will see second span of approximately 388 feet on the Red-Wing Trail redesigned and reconstructed to meet modern standards of a width of 6 feet to provide a more accessible experience for all visitors to the sanctuary.  The Blue Heron Trail has two sections of 370 feet and 820 feet.

SLPC and the Friends of the Sanctuary continue to work hard to secure additional funding that will support future projects including the reconstruction of the remainder of the boardwalks and mainland trail rehabilitation along the Heron Trail.

Anyone wishing to support these important projects can make donations to the ‘Get on Board’ fundraising initiative led by the Friends of the Sanctuary.  Visit the website www.FriendsoftheSanctuary.org for more information.

The National Wetland Conservation Fund

In Canada, more than 200 bird species and over 50 species of mammals depend on wetlands for food and habitat. Globally, as host to thousands of plant and animal species, wetlands are second only to rainforests in the biodiversity they support.

Canadian wetlands also provide enormous benefits to people by protecting against floods, controlling erosion, improving water quality, feeding water into streams, replenishing groundwater supplies and supporting a host of recreational activities. These benefits translate into billions of dollars in economic benefits for Canadians each year.

As part of the Government of Canada’s National Conservation Plan which aims to conserve and restore our lands and waters and connect Canadian families to our natural spaces, a new $50 million National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF) has been established. The NWCF will cost-share on-the-ground projects that will restore degraded or lost wetlands, enhance degraded wetlands, help identify areas where restoration should be prioritized and monitor the impacts of these efforts through scientific assessments.

The Fund will be administered by Environment Canada over a five-year period, which started in 2014-15.

Project Funding Priorities

Restoration and enhancement of wetland ecological goods and services in areas where wetland degradation or loss has been high, drainage continues to be high and/or where further risk of wetland loss is elevated.

Restoration and enhancement of wetlands in targeted areas based on existing priority planning processes such as: Provincially Significant Wetlands; key habitat within Bird Conservation Regions; priority areas as outlined in Habitat Joint Venture Implementation Plans and in accordance with the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan; candidate, proposed, or final Critical Habitat Areas under the federal Species at Risk Act; and Watershed Management Plans.

Science activities in support of wetland conservation through improving wetland inventory, wetland monitoring and our understanding of ecological goods and services provided by wetlands.

Program Requirements

Eligible recipients under the Fund include Aboriginal organizations and communities, non-governmental organizations, individuals, universities, conservation authorities, private corporations and provincial Crown Corporations, as well as provincial, territorial and municipal governments.

The restoration and enhancement activities must take place on private lands, municipal lands, provincial Crown lands or Aboriginal lands in Canada.

Project proponents must involve funding partners and demonstrate the ability to match federal funds, one to one, with funds from non-federal sources (i.e., the private sector, conservation organizations, provincial/territorial/regional/municipal funds; can include cash and in-kind support).

Medium-sized projects with federal contributions in the $50,000 to $250,000 range are preferred. The program will have a maximum National Wetland Conservation Fund federal contribution of $500,000 a year per project. Multi-year projects (maximum of three years) are eligible.

The National Conservation Plan

In May 2014, Prime Minister Harper launched a $252 million National Conservation Plan which builds on and coordinates conservation efforts across the country with an emphasis on enabling Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters in and around their communities while making it easier for citizens in cities to connect with nature.

More information about the National Conservation Plan can be found here.

More information about the National Wetlands Conservation Fund can be found here.

For more information about wetlands, click here.