Species at risk funding programs


The Species at Risk Act (SARA) was created in 2002 to prevent Canadian species from becoming extirpated or extinct, by providing for the recovery of endangered and threatened species and by encouraging the management of other species to prevent them from becoming at risk. Three funding programs were established to help achieve this objective: the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for Species at Risk, the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) and the Interdepartmental Recovery Fund (IRF).

Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP)

What is the HSP?

Since 2000, the HSP has been providing funding to stewards for the protection and conservation of species at risk and their habitats. In doing so, the program is also benefitting other species by preventing them from becoming a conservation concern. Activities funded by the program must take place on private, provincial Crown, or Aboriginal land, or in freshwater or marine environments across Canada.

The HSP at work

The following are examples of projects supported by the HSP:

  • Removing invasive White Sweet Clover at Prairie Point Alvar in Ontario in order to improve the habitat of the Endangered Gattinger's Agalinis.
  • Developing a landscape management strategy for the winter habitat of the Threatened Woodland Caribou in Manitoba.
  • Recruiting local volunteers to rope off all-terrain vehicle trails in order to protect a bog that is the habitat of the largest population of the Endangered Eastern Mountain Avens in Nova Scotia.

Who is eligible?

Non-governmental organizations, Aboriginal organizations and communities, individuals, businesses, community associations, and provincial/territorial and municipal governments are eligible for funding.

Who is involved in the HSP?

The program is managed cooperatively by Environment Canada (EC), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Parks Canada Agency (PCA). The program administration rests with EC.

How can I learn more about the HSP?

To learn more about how stewardship actions contribute to the protection of species at risk, please visit the website.

Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR)

What is AFSAR?

AFSAR was established in 2004 to help Aboriginal organizations and communities acquire, develop and use knowledge and skills to enable them to participate in the conservation and recovery of species at risk. The program supports projects that protect and recover species at risk and their habitats on Aboriginal lands.

AFSAR at work

The following are examples of projects supported by AFSAR:

  • Developing a landscape management plan for the Endangered Peary Caribou in northern communities, by interviewing Inuit elders and hunters and combining their traditional ecological knowledge with other wildlife data to attain a better understanding of local caribou population distribution.
  • Reducing the threat of fishing gear entanglement and boat collisions for the Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle, by training Aboriginal community members in alternative fishing methods.
  • Removing the invasive Scotch Pine that is competing with the Endangered Forked Three-awned Grass on Beausoleil First Nations Lands in Ontario.

Who is eligible?

Aboriginal communities and organizations (or others working on their behalf) are eligible for funding.

Who is involved in AFSAR?

AFSAR is co-managed by EC, DFO and PCA with support from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. EC and DFO share program administration responsibilities.

How can I learn more about AFSAR?

To learn more about how Aboriginal communities participate in species at risk recovery, please visit the website.

Interdepartmental Recovery Fund (IRF)

What is the IRF?

The IRF was established in 2002 to support species at risk projects undertaken by other federal government departments (OGDs), i.e., those other than the three federal organizations (EC, DFO and PCA) responsible for implementing SARA. The program's purpose is to direct funding to priority recovery activities under recovery strategies or action plans, and to support surveys on species at risk that predominantly inhabit OGD lands or associated waters.

The IRF at work

The following are examples of projects supported by the IRF:

  • Mitigating agricultural threats for the recovery of Eastern Sand Darter and Channel Darter habitat in the southern part of the L'Assomption River watershed in Quebec.
  • Experimentally translocating a population of Endangered Ord's Kangaroo Rats from suitable source sites in Alberta, and monitoring their response at relocation sites using passive integrated transponder tags.
  • Tracking the movement patterns of the Endangered Sharp-tailed Snake to reveal information on its habitat and movement patterns at a site on Observatory Hill in British Columbia.

Who is eligible?

All OGDs that are interested in implementing recovery actions or conducting surveys for priority species at risk are eligible for IRF funding. EC, DFO and PCA are not eligible to apply.

Who is involved in the IRF?

The program is managed cooperatively by EC, DFO and PCA, with the advice and support of several OGDs. The program administration rests with EC.

How can I learn more about the IRF?

To learn more about how the IRF supports the recovery of species at risk and their habitat on federal lands and waters, please visit the website.

Cooperation: The key to species at risk recovery

Land ownership and management in Canada is shared among a diverse group of stakeholders. As such, the responsibility for wildlife stewardship and protection is also shared. Sound approaches to species at risk recovery require collaboration among governments, private landowners, the natural resources sector, Aboriginal peoples and communities.

These partnerships help achieve on-the-ground species at risk recovery beyond the reach of any one federal agency, by broadening project scope, strengthening public/private collaboration and resource sharing, and improving the sustainability of project activities at the community level, even after federal funding has ended.

These species at risk funding programs foster opportunities and synergies among organizations and all levels of government working to recover species at risk. They support Canadians in their efforts to meet the requirements of the national species recovery process and SARA.

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