Critical Habitat Interdepartmental Program
The call for proposals for the 2023-24 fiscal year is now closed.
The Critical Habitat Interdepartmental Program (CHIP) is a directed funding program that was established in 2020. CHIP is managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and is the only program that provides funding to federal organizations specifically for projects dedicated to the recovery of Canada’s species at risk through the restoration and conservation of their critical habitat on federally owned and/or administered lands. Critical habitat means the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species (S.C. 2002, c. 29). The CHIP was created to encourage action towards the recovery of species at risk in accordance with the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and partnerships between federal organizations, stakeholders and/or Indigenous peoples to contribute towards the protection of Canada’s biodiversity.
The objectives of the program are to:
- conserve and recover species at risk through maintaining or improving their habitat, mainly on federally owned and/or administered lands
- gather valuable data on species at risk and their critical habitat to support and help meet the recovery goals, as stated in recovery documents for the species
- support federal organizations in meeting the SARA legal requirements to protect species at risk critical habitat on federal lands, by mainly focusing on projects involving species at risk that require a s.58 protection order (see the CHIP specific SARA guidance document in the Related Links section for more information)
- support conservation work by focusing on targeted species-specific activities for internally prioritized species, and
- promote partnerships between federal organizations, provincial and territorial governments, universities, various stakeholders and Indigenous peoples
The expected benefits of CHIP are:
- Canada’s wildlife is conserved through the active management of species at risk and their critical habitat
- Canada’s species at risk are recovered and the amount and quality of critical habitat is improved
- initiatives to conserve, recover and contribute towards protection of species at risk critical habitat are proactive and based on recovery documents for the species
- awareness of federal organization’s role to conserve and recover species at risk and their critical habitat and compliance to SARA on federal lands are increased
- species at risk critical habitat knowledge is improved, and
- partnerships between federal organizations, stakeholders and Indigenous peoples are increased
The following are eligible recipients of CHIP funding:
- federal departments and agencies (Excluding ECCC, the Parks Canada Agency and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans)
- federal Crown corporations
Project activities must take place on:
- federal lands across Canada
- lands that are administered by federal organizations
- other adjacent/neighboring lands on which the species and/or its habitat are found, as long as the project occurs on at least one federal or federally-administered property. Please note that applicants require the necessary authorizations to do work outside of federal or federally-administered lands. These authorizations, communications or supporting documents must be provided to the CHIP Secretariat and mentioned in the section to that effect in the Project proposal
The CHIP offers two project types:
Regular CHIP projects
Examples of eligible projects include:
- species at risk population and/or habitat surveys
- implementation of conservation and recovery measures
- research on the biology and ecology of species at risk and/or their critical habitat
- community outreach and projects in accordance with SARA
- species at risk habitat conservation and restoration
- direct mitigation of threats to species at risk
Other Internally Prioritized Species (OIPS) CHIP projects
Additional CHIP funds may be available for projects targeting OIPS. OIPS CHIP projects must target one or multiple OIPS, and targeted activities must follow the top priority work determined based on the species’ recovery documents. Please consult the CHIP OIPS guidance document (PDF) for the OIPS list and top priority work determined for each species or category. All eligibility criteria below apply to OIPS CHIP projects, in addition to the guidelines in the CHIP OIPS guidance document.
The eligibility criteria below apply to both CHIP project types.
