Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk

The call for applications for projects commencing in 2024-2025 is now closed.


One of the Government of Canada’s conservation mandates is the conservation of nature, including the recovery of species at risk. In this regard, the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) was established in 2000. It provides funding for projects submitted by Canadians that contribute directly to the recovery objectives and population goals of species at risk listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) or designated at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) administers HSP funds that support terrestrial stewardship projects while Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is responsible for administering the HSP for aquatic species at risk. Applicants wishing to pursue HSP projects on aquaticFootnote 1  species should contact the appropriate regional coordinator at DFO.

This page provides general program information and requirements for making an application to the HSP for terrestrial species at risk. Applications will be evaluated in the context of the Program’s funding priorities, which are updated annually.

Regional HSP Coordinators are the primary source of additional information for questions pertaining to information provided on this page, program priorities, and funding options available through ECCC’s Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). More specific questions related to funding amounts, outcome reporting, species data sharing, and project permits, can also be directed to the appropriate regional HSP coordinator. For more information about the terrestrial HSP program, please send specific questions to PIH-HSP@ec.gc.ca .

Objectives and Expected Results

The objectives of this program are to:

To be eligible, proposed projects must demonstrate how they contribute directly to the recovery objectives and population goals of target species. Further, the application must contribute to one or more of the following Conserving Nature expected results:

Eligible Recipients

The following are eligible for funding under the HSP:

Federal departments, federal agencies and federal Crown corporations are not eligible to receive HSP funds.

Geographic Location

Project activities must take place in Canada, on:

If the proposed project is expected to take place on Indigenous land, either entirely or partially, and the applicant is not Indigenous or has no rights to the land (for example, through a permit, lease, or as a Certificate of Possession holder), the applicant must provide signed letter(s) of support from the affected Indigenous community.

Eligible Species

The following species are eligible for funding under the HSP:

The majority of program funds (i.e., at least 80%) will be directed to projects targeting species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA. Up to 20% of the available funds will be directed towards projects targeting species that are not listed on Schedule 1 of SARA but designated by COSEWIC as endangered, threatened or of special concern. Priorities within these eligible species are listed below. Please consult this list to determine if your proposal could have a higher chance of success. Funding priorities, including regional priorities, are reviewed and updated annually to ensure they align with the Government of Canada’s priorities.

For the most up-to-date list of species on Schedule 1 of SARA, as well as their recovery strategies, action plans and management plans, or to search for COSEWIC-assessed species and to obtain their status reports, please consult the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Program Priorities

The 2024-2025 call for applications prioritized projects targeting regionally identified priority species and actions (see Table 1).

The priority species listed below were selected based on their likelihood to benefit from stewardship activities and include those that may not benefit from other ECCC funding sources, while the actions are those of highest regional priority.

Table 1: Priorities by CWS region

Although the HSP funds projects on target species, it is recognized that actions for one or more target species may benefit multiple other non-targeted species, and this should have been highlighted in the application. Please see the list of HSP priorities for each region in Table 1, and other funding considerations below the table.

Table 1
Region Priorities

Atlantic Region

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island

New Brunswick

  • Bank Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Bicknell’s Thrush
  • Black-foam Lichen
  • Blue-felt Lichen
  • Boreal Felt Lichen, Atlantic population
  • Boreal Felt Lichen, Boreal population
  • Canada Warbler
  • Chimney Swift
  • Common Nighthawk
  • Eastern Painted Turtle
  • Eastern Waterfan
  • Eastern Whip-poor-will
  • Frosted Glass-Whiskers, Nova Scotia population
  • Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee
  • Leach’s Storm-Petrel
  • Little Brown Myotis
  • Macropis Cuckoo Bee
  • Monarch
  • Northern Myotis
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher
  • Piping Plover melodus subspecies
  • Rusty Blackbird
  • Snapping Turtle
  • Suckley’s Bumble Bee
  • Tri-coloured Bat
  • Vole Ears Lichen
  • White-rimmed Shingle Lichen
  • Wood Thrush
  • Wood Turtle
  • Wrinkled Shingle Lichen
  • Yellow-banded Bumble Bee

Quebec Region

  • There were no specific priorities for the 2024-2025 call for applications in the Quebec Region.

