Environment Canada

Environment Canada

August 30, 2010 17:00 ET

Government of Canada Investing in Community Action to Preserve Local Habitat and Species at Risk on Vancouver Island

PORT ALBERNI, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 30, 2010) - James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo—Alberni, 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, $158,376 in federal funding will support environmental action 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, there has been additional attention placed on habitat stewardship and species at risk in Canada," said MP Lunney. "It is important that all Canadians remember that without biological diversity, there is no strong foundation for Canadian culture, society and our economy. If we want healthy biological diversity, these projects announced today help make that it happens."

"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 these five Vancouver Island projects 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."

Projects announced today will help to conserve and protect a number of species at risk and their habitat. This is done in a number of ways, through habitat stewardship, restoration, population monitoring of various birds at risk, and the establishment of additional bird populations are some of the various project activities. The mitigation of immediate threats to red-legged frogs, western toads and other amphibians in coastal British Columbia is the focus of one project.

Other activities undertaken by project funding include the development of management plans or the implementation of recovery actions from government approved recovery strategies, and the removal of alien invasive species. Still other project activities encompass marine mammals. For example, sea otter populations within Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations traditional territory on the west coast of Vancouver Island will be surveyed and assessed and oil spill response strategies will be developed.

"Local communities are integral to maintaining a healthy environment, dealing with environmental impacts and protecting sensitive species," said Cliff Alteo, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. "The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, in partnership with local stewardship organizations and management agencies, is leading a Habitat Stewardship Program funded project that focuses on educating Nuu-chah-nulth guardians and technicians about oil spill response strategies, as well as techniques for surveys and assessments of sea otter populations. Also happening will be outreach and education about the biology, ecology, and cultural history of sea otters and other marine mammal species at risk."

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

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 the entanglement of species at risk 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, steller sea lion, swift fox, and small white leek.

The Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk is administered by Environment Canada and managed cooperatively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Parks Canada Agency. More information on the Species at Risk Act and the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk can be found on the Internet at: http://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/.

(Également offert en français)

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