Environment Canada

Environment Canada

September 10, 2010 13:37 ET

Government of Canada Investing in Community Action to Preserve Local Habitat and Species at Risk in British Columbia

CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 10, 2010) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Jim Prentice, today announced funding from the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. In total, $420,154 in federal funding for eight projects will support environmental action in British Columbia focusing on conservation and protection of species at risk and their habitats, helping to preserve Canada's biodiversity.

"As part of the International Year of Biodiversity, today's announcement demonstrates our Government's commitment to protecting and conserving species at risk and the environment upon which they depend," said Minister Strahl. "We encourage all Canadians to seek opportunities this year to take action on biodiversity."

"These projects will help to protect Canada's rich biodiversity for generations to come," said Minister Prentice. "The Government of Canada is proud to support numerous community-based projects throughout British Columbia through the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. Your actions, large or small, will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of our natural heritage."

One of the funding recipients, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, will receive $79,442 to involve local municipalities for increasing awareness about species-at-risk management. In addition, the organization will monitor the critical habitat of the Oregon spotted frog, red-legged frog and Salish sucker habitats in the Metro Vancouver area, and assess new habitats for the frogs.

"Our efforts will serve to improve critical habitats for frogs in the lower mainland," said Deborah Gibson, Executive Director of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation. "We are pleased that the Government of Canada is partnering with us in realizing our project objectives to reduce overall human impacts on frog habitat."

As second recipient, the Vancouver Aquarium, will receive funding of $76,085 to improve public awareness and volunteer participation in the British Columbia Cetacean Sightings Network (BCCSN); this project focuses on cetacean and sea turtle conservation and stewardship.

"The Vancouver Aquarium, in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, operates the BCCSN—a program network of over 2,400 highly engaged ocean observers with an impressive database of over 50,000 sightings of cetaceans and sea turtles, including at-risk species," said Dr. John Nightingale, Vancouver Aquarium president. "With the support of Environment Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program, our researchers are able to share program data with other researchers and policy makers who rely on our data to make informed conservation and management decisions. We encourage everyone to submit a cetacean or sea turtle sighting at www.wildwhales.org where you will also find information on how to become a network participant."

The goal of the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk is to contribute to the recovery and protection of species listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern under the Species at Risk Act. The program is administered by Environment Canada and managed cooperatively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Parks Canada Agency.

National projects that will receive funding this year include stewardship actions to conserve habitat for plant species at risk, negotiations with landowners to develop voluntary Land Care Agreements, targeted educational outreach to reduce species at risk entanglement in fishing gear, and enhancement of water quality and aquatic habitat on private lands to benefit aquatic species at risk. They will be undertaken with many partners such as agricultural producers, private landowners, and commercial fishers. These projects will benefit many species at risk, including the North Atlantic Right Whale, the Steller Sea Lion, the Swift Fox, and the Small White Leek.

More information on the Species at Risk Act and the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk can be found on the Internet at: www.sararegistry.gc.ca or http://www.ec.gc.ca/hsp-pih/default.asp?lang=En&n=59BF488F-1.

For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada, at http://www.ec.gc.ca/.

(Egalement offert en francais)

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