Habitat stewardship for species at risk

Overview

As part of Canada's national strategy for the protection of species at risk, the Government of Canada established the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for Species at Risk. The overall goals of the HSP are to "contribute to the recovery of endangered, threatened, and other species at risk, and to prevent other species from becoming a conservation concern, by engaging Canadians from all walks of life in conservation actions to benefit wildlife."   

Activities must take place on private lands, provincial Crown lands, Indigenous lands, or in aquatic and marine areas across Canada. The program also fosters partnerships among organizations interested in the recovery of species at risk and other species.

The HSP is one of the three main federal funding programs that focus on the protection and recovery of species at risk.  The others are the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk and the Interdepartmental Recovery Fund.  The Habitat Stewardship Program is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada and managed co-operatively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Parks Canada Agency.

Stewardship is clearly making a difference in habitat protection, the recovery of species, and the preservation of biodiversity. The HSP started in 2000, as one of three pillars in Canada’s national strategy for the protection of species at risk. The other two pillars are the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, endorsed by the provinces and territories, and SARA. Under SARA, stewardship is the first step in protecting Critical Habitat. Hundreds of stewardship projects are underway across Canada, many of them funded by the HSP. The program directs funds where they are needed most and into the hands of people who can make a difference--those who work on Canada's lands and waters and who care about this country's natural heritage.

To guide the effective use of limited resources, national and regional planning partners establish the overall priorities annually and then specific projects are developed. Activities that respond to regional priorities are regionally reviewed and recommended for funding in the following six regions: Pacific, Prairie, Northern, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic. Review committees represent the three responsible departments, as well as provincial, territorial, conservation and other stakeholder interests.

The Habitat Stewardship Program helps implement Species at Risk

The program alsoFootnote 1  fosters land, water and resource use practices that maintain the habitat necessary for the survival and recovery of species at risk, enhancing existing conservation activities and encouraging new ones. Furthermore, in some cases, entire landscapes and marine coastal areas are important enough, in terms of the conservation of species at risk, to become priorities themselves.

Priority landscapes that have been targeted by the Species at Risk Stream include:

  • Southwest Nova Scotia
  • St. Lawrence Lowlands
  • Ontario’s Long Point Walsingham Forest
  • Saskatchewan’s Milk River Watershed (South of Divide)
  • British Columbia’s Dry Interior
  • Southwest British Columbia

Since program inception in 2000 and up to the end of March 2016, the Species at Risk Stream invested over $163.7 million to support more than 2700 local species at risk conservation projects, benefitting the habitat of more than 240 species at risk each year. These projects have in turn leveraged an additional $397.1 million for a total investment of over $560.8 million in stewardship projects to support the recovery of species at risk. The program has established over 460 partnerships with Indigenous organizations, landowners, resource users, nature trusts, provinces, the natural resource sector, community-based wildlife societies, educational institutions and conservation organizations. Every year, on average, 200 000 ha are protected through direct actions taken by landowners, land managers, or conservation agencies. The program reaches more than a million people every year through outreach and education activities.

What is stewardship

"Stewardship" refers to the wide range of actions that Canadians take to care for the environment, ranging from conserving wild species and their habitats directly, to improving the quality of habitat by mitigating human impact. These types of conservation activities, particularly those that protect aquatic and terrestrial habitats, are essential to the recovery of species at risk. They are also instrumental in preventing other species from becoming at risk.

Some of the ongoing stewardship activities supported by the HSP Species at Risk Stream include:

  • removing invasive White Sweet Clover at Prairie Point Alvar in Ontario in order to improve the habitat of the Endangered Gattinger’s Agalinis, a branching, slender plant
  • developing a landscape management strategy for the winter habitat of the Threatened Woodland Caribou in Manitoba
  • recruiting local volunteers to rope all-terrain vehicle trails in order to protect a bog that is the habitat to the largest population of the Endangered Eastern Mountain Avens in Nova Scotia
  • monitoring marine mammal populations and protecting important habitats from disturbance along the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific coasts

Partnerships are the key to making stewardship a successful conservation tool in Canada. Federal and provincial governments encourage action by providing scientific information, technical assistance and economic incentives. Non-governmental organizations help private landowners and concerned citizens identify and implement effective stewardship activities. Many other partners are also involved, including fishers, Indigenous organizations, educational institutions and community organizations.

