The federal Environment Department has announced funding for five projects across Canada, ranging from southern Alberta to New Brunswick.
The department teamed up with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to purchase nearly 60 hectares of land near Stettler, and another 45.5 hectares in New Horton, Albert County, N.B.
The $380,000 Alberta project sees the acquisition of a property called Rockland Bay that consists of aspen stands, shrublands and wetlands, and is an important waterfowl area.
“As part of the International Year of Biodiversity, funding from Environment Canada is helping to secure this important and ecologically sensitive area,” said Kevin Sorenson, member of Parliament for Crowfoot.
“The diversity of the habitat in this area helps species that call the Rockland Bay property home, such as mule deer, coyote, moose and red-tailed hawk.”
In Prince Albert, Sask., more than $24,000 will be spent to support local action to reduce pollution, improve air and water quality, and protect wildlife and natural habitat.
More than $6,000 will be spent on a new environmental project on Spear Lake near Russell, Man., while $30,000 will go toward an initiative in the South Nation watershed region of Ontario.
The latter, called the Forestry Silviculture Initiative, will see 2,000 tree seedlings and 200 pounds of wild rice planted to improve water quality and increase the biodiversity of 540 hectares of land.
Pat Piitz, director of lands for the South Nation Conservation, says traditional practices and knowledge will be used in the project.
The New Brunswick project, which has an overall budget of $73,000, offers a mix of conservation lands alongside industrial forest lands and other natural resource industries.
The coastal area contains a great diversity of habitats and a rich diversity of wildlife and plant species.
“These gifts to Canadians are tangible examples of what we are able to achieve by working together,” said John Lounds, CEO of Nature Conservancy of Canada. “By designing and managing networks of protected areas we fulfil our national and global responsibility to protect Canada’s natural treasures for the future.”
The Saskatchewan project aims to increase environmental awareness of school children of First Nation communities by teaching them to reduce household waste and produce nutrient-rich compost by vermicomposting.
In addition to the environmental benefits, these waste reduction efforts are expected to result in safer communities by reducing the number of bears frequenting landfills.
The Manitoba initiative intends to re-establish a healthy riparian zone around Spear Lake, a valuable environmental and recreational site for the community of Russell.
“EcoAction funding for our Spear Lake community tree planting project will enable local residents to establish a vegetated buffer zone along the lake shoreline,” said Sharon Boychuk, district manager of the Lake of the Prairies Conservation District.
“This project fosters local community and youth involvement and will be used as a pilot project for demonstrating the value of natural habitat in community areas.”