Ontario Region

  • Bank Swallow
  • Bird’s-foot Violet
  • Blanding’s Turtle, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Colicroot
  • Eastern Foxsnake, Carolinian population
  • Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid
  • Eastern Whip-poor-will
  • Grasshopper Sparrow, pratensis subspecies
  • Jefferson Salamander, including Unisexual Ambystoma, Jefferson Salamander
  • dependent population
  • Hairy Valerian
  • Kirtland’s Warbler
  • Louisiana Waterthrush
  • Monarch
  • Piping Plover, circumcinctus subspecies
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Spiny Softshell
  • Virginia Goats’-rue
  • Western Chorus Frog, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield population

Priority actions associated with priority species:

Projects including one or more of the following actions and that target one or more of the aforementioned priority species were prioritized:

  • The establishment or improvement of threatened or endangered reptile and amphibian habitat connectivity, particularly between breeding habitat and habitats used in other life cycle stages
  • The creation, restoration or enhancement of foraging habitats for aerial insectivores
  • The creation of Monarch habitat (to support nectaring, breeding, and roosting) within close proximity to the Great Lakes, south of the Canadian Shield. Sites must be at least 5 hectares in size and may be contiguous. Pollinator gardens will not be supported
  • Reforestation and the incorporation of species-at-risk needs into forestry and woodland management

Priority actions associated with other species at risk:

Projects including one or more of the following activities in areas where one or more federally-listed species at risk are known to occur, or occur in close proximity were prioritized:

  • The rehabilitation or re-naturalization of riparian habitat, including within agricultural and municipal drainage.
  • The creation, restoration or enhancement of large native grassland patches (greater than 6 hectares) that are linked to, or that will be established in close proximity to existing native grasslands.

Projects that addressed one or more of the aforementioned priorities and that evaluate success against target species’ population and distribution objectives as set out in a Recovery Document (or will develop a long-term plan to do so) were prioritized.

Prairie Region




  • Bird aerial insectivore species at risk (eg., Chimney Swift, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-pewee, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Common Nighthawk, Barn Swallow, Bank Swallow)
  • Grassland bird species at risk (eg., Baird’s Sparrow, Chestnut-collared Longspur, McCown’s Longspur, Sprague’s Pipit, Lark Bunting, Loggerhead Shrike)
  • Shorebird species at risk(eg., Piping Plover, Red Knot, Long-billed Curlew, Yellow Rail)
  • Bat species at risk(eg., Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, Hoary Bat, Eastern Red Bat, Silver-haired Bat)
  • Amphibian species at risk (eg., Northern Leopard Frog, Great Plains Toad, Western Toad, Western Tiger Salamander)
  • Plant species at risk (eg., Fascicled Ironweed, Buffalograss, Small White Lady’s-slipper)
  • Invertebrate pollinator species at risk(eg., Mottled Duskywing, Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee, Yellow-banded Bumble Bee, Western Bumble Bee, Suckley’s Cuckoo Bumble Bee)
  • Monarch
  • Dakota Skipper
  • Species at risk in sand-dune/sand-prairie habitat (eg., Gold-edged Gem, Dusky Dune Moth, Pale Yellow Dune Moth, White Flower Moth, Gibson’s Big Sand Tiger Beetle, Tiny Cryptantha, Ord’s Kangaroo Rat)
  • Species at risk in the Interlake Region of Manitoba (eg., Least Bittern, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker, Western Grebe)
  • Species at risk that are either burrow excavators or burrow users (eg., American Badger, Burrowing Owl, Prairie Rattlesnake, Bullsnake)

Pacific Region

British Columbia

  • Habitat Protection and Securement or Habitat Improvement of pollinator habitat threatened by herbicides and pesticides
  • Habitat Protection and Securement or Habitat Improvement of wildlife trees threatened by logging and wood harvesting
  • Habitat Protection and Securement or Habitat Improvement of riparian habitats threatened by residential and commercial development or by agriculture
  • Increase habitat connectivity and reduce wildlife mortality threatened by transportation corridors, or
  • Reduction of canopy cover or fuel load of oak or conifer woodlands threatened by fire and fire suppression

Northern Region


Northwest Territories


  • There were no specific priorities for the 2024-2025 call for applications in the Northern Region.