The project must:
- take place on one or many federal lands on which species at risk and/or their habitat is found
- for regular CHIP projects: target at least one CHIP Priority Species
- for OIPS CHIP projects: target at least one OIPS for which species-specific targeted actions are planned based on the established top priority work required for the species
- demonstrate a clear benefit to species at risk and their critical habitat, and
- include all required SARA permits (when applicable) - Applicants are responsible for reaching out to their regional office in order to assess needs for a SARA permit. It is the applicants’ responsibility to ensure all required SARA permits are obtained prior to the start of their project. CHIP funding for chosen projects will only be transferred if all necessary SARA permits are obtained and valid
The project can:
- include non-federal adjacent lands as long as it mainly takes place on at least one federal or federally-administered property
- for regular CHIP projects: target multiple species at risk and demonstrate a particular focus on ecosystem-based recovery initiatives
- implement high priority activities described in established recovery documents and/or wildlife and/or habitat conservation plans
- mitigate one or more key threats as indicated in the species at risk recovery documents
- occur in one or more Priority Places as identified in the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada
- include a cost-share or in-kind support approach with other programs and/or stakeholders. The responsible organization and its partners must contribute at least 20% of the total costs of the proposed project, be it financially and/or in-kind
- demonstrate collaboration among multiple partners with priority being given to projects that involve a greater number of confirmed partners, especially Indigenous peoples
Proposed activities aiming at the conservation and recovery of species at risk and the protection and restoration of their critical habitat must derive from a recovery strategy or a proposed or final action plan published on the species at risk public registry, or from a draft recovery plan. Provincial recovery plans can be used as a reference on a case-by-case basis to a proposed activity only if no other recovery document exists.
The activity categories eligible for CHIP funding are listed below. Under each category are examples of eligible activities. Please note that for OIPS CHIP projects, the priority work is provided in the reference document for each eligible species.
Technical and scientific
- critical habitat identification and scale refinement surveys and mapping
- species at risk surveys and population trend research
- research and implementation of invasive species related activities
- research on biology or ecology of the species, with respect to its habitat needs
- monitoring to determine short to long-term impacts of project activity(ies) on species at risk recovery
Outreach and education
- direct community outreach regarding species at risk and critical habitat awareness
- signage and other means of spreading awareness in areas in which threats are known
- creation and installation of information boards and modules to inform the public
- production and distribution of printed material or workshops pertaining to species at risk
- development of web tools to educate and inform on species at risk and critical habitat
- direct mitigation of threats to the species at risk
- conservation, recovery and protection of critical habitat
- invasive species removal, and native species re-introduction to damaged ecosystems
- species at risk reintroduction or repopulation in critical habitat zones
- improvement of critical habitat quality
CHIP priority species
CHIP prioritizes threatened and endangered species for which SARA s.58 critical habitat protection orders are in place or upcoming. The table below indicates the eligible species, the region(s) in which they are found, and in which priority places they are found in.
Some species are bolded in this list. These species are Other Internally Prioritized Species (OIPS), consisting of high priority species for conservation action which require targeted species-specific actions. In the context of regular CHIP projects, these species can be included in broader ecosystem-based recovery approaches.
Additional OIPS are eligible for potential CHIP funding for projects targeting them through species-specific targeted actions only. To see all eligible OIPS and top priority work associated with them, refer to the OIPS guidance document (PDF) available in the section “Related links”. Should it be determined that your project targets an eligible OIPS through targeted species-specific actions, follow the OIPS CHIP project path described in the guidance document.
