Canada invests $25 million to protect wetlands and grasslands in the Prairies
July 23, 2021 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
As the world faces the twin threats of climate change and rapid biodiversity loss, protecting more nature across Canada supports iconic biodiversity and helps fight climate change by storing carbon and making our communities more resilient to its impacts.
Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced more than $25 million in funding to conserve, restore, and enhance critical wetlands and grasslands in the Prairie provinces:
- Ducks Unlimited Canada will receive up to $19.28 million over three years for projects to conserve and restore wetland and grassland habitats in the Prairies, including the restoration of croplands to grasslands. These lands will capture and store carbon, while providing a range of other ecological benefits.
- Nature Conservancy of Canada will receive up to $4.05 million over three years for projects to retain and restore carbon stocks by conserving, restoring, and enhancing management of Prairie grasslands and wetlands; and
- Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation will receive up to $2.4 million over three years for projects to conserve, restore, and enhance management of threatened grasslands and wetlands in order to store carbon while providing a range of other benefits for local communities in the agricultural zone of southwestern Manitoba, including improving water quality and supporting wildlife habitat.
These initiatives are among fourteen projects to receive funding from the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund in 2021–2022. Collectively, they are projected to conserve up to 30,000 hectares; restore up to 6,000 hectares; and contribute to the enhanced management of up to 18,000 hectares of wetlands, grasslands, and riparian areas.
Today’s announcement supports Canada’s goal to protect 25 percent of lands and 25 percent of oceans by 2025. Embracing the power of nature to support healthier families and more resilient communities is one of the five pillars of Canada’s strengthened climate plan.
“Western Canadians know that climate change is here. They also know that in order to fight climate change and adapt to its impacts, we must embrace the power of nature. Protecting more wetlands and grasslands across the Prairies will make our communities more resilient, capture and store carbon, and support our iconic biodiversity.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The current extreme weather conditions and fires throughout Canada are one of the impacts of the changing climate. As our wetlands and grasslands are important components of the farming ecosystem, the work done through these Nature Smart Climate Solutions investments, as well as our Agricultural Climate Solutions projects, will sequester carbon and help ensure a healthier and more sustainable future for our land and waterways, as well as for the farmers who rely on them to feed Canadians.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Ducks Unlimited Canada is pleased to partner with Environment and Climate Change Canada to deliver Nature Smart Climate Solutions here on the Prairies and right across the country. For over eighty years, our science-based habitat work has engaged agricultural producers, private landowners, and governments to deliver conservation solutions that help mitigate climate change impacts and deliver a host of other ecological benefits that provide significant economic returns to all Canadians. We look forward to scaling up the benefits of the available programs to more producers and to other landowners, resulting in greater biodiversity on a landscape that will be better able to offset and withstand the impacts of a changing climate.”
– Karla Guyn, Chief Executive Officer, Ducks Unlimited Canada
“Our team at the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation is very excited about the new opportunities these funds provide. This is a significant investment in Manitoba, its landowners, and its landscapes. It will have lasting benefits for wildlife and people alike. The investment comes at an important transition time for our organization, as we recently became a registered charity. These new funds will allow us to perfectly meld our traditional wildlife conservation mandate with climate change mitigation through nature-smart solutions.”
– Stephen Carlyle, Chief Operating Officer of Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corp.
“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is very grateful for the opportunity presented by the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund. These funds will support the protection and restoration of habitat in natural ecosystems across the Prairies. We are pleased to do more to buffer communities from the impacts of climate change and protect Canada’s natural areas for future generations.”
– Kevin Teneycke, Manitoba Region Vice-President, Nature Conservancy of Canada
Nature-based solutions are defined by the World Conservation Union as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges.”
Over the next ten years (2021–2031), the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund will support projects to restore, enhance, and conserve inland and coastal wetlands, peatlands, grasslands, and forests to capture and store carbon.
These ecosystems are also critically important habitat for Canada’s wildlife, including migratory birds and species at risk.
The Government of Canada is investing $4 billion over the next ten years (2021–2031) in the Natural Climate Solutions Fund, which supports activities to build a more resilient economy and a healthier, greener future. Activities include:
- 2 Billion Trees Commitment, led by Natural Resources Canada ($3.19 billion);
- Nature Smart Climate Solutions, led by Environment and Climate Change Canada ($631 million); and
- Agricultural Climate Solutions, led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ($185 million).
The Agricultural Climate Solutions program aims to establish a strong, Canada-wide network of regional collaborations led by farmers and including scientists and other sectoral stakeholders. Together, they will develop and share management practices, and deploy solutions that are tailored to their region, store carbon, and mitigate climate change. This work will also help protect biodiversity, improve water and soil quality, and strengthen farmers’ bottom lines.
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Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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