Other funding considerations

HSP project proposals also have a higher chance of success if they:

Eligible Activities

The following activity categories are eligible for HSP funding. Applicants must select from the following activity categories in their application. The examples listed below each activity category are eligible options to consider. Activities that do not fall under these categories are subject to further review. Please consult with a regional HSP coordinator to discuss potential project activities other than those listed below.

Activity Categories


Project Funding and Eligible Expenses

Project Funding

Funding is variable and dependent on project activities. In an effort to promote collaboration and multi-year projects, the suggested minimum funding request for new and multi-year projects is $25,000.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider the potential impact of variable timing of funding decisions on proposed project activities and budgets.

Matching Contributions

Applicants must obtain contributions of non-federal support (cash or in-kind) to obtain HSP funds.

Eligible Expenses

For all expenses, only those deemed to be a reasonable share for completing the project shall be considered eligible.

Eligible expenses may include reasonable and properly itemized costs for:

Please note:

Consolidating Projects and Multi-Year Funding

If an applicant wishes to submit more than one project for HSP funding, they are encouraged to consolidate multiple, small applications on the same target species or in the same area into a single, large application that outlines the different activities.

Multi-year project applications are encouraged because they consider the longer-term conservation outcome and, once approved, offer assurance of funding from one year to the next, provided the Recipients meet all terms, conditions, and other obligations in the Contribution Agreement.

Current Recipients of HSP multi-year funding can apply to receive additional HSP funding to undertake new and additional activities that are within the original scope/objectives of their current project, by way of an amendment to their existing contribution agreementFootnote 9 . Contact a Regional HSP Coordinator for details.

Projects are administered at the regionalFootnote 10  scale. Applicants whose projects cross regional boundaries should identify a primary region based on where the majority of activities will take place. It is strongly recommended that applicants with projects crossing over regional boundaries discuss their project with the primary region’s Regional HSP Coordinator early in the application process.

Other Requirements

Official Languages

The Official Languages Act (Part VII) requires that the Government of Canada promote both official languages and enhance the vitality of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) across Canada. It is recognized that projects or organizations funded by ECCC through a grants and contributions program may:

Applicants whose project may be delivered in a geographic area with OLMCs or which includes any public events, signage, promotional or other communications may need to consider official language requirements. For example, a project may be required to:

Cost directly related to official language translation required under the Official Languages Act for a project is an eligible cost under the program.

Applicants will be required to answer official language questions in their application in order to assess the official language requirements that may apply to the project. Applicants should discuss any potential official language requirements and opportunities with their regional HSP coordinator.

Impact Assessment Act

Consult your Regional HSP Coordinator to help you evaluate whether the consideration of the environmental effects of a project may be required under the Impact Assessment Act.

How to Apply

Expression of Interest

To apply to the HSP, it is recommended that potential applicants contact their Regional HSP Coordinator to obtain an Expression of Interest form, or to discuss their proposed project to verify that it is aligned with Program priorities and expected results. This process will typically improve the quality of the application, but does not guarantee that the project will receive funding.

On-line application system

To submit an application, applicants must register on ECCC’s Single Window Information Management system to access the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS).

Writing a High-quality Project Summary

The following information provides guidance on how to complete the “Project Summary” module in the GCEMS Application. For additional guidance on completing other, non-HSP modules in GCEMS, please consult the GCEMS Applicant User Guide or your regional HSP coordinator.