Table: CHIP Priority Species, in alphabetical order. In bold, the OIPS also eligible for the regular CHIP project type
|CHIP Priority Species||Province / Territory||SARA Status||Priority Place #|
|American Badger (jeffersonii subspecies), Western and Eastern populations||BC||Endangered||9|
|American Ginseng||QC, ON||Endangered||4; 5|
|Bank Swallow||All provinces and territories||Threatened||1; 2; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11|
|Barn Owl, Western population||BC||Threatened||9; 10|
|Batwing Vinyl Lichen||BC||Endangered||10|
|Bear’s Foot Sanicle||BC||Threatened||10|
|Bicknell’s Thrush||QC, NB, NS, PE||Threatened||2|
|Black-footed Ferret||AB, SK||Extirpated||7|
|Blanding's Turtle, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population||QC, ON||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||3; 4|
|Blunt-lobed Woodsia||QC, ON||Threatened||-|
|Burrowing Owl||BC, AB, SK, MB||Endangered||6; 7; 8; 9|
|Cerulean Warbler||MB, ON, QC||Endangered||4; 5|
|Chestnut-collared Longspur||AB, SK, MB||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||6; 7; 8|
|Coastal Giant Salamander||BC||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||10|
|Coastal Scouler’s Catchfly||BC||Endangered||10|
|Common Hoptree||ON||Special Concern||5|
|Dun Skipper, Western population||BC||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||9; 10|
|Dusky Dune Moth||AB, SK, MB||Endangered||6; 8|
|Eastern Flowering Dogwood||ON||Endangered||5|
|Eastern Foxsnake, Carolinian population||ON||Endangered||5|
|Eastern Foxsnake, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population||ON, QC||Endangered||-|
|Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid||ON||Endangered||-|
|Eastern Ribbonsnake, Atlantic population||NS||Endangered||1|
|Eastern Waterfan||NB, NS, QC||Threatened||-|
|Eastern Whip-poor-will||AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, PE||Threatened||1; 2; 4; 5|
|Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer||AB, SK||Threatened||7; 8|
|Edwards' Beach Moth||BC||Endangered||10|
|False Hop Sedge||QC, ON||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||4|
|Flooded Jellyskin||MB, ON, QC||Special Concern||4|
|Forked Three-awned Grass||QC, ON||Endangered||4|
|Gattinger's Agalinis||MB, ON||Endangered||-|
|Gold-edged Gem||AB, SK, MB||Endangered||6; 8|
|Golden-winged Warbler||MB, ON, QC||Threatened||4; 5|
|Gray Ratsnake, Carolinian population||ON||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||5|
|Gray Ratsnake, Great Lakes / St.Lawrence population||ON||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||-|
|Great Basin Gophersnake||BC||Threatened||9|
|Great Basin Spadefoot||BC||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||9|
|Greater Sage-Grouse (urophasianus subspecies)||AB, SK||Endangered||7; 8|
|Greater Short-horned Lizard||AB, SK||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||7; 8|
|Gulf of St. Lawrence Aster||QC, NB, PE||Threatened||3|
|Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee||BC, AB, ON, QC, SK, MB, NB, NS, PE, NL, YT, NT||Endangered||1; 2; 4; 5; 6; 11|
|Half-moon Hairstreak||BC, AB||Endangered||8; 9|
|Horned Grebe, Magdalen Islands population||QC||Endangered||-|
|Ivory Gull||NU, NL, NT||Endangered||-|
|Least Bittern||MB, ON, QC, NB, NS||Threatened||2; 4; 5; 6|
|Lindley's False Silverpuffs||BC||Endangered||10|
|Little Brown Myotis||AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, NT, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT||Endangered||1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11|
|Loggerhead Shrike (excubitorides subspecies)||AB, SK, MB||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||6; 7; 8|
|Louisiana Waterthrush||ON, QC||Threatened||-|
|Massasauga, Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population||ON||Threatened||-|
|Mormon Metalmark, Southern Mountain population||BC||Endangered||9|
|Mountain Plover||AB, SK||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||7; 8|
|Northern Goshawk (laingi subspecies)||BC||Threatened||10|
|Northern Leopard Frog, Rocky Mountain population||BC||Endangered||-|
