Organization aims to conserve 7 per cent of P.E.I. land through $100M federal fund
‘It is significant investment in conserving Canadian nature’
The Nature Conservancy of Canada will be receiving $100 million over the next four years under a new federal program. The former federal program committed $100 million over five years.
The National Heritage Conservation program will help establish new protected areas by securing private land to protect the habitat of endangered and threatened species, said Lanna Campbell, P.E.I. director for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
"It is significant investment in conserving Canadian nature," she said.
The program partners with Ducks Unlimited Canada and Wildlife Habitat Canada and has an initial target to protect at least 17 per cent of Canada's land and freshwater and 10 per cent of the country's marine areas by 2020.
"We are very excited the federal government is renewing its support for private land conservation," Campbell said.
"It's really important when we think about the landscape here on Prince Edward Island because we have our homework to do."
Nearly doubling P.E.I. protected land
"We want to increase the percentage of land we have protected. We have a goal of seven per cent by 2020."
Currently the Island has about four per cent of its land protected, said Campbell.
"This is a pool of money. It's going to be administered out of head office, and P.E.I. will have access to that money as projects come forward."
Only environmentally sensitive areas
The projects explicitly have to protect areas with species at risk to access funding.
So, for example a property without any threatened or endangered species would not meet the federal criteria to access this fund. However, a large woodlot with rare tree types would qualify.
"We want to help Canada reach our target of 17 per cent protected area. So across the country we are doing our best to continue to conserve protected areas," Campbell said.
Accepting donated land
P.E.I. has about 12 projects currently on the go, Campbell said, and her initial plan is to simply expand those projects.
Not only does The Nature Conservancy of Canada buy land, they will accept donated land, Campbell said.
"When landowners choose to donate their land they also have the opportunity to take advantage of a tax break."
Campbell said she was excited to have funds renewed and be able to continue conservation efforts.
"Just really pleased and proud that our Canadian government is continuing making an investment in nature."
People interested in donating land can contact the conservancy and the organization will determine if the land is environmentally sensitive.
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With files from Angela Walker