Project title

This title will be used in all communications related to the proposal. Therefore, it must describe the work undertaken, the project purpose, the project location if possible, and be easily understood by an external audience. Do not use acronyms and do not make reference to the year or phase of a project (e.g., Year 1 of 2) as multi-year proposals are accepted. Example: Encouraging Landowners’ Participation in Conserving Habitat for Burrowing Owl in Southern Alberta.

Start date and end date

Indicate the project start and end dates. Please note that for funding starting in 2024, proposed activities in the application should not start before April 1, 2024. Specify the end date of your project by taking into consideration that HSP support may extend over more than one year to a maximum of five years. A project can be amended up to five (5) additional years at a time but cannot exceed 10 years in total.

Project location(s)

Please enter the City, Province, Canadian Wildlife Service region (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, Pacific or Northern), coordinates (latitude/longitude) and other criteria (if applicable) of the main office responsible for the implementation of the project. More detailed project location information will be requested in the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk 2024-2025 module.

Project description

This is a brief (suggested maximum 250 words) synopsis of the proposed project including the activities to be accomplished using HSP funding on the target species and habitat as outlined in the GCEMS Application. It must contain sufficient information to "stand alone" during the review and approval phases. Be sure to spell out acronyms. Consider the following items in developing your project description:

Satisfactory Example of a Project Description:

This single-year HSP project will focus on targeted outreach and education to assist in the conservation and recovery of species at risk and their habitats in Saskatchewan. The project will take place between May and October 2019 within the Milk River Watershed (South of Divide). Six SARA-listed species will be targeted, including Greater Sage-grouse and Burrowing Owl (both Endangered and Prairie Region priority species) and Loggerhead Shrike (Threatened). Project activities will include a prairie-wide workshop where stakeholders will discuss the benefits and incentives of conserving natural landscapes and best agricultural management practices and outreach events to increase awareness of the importance of native prairie stewardship. The project will deliver on two Conserving Nature expected results, Canada’s wildlife and habitat is conserved and protected, and Canada’s species at risk are recovered, by implementing an educational program where students are educated by farmers about stewardship and species at risk. The project will contribute to the recovery strategy actions of each target species by engaging the community and raising awareness of the species and their threats, including wetland habitat degradation through conversion to agricultural use or invasive species (respectively priority sector and threat), and increasing the network of stakeholders concerned with prairie conservation. Project performance will be evaluated with measurable direct (e.g., number of people engaged) and indirect (e.g., survey of changes made by farmers to promote native landscapes) outcomes.

Unsatisfactory Example of a Project description:

Application deadline

The application period for projects commencing in 2024-2025 was open from September 19, 2023, to 2:00 pm (EDT) on October 31, 2023. Please note that extensions to the application deadline will not be granted due to personal considerations, minor technical malfunctions, or other reasons. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early since online systems can become slower as the deadline nears, due to a high volume of proponents accessing the system. *The creation of a new user account can also take several days.

In accordance with ECCC’s Grants and Contributions Service Standards, applicants will receive an acknowledgement that their application was submitted successfully within five working days of submitting an application. Please contact sgesc-gcems-sgesc-gcems@ec.gc.ca and copy your Regional HSP Coordinator if you have submitted an application but have not received this acknowledgment.

How Applications Are Reviewed

As the demand for funding from HSP regularly exceeds the funds available, there is no guarantee that a project will be funded. Every effort will be made to provide applicants with the earliest possible notice once a decision has been made. To ensure a higher likelihood of success, it is strongly encouraged that applicants complete the Expression of Interest form and work with their Regional HSP Coordinator to discuss their project’s eligibility and alignment with program priorities ahead of the actual application process.

