Hamilton-area conservation program receives funding

A conservation program in the Hamilton area is one of the beneficiaries of Ontario government's $5 million funding in protecting at-risk species.

Conservation group to study five at-risk species found in Hamilton

The Jefferson Salamander is one of five at-risk local species that will be studied (Nigel Finney, Courtesy of Conservation Halton Foundation )

A conservation program in the Hamilton area is one of the beneficiaries of Ontario government's $5 million investment in protecting at-risk species.

Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program, run by the Conservation Halton Foundation, will receive $28,544 from the Ontario Species at Risk Stewardship Fund for 2013-14.

The fund will allow the foundation to study five at-risk species at the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, an open space of nearly 1900 hectares that is distributed across Hamilton and Burlington.

 "This particular area supports an unbelievable number of species—plants and animals—and some really rare habitats," said Brenda Axon, the foundation's manager for Watershed Planning Services.

"So what we are doing is looking at ways to manage the area, plan for the area and trying to protect as much of it as possible."

The foundation will be studying and managing the risks of the following species:

  • Eastern flowering dogwood
  • American chestnut
  • Red mulberry
  • Hoary mountain mint
  • Jefferson salamander

The Ministry of Natural Resources announced on Wednesday that the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, an Ontario-wide fund that helps protect and recover species at risk, will be renewed with an additional $5 million this year.

Established in 2007, the fund has received $25 million from the provincial government so far. The new round of funding will support 75 new conservation projects and 32 multi-year projects across Ontario, which is home to more than 200 at-risk species.

"[The fund] will go to many different organizations across the province who will raise the awareness and education of our young people, so our future generation will have a better understanding of how we can protect our species that are at risk," Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti said during a press conference at the Royal Botanical Gardens on Wednesday.

The fund is available to both individuals and groups, including landowners, farmers, academic instituions, industries and conservation organizations.

A portion of the fund will also be reserved for projects benefiting the Aboriginal communities.