Environment Canada

Environment Canada

July 02, 2009 15:07 ET

Government of Canada Takes Action to Protect Important Land in Alberta

RED DEER, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 2, 2009) - Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment joined representatives from the Nature Conservancy of Canada and TransCanada Pipelines in announcing the conservation of globally significant habitat in the central parklands region of Alberta.

"Our Government is taking real action to conserve Canada's natural treasures," said Minister Prentice. "The Red Deer River Natural Area project is an excellent example of federal funds creating a strong stewardship partnership that will conserve species at risk and their habitat."

The Red Deer River Natural Area is home to a number of Canada's species at risk, including the Sprague's pipit songbird, the western blue flag iris and the northern leopard frog. In addition, the nearby Pine Lake, Buffalo Lake and Goosequill-Hummock Lakes provide excellent staging habitat for waterfowl in the spring. The preservation of this land takes Canada one step closer to delivering on the trilateral North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

"This project demonstrates cooperation across public, private and non profit sectors, to conserve key habitat," said Minister Prentice, "We are committed to the long-term conservation of biological diversity and to working with partners to protect Canada's natural treasures."

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 totaling 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.

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Bill Rodgers
    Director of Communications
    819-997-1441
    or
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008
    1-888-908-8008