|Northern Myotis||AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, NT, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT||Endangered||1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 9|
|Ord's Kangaroo Rat||AB, SK||Endangered||8|
|Oregon Spotted Frog||BC||Endangered||10|
|Pacific Water Shrew||BC||Endangered||10|
|Pale-bellied Frost Lichen||ON, QC||Endangered||-|
|Peary Caribou||NT, NU||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||-|
|Piping Plover (melodus subspecies)||QC, NB, NS, PE, NL||Endangered||1|
|Prairie Skink||MB||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||6|
|Red Knot (rufa subspecies)||AB, MB, NB, NL, NT, NS, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK||Endangered||1; 2|
|Red-headed Woodpecker||BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC||Endangered||4; 5; 6; 7|
|Rigid Apple Moss||BC||Endangered||10|
|Roell's Brotherella Moss||BC||Endangered||10|
|Roseate Tern||QC, NB, NS||Endangered||1|
|Rusty Cord-moss||BC, SK||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||7; 9|
|Sage Thrasher||BC, AB, SK||Endangered||7; 8; 9|
|Seaside Birds-foot Lotus||BC||Endangered||10|
|Seaside Bone Lichen||BC||Threatened||10|
|Sharp-tailed Snake||BC||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||10|
|Short-rayed Alkali Aster||BC||Endangered||9|
|Slender Mouse-ear-cress||AB, SK||Threatened||8|
|Small-flowered Lipocarpha||BC, ON||Endangered||9|
|Small-flowered Sand-verbena||AB, SK||Endangered||8|
|Smooth Goosefoot||AB, SK, MB||Threatened||6; 8|
|Spiny Softshell||ON, QC||Endangered||4; 5|
|Spotted Turtle||ON, QC||Endangered||5|
|Sprague’s Pipit||AB, SK, MB||Threatened||6; 7; 8|
|Swift Fox||AB, SK||Threatened||7; 8|
|Tiny Cryptantha||AB, SK||Threatened||8|
|Townsend's Mole||BC||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||10|
|Tri-colored Bat||NB, NS, ON, QC||Endangered||1; 2; 4; 5|
|Vesper Sparrow (affinis subspecies)||BC||Endangered (Under consideration for status change)||10|
|Western Painted Turtle, Pacific Coast population||BC||Threatened||10|
|Western Spiderwort||AB, SK, MB||Threatened||6; 8|
|Western Tiger Salamander, Southern Mountain population||BC||Endangered||9|
|Whip-poor-will||MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, SK||Threatened||1; 2; 4; 5|
|White Flower Moth||MB||Endangered||6|
|Whooping Crane||AB, MB, SK, NT||Endangered||-|
|Wood Bison||YT, NT, BC, AB, MB||Threatened||11|
|Wood Turtle||NB, NS, ON, QC||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||1; 2; 4|
|Woodland Caribou, Boreal population||AB, BC, MB, NL, NT, ON, QC, SK, YT||Threatened||-|
|Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population||AB, BC||Threatened (Under consideration for status change)||-|
|Yellow Montane Violet (praemorsa subspecies)||BC||Endangered||10|
|Yellow-breasted Chat (auricollis subspecies), Southern Mountain population||BC||Endangered||9|
Priority Places represent landscapes of significant conservation value, such as those with high occurrences and/or diversity of species at risk and migratory birds or those with important habitat for these species. These places have also been targeted as having existing conservation opportunities with active partners and stakeholders, which can be expanded on or leveraged through more targeted program funding to increase successful conservation outcomes.
Note that priority places are assigned at the regional level and, at this time, not all provinces/territories have priority places identified.
- Kesputkwitk / Southwest Nova Scotia (Atlantic Region)
- Wolastoq / St-John River Bioregion, New Brunswick (Atlantic Region)
- Prince Edward Island Forested landscape (Atlantic Region)
- St. Lawrence Lowlands of Quebec (Quebec Region)
- Long Point Walsingham Forest in Ontario (Ontario Region)
- Mixed Grass Prairie Manitoba (Prairie Region)
- Milk River Watershed (South of Divide) Saskatchewan (Prairie Region)
- South-Saskatchewan River Watershed (summit to sage) Alberta (Prairie Region)
- Dry Interior of British Columbia (Pacific Region)
- Southwest British Columbia (Pacific Region)
- Southern Beringia, Yukon Territory (Northern Region)
To view priority places on a map, refer to the Pan-Canadian approach to transforming species at risk conservation in Canada page.
