Environment Canada

Environment Canada

June 23, 2009 10:34 ET

Government of Canada Partners With Nature Conservancy of Canada to Preserve Happy Valley Forest

KING TOWNSHIP, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 23, 2009) - Lois Brown, Member of Parliament for Newmarket - Aurora, on behalf of the Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Jim Prentice, today joined representatives from the Nature Conservancy of Canada in announcing the future conservation of 29 hectares of important land in the Happy Valley Forest in King Township, northwest of the Greater Toronto Area. The purchase marks another achievement under the Government of Canada's $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program.

"The Government of Canada is proud of the results achieved through the Natural Areas Conservation Program since its inception two years ago, which greatly benefit our country's biodiversity," said Minister Prentice. "It is fitting that today's announcement is back in Happy Valley Forest, where Prime Minister Harper announced the creation of our partnership with non-government conservation organizations such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Today, as part of this partnership, we celebrate yet another important conservation project that will continue to provide a vital home for species at risk such as the hooded warbler and the cerulean warbler."

The Happy Valley Forest's rolling landscape contains high-quality, older-growth forest with impressive stands of mature American beech, sugar maple and eastern hemlock. The property also contains a spring and headwater stream - part of the Lake Simcoe watershed. The land supports over 200 species of plants, 110 breeding birds, 21 mammals and 19 reptile and amphibian species.

"Today's announcement is just one more example of how our Government is taking real action to protect Canada's natural treasures with the help of partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada," said MP Brown. "The lands of Happy Valley Forest will continue to provide a healthy habitat where species can thrive."

The Government's Natural Areas Conservation Program is an important on-the-ground initiative that takes real action to preserve Canada's environment and conserve its precious natural heritage for present and future generations. Since its inception in 2007, the Program has allowed for the conservation of over 336 properties totalling more than 103 hectares, protecting habitat for over 74 species at risk.


BACKGROUNDER

Natural Areas Conservation Program

In March 2007, as part of our commitment to conserve and protect Canada's natural environment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada will invest $225 million in the new Natural Areas Conservation Program. The Program helps non-profit, non-government organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife and habitat.

As of March 2009, 336 properties had been acquired through the program, protecting habitat for over 74 species at risk.

To carry out the objectives of the Program, the Government of Canada entered into an agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. As part of that agreement, the Nature Conservancy of Canada partners with non-government conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited Canada and other qualified land trusts. These organizations must provide matching funds for each federal dollar received.

Using a science-based process, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners work to acquire ecologically sensitive lands through donation, purchase or stewardship agreements with private landowners.

Under the Program, priority is given to lands that are nationally or provincially significant, that protect habitat for species at risk and migratory birds, or that enhance connectivity or corridors between existing protected areas such as National Wildlife Areas, National Parks and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.

The Natural Areas Conservation Program complements the Government's other important conservation initiatives and investments, including:

- $110 million over two years for the work under the Species at Risk Act;

- $25 million over five years for the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy;

- $30 million for the Great Bear Rainforest;

- $3 million for Stanley Park in Vancouver and Point Pleasant Park in Halifax;

- Since 2007-2008 the Habitat Stewardship Program has invested $19 million to support over 350 local projects for the protection of species at risk and their habitat;

- Environment Canada's Protected Areas Network, made up of 51 National Wildlife Areas and 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries; and

- the Ecological Gifts Program, which provides tax incentives to landowners who donate land title or place a conservation easement on ecologically sensitive land. In its May 2006 budget, the Government of Canada increased the incentive for land donations by reducing the taxable capital gains inclusion rate for certified ecological gift donations from 25 per cent to zero.

The Natural Areas Conservation Program is an important on-the-ground initiative that takes real action to preserve our environment. It is expected to result in the long-term protection of up to more than 2,000 square kilometres of ecologically sensitive land across Canada.

Egalement offert en francais.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008
    1-888-908-8008
    www.ec.gc.ca