Parks Canada contributes more than $525,000 to advance the Indigenous-led Westcoast Stewardship Corridor with First Nations partners on Vancouver Island
Led by First Nations, the corridor aims to improve ecological and cultural connectivity along the west coast of Vancouver Island
June 28, 2023 Victoria, British Columbia Parks Canada
Ecological corridors are key in curbing biodiversity loss and helping species adapt to climate change. By properly linking protected and conserved areas, natural processes can take place and species can move, interact, and find habitat across vast landscapes and seascapes.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, together with Chief Gordon Planes, T’Sou-ke First Nation, announced a shared commitment to support the Indigenous-led Westcoast Stewardship Corridor and to preserve the biodiversity of Vancouver Island, ensuring its longevity for future generations.
The Indigenous-led Westcoast Stewardship Corridor is a collaborative initiative among local First Nations on Vancouver Island that is aimed at restoring healthy relationships with the land, waters, plants, animals, people, and Creator and is grounded in the Nuu-chah-nulth guiding principles of Hishuk’ish tsawalk (interconnectedness), Uu-a-thluk (the responsibility to take care of), Łisaak (respect for all things living and non-living), and the Coast Salish principle of Naut’sa mawt (together as one).
The Indigenous-led Westcoast Stewardship Corridor, funded in part by the Parks Canada National Program for Ecological Corridors as a pilot project, is founded on the vision of bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous land and water stewards across the west coast of Vancouver Island to collaborate, share knowledge, and plan for greater ecological, cultural, spiritual, and economic connectivity. It also aligns with the Government of Canada’s commitment to collaborate with Indigenous partners, stakeholders, and other levels of government to protect and restore biodiversity in both terrestrial and marine environments across Canada to help species adapt to and offset the effects of climate change.
The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and renewed relationships with Indigenous peoples who are the original stewards of the lands and waters, based on a recognition of rights, respect, collaboration, and partnership.
“The Indigenous-led Westcoast Stewardship Corridor is a historic initiative that will benefit biodiversity and Canadians for generations to come. By investing in nature and linking areas of rich and diverse habitat, we are allowing species to move freely on the landscape and ensuring their long-term health and well-being while also contributing to the fight against the changing climate. Thank you to T’Sou-ke First Nation for coordinating efforts with more than a dozen First Nations, and to everyone involved in this remarkable collaborative initiative.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“We know we have disrupted the forest, the house of the wildlife, and we would like to be part of restoring
‘the house’. We need to be able to have all living beings living in a healthy way and we can learn from our ancestors how to restore the land. That is our birthright.”
Chief Gordon Planes
T’Sou-ke First Nation
Ecological corridors provide habitat connection and deliver many other benefits including supporting climate change adaptation and contributing to halting and reversing biodiversity loss.
Protected and conserved areas must be connected to allow natural processes to flow and species to move, interact, and find habitat across large landscapes and seascapes.
Guided by science, Indigenous Knowledge and local perspectives, Canada is committed to conserving 25 percent of lands, freshwater, and oceans by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030.
Canada helped lead the world to agree on the monumental Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework at the largest ever Conference of the Parties for biodiversity conservation, COP15 in Montréal. The Framework integrates ecological connectivity within one goal and three targets, including Goal A which states that the integrity, connectivity, and resilience of all ecosystems are maintained, enhanced, or restored, substantially increasing the area of natural ecosystems by 2050.
Within the last year, Parks Canada’s National Program for Ecological Corridors also contributed more than $3.5 million for the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Ecological Corridor Pilot project to collectively increase connectivity between Cootes Paradise Marsh, Hamilton Harbour, and the Niagara Escarpment; two 2 million dollars to support the Nature Conservancy of Canada in maintaining and improving the Forillon Ecological Corridor; and $50,000 for the Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative to support a road ecology study to determine wildlife protective measures around Ontario’s busy roadways.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
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