Range of funding
The minimum funding request suggested for new and multi-year projects is $5,000 and project annual funding usually ranges from $20,000 to $80,000 per project. Projects may extend over more than 1 year to a maximum of 5 years. Currently, one project proposal must be submitted per year, even for a continuation of a project. Please note that funding is not guaranteed for the full duration of a project.
Once a project ends, monitoring may be required. In this instance, applicants can re-apply for CHIP funding for monitoring results of their past project, but should indicate in their initial project that monitoring may be required once the initial project is completed. CHIP funding is not guaranteed for monitoring follow-ups, and funding for such follow-ups will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Call for proposals
A call for project proposals, in the form of an email, is sent to federal organizations in October/November of the ongoing fiscal year to gather proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. This email includes a two-part project proposal template, which includes the administrative and financial details and a template for a detailed project description. Once the project proposal has been received, the CHIP Secretariat will send an acknowledgement of receipt and may contact the applicant if there are any questions or if clarifications are required. In the instance that a specific government organization submits multiple projects for CHIP funding, we ask that this organization make a list of their submitted projects, in order of priority, and submits it to the CHIP Secretariat.
After the evaluation process is completed, applicants are notified by email that their project is either approved for CHIP funding or not. Participants will need to confirm, via email, that their project is going forward as proposed or with negotiated modifications proposed by the CHIP Secretariat and that they are accepting the CHIP funding. If, after submitting a project proposal to CHIP and before receiving confirmation of funding decision, your organization decides to use other sources of funding to replace CHIP funding, or postpone or cancel the project, the CHIP Secretariat needs to be promptly advised. This allows the CHIP Secretariat to consider other proposed projects to distribute the released funds to, and to avoid additional delays for other potential recipients.
Projects will be selected based on the following criteria:
- whether they meet all CHIP mandatory eligibility criteria
- the extent to which they address additional criteria
- the level to which the project demonstrates benefits to the species and/or their critical habitat
- whether they meet all the SARA permitting requirements as determined by CWS Wildlife Management Directorate SARI - Permitting team
Each proposal undergoes a technical evaluation by the CHIP Secretariat to confirm that it meets CHIP mandatory eligibility criteria and the extent to which it meets the additional criteria.
The projects meeting mandatory criteria are then reviewed by the CHIP Review board to determine which projects demonstrate the most benefit to the species and/or its critical habitat. This board is comprised of CWS regional and CWS Wildlife Management Directorate representatives.
Representatives of the CWS Wildlife Management Branch Permitting Team ensure that activities that may require a SARA permit are assessed, that permit prerequisites are met in the event that an activity requires a SARA permit, and that permits can be obtained for project activities, if required. In the instance that an activity requires a permit, the project’s approval for funding consideration is dependent on the submission and approval of a SARA permit application, and the deliverance of a SARA permit prior to the start of the activities. The process of obtaining permits under SARA can take up to 90 days. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead for securing permits on time.
Projects deemed to have the most benefits to the species and/or their critical habitat are then selected to receive CHIP funding, based on funding availability. CHIP funding is guaranteed only once a Memorandum of Understanding is signed by ECCC and the governmental organization that submitted the proposal and required SARA permits obtained.
- CHIP specific SARA guidance (PDF): This document includes information on the SARA listing process, SARA general prohibitions and where they apply, SARA s.58 critical habitat protection orders, SARA permitting requirements, as well as contains additional resources for federal land managers.
- CHIP specific SARA permitting guidance: This document provides guidance as to the need for SARA permits, applicant responsibilities, the SARA permit application process and guidelines. For specific questions about SARA permits, please contact your regional SARA permitting office.
- OIPS project type guidance (PDF): This document provides the categories of OIPS species, the list of species as well as the top priority work established for the species. It also provides guidance as to how to build your proposal.
For general ECCC or Canadian Wildlife Service inquiries, please contact 1-800-668-6767 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any further questions about CHIP, please contact us at email@example.com.
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