As part of Canada’s National Conservation Plan, the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) initiative is focused on working with the agricultural community to facilitate recovery of species at risk on agricultural lands through voluntary stewardship actions related to critical habitat for species at risk.
As part of the National Conservation Plan, the Government of Canada has increased the amount of funding available for stewardship actions, as well as for prevention efforts to stop other species from becoming a conservation concern.
The National Conservation Plan includes funding of $50 million over five years, which will support voluntary actions to conserve species and restore their habitats. This funding builds on and complements the existing Habitat Stewardship Program and the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk, and includes a $6.2 million investment over five years for SARPAL.
Working closely with stakeholders, Environment Canada is exploring a variety of approaches to working with producers on voluntary agreements that result in effective protection of identified critical habitat for Species at Risk Act-listed species located on agricultural lands.
The initial phase of SARPAL will concentrate on building partnerships and finding linkages with existing regional and provincial programs and initiatives, as well as developing Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs). Longer term, SARPAL aims to integrate solutions into already established programs and maximize opportunities for protection of species at risk on agricultural lands through proactive voluntary actions.
SARPAL is focused entirely on commercially-farmed lands containing individuals, residences, or critical habitat of Species at Risk Act-listed species, and has three main elements: agreements/contracts, BMPs, and funding for producers.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association provide implementation advice through the SARPAL Advisory Group.
In May 2014, Prime Minister Harper launched a $252 million National Conservation Plan which builds on and coordinates conservation efforts across the country with an emphasis on enabling Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters in and around their communities while making it easier for citizens in cities to connect with nature.
More information about the National Conservation Plan can be found here.