Government of Canada supports Government of Yukon and First Nations in protecting nature in Peel watershed
August 22, 2019 – Mayo, Yukon
Canadians love and depend on nature—from the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Canada is home to a quarter of the world’s wetlands and boreal forest, one fifth of the world’s freshwater resources, and the longest coastline in the world. Protecting our natural resources is essential for Canadians today and for future generations. An important part of our conservation efforts is fostering Indigenous leadership, including support for Indigenous programs and on-the-ground stewardship initiatives. Protecting nature also helps Canada and the entire world mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, joined the Government of Yukon and First Nations partners to support the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan, which creates new protected and conserved areas to safeguard the watershed and the wildlife that call it home. These new protected areas will also help Canada double the amount of nature it is protecting in our lands and oceans. The Peel Plan is an agreement between the Government of Yukon and the First Nations of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin, and Gwich’in Tribal Council and is supported through the Canada Nature Fund Target 1 Challenge.
By working together, more than 3.8 million hectares of our nature will be protected in the Yukon—an area the size of Switzerland. Management plans will also be developed through this partnership, which will include monitoring and recreational management of the area.
This project will conserve and protect habitat for wildlife, including 15 species at risk, such as the bank swallow, gypsy cuckoo bumble bee, and olive-sided flycatcher. The project will also conserve and protect habitat for the barren-ground caribou and the boreal caribou, listed as priority species in the region. Protecting our nature will not only help address the costs of biodiversity loss, it will also help mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“Protecting nature and the wildlife that depends on it is important to Canadians. Our government is supporting this valuable work by the Government of Yukon and the First Nations of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin, and Gwich’in Tribal Council to establish one of the largest protected areas in Canada. Protecting our nature will also benefit communities and mitigate the impacts of climate change. This collaboration shows how great things can happen when we all work together to protect nature.’’
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Budget 2018 announced $1.35 billion for Canada’s Nature Legacy. This amount represents the largest investment in nature conservation in Canadian history.
The Target 1 Challenge component of the Canada Nature Fund will invest up to $175 million across 67 projects to establish protected and conserved areas throughout Canada.
The objective of the Canada Nature Fund is to make significant progress toward the goal of protecting or conserving at least 17 percent of land and fresh water by the end of 2020.
Canada’s network of protected and conserved areas plays an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk
Forests are a major part of nature-based climate change solutions, capturing carbon dioxide at a rate equivalent to about one third of the amount of fossil fuels burned globally. The boreal forest is the most concentrated terrestrial store of carbon in the world and largest carbon sink in North America.
Intact ecosystems can also help protect communities against some of the worst impacts of climate change. For instance, local wetlands can help absorb heavy rain or snowmelts, reducing flooding for homes and farms.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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