Canada invests more than $585,000 in Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve to increase biodiversity conservation in Ontario

News release

August 24, 2022 – Parry Sound, Ontario

Canadians depend on nature for clean water to drink and air to breathe, food to eat, and quality spaces to enjoy the outdoors. Conserving nature is vital to protect species at risk, combat climate change, and build a strong, sustainable economy.

Today, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Julie Dabrusin, attended a turtle release at the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault. At the event, she announced that the biosphere reserve is receiving more than $585,000 over three years from Canada’s Enhanced Nature Legacy. These funds will support the biosphere reserve’s biodiversity conservation efforts and support Canada’s goal to conserve 25 percent of lands and inland waters by 2025, working toward 30 percent of each by 2030.

For the duration of the project, partners will work together to restore, maintain, and enhance biodiversity conservation in the buffer zones surrounding the core protected areas of the biosphere reserve, which encompasses the eastern shore of Georgian Bay and stretches approximately 175 kilometres from the Severn River to the French River in Ontario. It is hoped that, in the coming years, managed areas within the biosphere reserve’s buffer zone will be recognized as Other Effective Conservation Measures (OCEMs), which will allow them to become part of Canada’s conservation network.

The Government of Canada’s push to protect more nature comes as it prepares to welcome the world for the 15th United Nations biodiversity conference in Montréal, Quebec, from December 7 to 19, 2022. This landmark conference is a chance for Canada to show its leadership alongside international partners in taking actions to conserve nature and halt biodiversity loss around the world, done in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. Enhancing UNESCO-designated biosphere reserves, such as the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, is a vital contributing action.

Quotes

“Biosphere reserves are a model for how communities can connect with nature in healthier and more sustainable ways. They inspire and empower Canadians to work together to address global challenges such as biodiversity loss and climate change. By investing in biosphere reserves in Canada, like the iconic Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, we are advancing important conservation work in areas rich with cultural and biological diversity.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“I was thrilled to participate in today’s turtle release with the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve with so many enthusiastic nature lovers. It was a beautiful example of the great things that can happen when the community comes together to support the environment. Biosphere reserves represent a deep dedication to sustainable development and nature conservation, and they set a standard for how people and nature can thrive together.”

– Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“This funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada demonstrates a pivotal chapter in the history of the network and of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association. To use the words from the biosphere reserves themselves, this is a chance to renew partnerships, enhance capacity within the organization, and create more biodiversity outcomes in Canada’s nineteen UNESCO biospheres.”

– Kate Potter, Executive Director, Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association

“The opportunity for our Biosphere to work with its partners to continue to develop relationships and grow the social conditions for ensuring that biodiversity is cared for in this region is remarkable, and we greatly appreciate the Government of Canada’s contribution to this effort.”

– Greg Mason, Director of Operations, Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere

“We have begun working together, through partnership, to renew our relationships and take care of the Lands and Waters, which are everything. The commitments being made to biodiversity expand our work in Mnidoo Gamii, Georgian Bay, and support our responsibility to all of Creation. Collectively, we call this work ‘Maamwi Anjiakiziwin,’ which combines the words and meanings of Together, Land, Renewal, and Life as we use cross-cultural learning and apply a ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’ approach to knowledge sharing and caretaking. When we improve our understanding, respect, and relationships with each other, our understanding and relationships with the land will also benefit.”

– Sherrill Judge, Midwewekamigokwe Maawaanji'iwe Manager (Gets people together) for Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere

Quick facts

  • The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve encompasses the eastern shore of Georgian Bay and stretches approximately 175 kilometres from the Severn River to the French River in Ontario. This part of Lake Huron contains the largest concentration of freshwater islands in the world.

  • The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve supports approximately 52 listed species at risk, including the Eastern foxsnake (endangered), the spotted turtle (endangered), and the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (threatened).

  • There are currently 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries that belong to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. There are about 257 million people living in biosphere reserves worldwide. In Canada, more than 2.5 million people live in biosphere reserves.

  • Each of the biosphere reserves in Canada has a variety of funding sources, including federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government grants, as well as donations from private foundations and individuals.

  • The Government of Canada has committed to working to halt and reverse nature loss in Canada by 2030 and to achieve a full recovery for nature by 2050.

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Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
Kaitlin.Power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
media@ec.gc.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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