Program goals and expected results

Protecting habitat and contributing to the recovery of species at risk is the HSP's main goal.

The Species at Risk Stream focuses on results in four main areas:

  • important habitatFootnote 1  for species at risk recovery is secured or otherwise protected
  • important habitat for species at risk recovery is improved (restored/enhanced) and/or managed to meet species’ recovery needs
  • threats to species at risk and/or their habitat that are caused by human activities are stopped, removed and/or mitigated
  • project benefits are sustained over time by engaging Canadians (landowners, resource users, volunteers) to participate directly in activities that support the recovery of species at risk

In addition to the above expected program results, the program requires a minimum of 1:1 leveraging on funds that it invests so that, for every $1 provided by the HSP, at least $1 is raised by project recipients. This leveraging can take in the form of either financial or in-kind resources (equipment loans, donations of building materials and volunteer labour). Partner funding and other support broaden the scope of projects, improve on-the-ground results, and strengthen the public and private collaboration that is essential to involving all Canadians in stewardship activities for all species.

Important information

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be taking on a larger administrative role for new projects in 2018-19. Applicants wishing to pursue aquatic HSP projects in 2018 to 2019 should contact the aquatic regional coordinator identified in the list below. Ongoing projects approved prior to 2018 to 2019 will not be impacted by this change.  

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will aim to have aquatic HSP funding decisions communicated by early May 2018. Applicants can therefore submit proposals with activities that will occur after May 1, 2018. For further information please contact the appropriate regional aquatic coordinators listed below.

Environment and Climate Change Canada will aim to have funding decisions communicated in early September 2018 for HSP terrestrial projects. Applicants should therefore only submit an application for HSP funding consideration for terrestrial activities that will occur after September 1, 2018. For more information or to discuss implications for your project, contact your terrestrial regional coordinator.

The deadline to submit all proposals has been extended to March 23rd 2018, noon local time. 

Application

To apply

On-line system

Applicants should contact their Regional Coordinator to obtain access to the HSP on-line application form.

Program contacts

To become involved in the HSP, you must have an eligible project. Contact your regional coordinator, from the list of regions below, to find out whether your organization and project would be a candidate for funding.

For general Environment and Climate Change Canada or Canadian Wildlife Service inquiries, please contact 1-800-668-6767 or ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca.

For general Department of Fisheries and Oceans inquiries, please send an email to: info@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Email: ec.PIH-HSP.ec@canada.ca

Terrestrial projects

Regional contacts for general administration of projects and technical support on terrestrial species.

New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador

Sheri Faulkner-Jackson
Email: sheri.faulkner@canada.ca
Telephone: (506) 364-5198

Sydney Worthman
Email: sydney.worthman@canada.ca
Telephone: (709) 772-4221

Quebec

Jérôme Desrosiers
Email: jerome.desrosiers@canada.ca
Telephone: (418) 648-7410

Ontario

Kim Laird
Email: kim.laird@canada.ca
Telephone: (416) 739-4986

Manitoba/Saskatchewan

Ron Bazin
Email: ron.bazin@canada.ca
Telephone: (204) 984-0863

Alberta

Carmen Callihoo-Payne
Email: carmen.callihoo-payne@canada.ca
Telephone: (780) 951-8672

Northwest Territories and Nunavut

Dawn Andrews
Email: dawn.andrews@canada.ca
Telephone: (867) 669-4767

Yukon

Saleem Dar
Email: saleem.dar@canada.ca
Telephone: (867) 393-7976

British Columbia

Ivy Whitehorne
Email: Ivy.whitehorne@canada.ca
Telephone: (604) 350-1939

Aquatic projects

Regional contacts for general administration of projects and technical support on aquatic species.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Dana Yetman
Email: dana.yetman@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (709) 772-3469

Maritimes

Jennifer McDonald
Email : jennifer.macdonald@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (902) 407-8175

Gulf

Fabiola Akaishi
Email: fabiola.akaishi@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (506) 851-6790

Quebec

Marie-Michèle Bourassa
Email: marie-michele.bourassa@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Tel : (418) 775-0529

Ontario

Melanie VanGerwen-Toyne
Email: melanie.toyne@dfo-mpo.gc.ca 
Telephone: (204) 983-5137

Manitoba/Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

Melanie VanGerwen-Toyne
Email: melanie.toyne@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (204) 983-5137

British Columbia and Yukon

Vivan Chow
Email: vivian.chow@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (604) 666-4565

Questions and answers

What is the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for Species at Risk?

The Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk is a Government of Canada program, established in 2000, to support the recovery of endangered, threatened, and other species at risk and their habitats by engaging Canadians from all walks of life in conservation actions to benefit species at risk.  HSP is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada and co-managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Parks Canada Agency.

What are the selection criteria for projects under the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP)?

Projects must satisfy each of the following criteria: 

  • meet all eligibility requirements
  • address one or both of the national and regional priorities
  • leverage a minimum of 1:1 on funds that HSP invests; that is to say that for every $1 provided by HSP at least $1 is raised by project recipients

HSP supports projects that focus on results in four main areas:

  • important habitat for species at risk recovery is secured or otherwise protected
  • important habitat for species at risk recovery is improved (restored/enhanced) and/or managed to meet species’ recovery needs
  • threats to species at risk and/or their habitat that are caused by human activities are stopped, removed and/or mitigated
  • project benefits are sustained over time by engaging Canadians (landowners, resource users, volunteers) to participate directly in activities that support the recovery of species at risk
What is the evaluation process and how are fund amounts determined for eligible projects?

Each proposal undergoes a technical evaluation by a Regional Implementation Board and by a National Steering Committee to confirm they meet eligibility requirements.  Proposals meeting the eligibility requirements are then prioritized for funding based on alignment with program objectives, including national and regional priorities, and program and project administration criteria.

Funding is variable and dependant on project activities.  In an effort to promote collaboration and multi-year projects, the minimum funding request suggested for new and multi-year projects is $25,000 and project funding usually ranges from $25,000 to $100,000 per year.  Projects may extend between one to three years. A minimum of 50% matching contributions (from non-federal sources) is required ($1 confirmed match for each $1 of HSP funding). 

I would like to apply to HSP, when are applications due and can I have an application form?

The 2018-2019 National call for proposals for all Environment and Climate Change Canada’s application-based funding programs, including HSP, has been launched.  More information on these programs can be found on the Environmental funding programs’ website.  Please review the funding opportunities for 2018-2019 and discuss your project with the relevant Environment and Climate Change Canada regional staff.

When will I receive notification that I have been approved for funding?

As a result of the delay to the launch of the 2018-2019 call for proposals the notification of funding decisions will be received later than is typical. Environment and Climate Change Canada will aim to have funding decisions made by September 1, 2018 for HSP projects.

I have an idea for a project, can you tell me if I should consider applying to HSP or not?

If you are interested in applying to HSP please contact us at ec.pih-hsp.ec@canada.ca or contact the relevant Regional Coordinator to discuss your proposal in more detail.

Why is there no HSP Prevention stream this year?

In order to ensure that Environment and Climate Change Canada continues to deliver on its priorities in the most efficient way possible, the department recently undertook a review of its Grants and Contributions programs. In 2018-2019, Environment and Climate Change Canada is reallocating some of its funds toward other key departmental priorities, including the recovery of species at risk.

Will HSP-Prevention projects that have been previously approved for work in 2018-2019 continue?

Yes. There are 26 previously-approved multi-year projects that will continue to receive funding and support in the coming year. Program staff will be available to provide operational support for these projects with respect to their final payments and reports associated with contribution agreements.

Will there be an HSP-Prevention stream in the future?

Environment and Climate Change Canada carefully reviews its entire Grants and Contributions budget each year so that funding addresses the federal government’s priorities for clean air, climate change, clean water and biodiversity.  The Government of Canada is committed to the protection and conservation of our natural environment and is working hard to make sure that our limited Grant and Contribution budget is used in the most effective manner to best meet our national conservation objectives.

Are there other sources of funding for my conservation project that does not target species at risk?

Yes.  Other sources of funding remain available for preventing species from becoming a conservation concern. We encourage you to check out the other programs listed on the Environment funding programs website for potential funding options

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