Application Evaluation Criteria

Every project proposal undergoes a technical evaluation by the Regional HSP Coordinator to confirm that it meets eligibility requirements (species, applicants, activities, expenses, matching funds, etc.). Eligible applications will be evaluated and prioritized using the following criteria:

A high-quality project is one that

Please note:

For Accepted Applications

Once departmental approval in principle has been confirmed, applicants (both successful and unsuccessful) will be notified in writing. If your project application is approved in principle, you will be contacted to negotiate a Contribution Agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of funding. Federal Members of Parliament or their teams may be advised about the approval in principle of a project and may be provided with information in this application, including applicant’s name, project title, project description, project location, funding amounts, and contact information. They may contact successful applicants before official notice from ECCC is received, to congratulate them on their project’s approval in principle.


Funding is conditional on the successful negotiation of a Contribution Agreement between the applicant and ECCC. As negotiations are a shared responsibility between the applicant and ECCC, the two parties will aim to complete negotiations within sixty working days.

Cash Flow Statement

Once confirmation of approval of the project has been received, applicants will be required to submit additional information, including, but not limited to, a detailed cash flow statement of all sources of revenue (including all in-kind contributions) and expenditures that are part of the approved project. A quarterly breakdown of ECCC’s contribution will also be required for the year, and if the project is multi-year, will be required at the beginning of every new year.

Intellectual Property Rights

Any Intellectual Property Rights created by the Recipient in association with their obligations and responsibilities under a Contribution Agreement shall vest in and remain the property of the Recipient. ECCC shall have no rights to this intellectual property for any purpose without the express written permission of the Recipient.

Public Acknowledgement

Recipients are responsible for providing ECCC with final copies of any document or material utilizing the ECCC identifier, wordmark or acknowledgement statements prior to printing or distribution, for ECCC approval of the use of said logos or acknowledgement statements. The Regional HSP Coordinator will need to be consulted prior to making any communications products such as publications, public information releases, advertising, promotional announcements, activities, speeches, lectures, interviews, ceremonies, and websites. All such communication products originating from the project must acknowledge ECCC’s contribution as will be described in Appendix E of the Contribution Agreement.

Reporting Obligations

The Contribution Agreement, between the recipient and ECCC, will specify project reporting deadlines. Report templates will be provided for recipients to provide regular progress reports, annual reports (for multi-year projects) as well as a final report upon the completion of the project. These reports will describe project revenue, expenses, accomplishments and detailed descriptions/quantifications of project outputs and outcomes.

Project expected results for annual or final project reports could include:

It is important to note that different projects may have different reporting requirements. The Regional HSP Coordinator will advise recipients on specific reporting requirements.

Survey Data Sharing

Recipients will be required to provide species occurrence or habitat data collected in the context of the project to the respective provincial/territorial wildlife data repository centre or to ECCC, as relevant to the project. Recipients will be asked to confirm in their annual or final report the submission of these data.


Recipients will be responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits associated with the project from relevant federal or provincial authorities (including those required under SARA, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and any other provincial or territorial acts that may apply) wherever the project triggers the need for a permit (e.g., it could impact target species).

As permits take time to arrange, recipients should address this need several months before the project start date to reduce delays once a funding announcement is made. See the SARA registry for more information on SARA permits and this site for migratory bird permits.

Main links

Please see the following websites for additional information that may be useful for applicants:

Contact us

For general ECCC or CWS inquiries, please contact 1-800-668-6767 or ec.enviroinfo.ec@ec.gc.ca.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at PIH-HSP@ec.gc.ca, or contact your Regional HSP Coordinator. Please note that Regional HSP Coordinators are available to answer questions during regular business hours, local time.

Regional HSP Coordinators

Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick
Delphine Seto
Email: delphine.seto@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 506-540-1091

Jérôme Desrosiers
Email: jerome.desrosiers@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 581-703-2747

Patrick Rivers
Email: patrick.rivers@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 416-433-8322

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta
Monika Tan
Email: monika.tan@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 639-398-6402

British Columbia
Adèle McKay
Email: adele.mckay@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 343-572-1563

Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut
Christopher Carli
Email: christopher.carli@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 867-334-7393

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