Government of Canada Invests in Wetlands for Migratory Birds

News release

September 6, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians know that protecting our nature and the wildlife that depend on it is essential to our environment, economy, and health. That is why the Government of Canada is working to double the amount of protected nature in Canada’s lands and oceans.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada will provide $10 million over two years to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which helps protect wetlands and migratory birds, including species at risk.

The Plan is an international partnership that conserves and protects wetland and upland habitats and their waterfowl populations by securing and improving wetlands. Canada is working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Island Nature Trust, and the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation to protect the waterfowl and the places they call home.

The funding will enable partners to implement projects that will secure and restore at least 10,000 hectares of wetlands. These areas include habitats that are of the highest value for migratory birds.

By working with partners across the country to conserve wetlands, we can protect and preserve more of Canada’s nature for future generations.


“Protecting our wetlands is an important part of our commitment to conserve Canada’s nature. By working together with partners to implement the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, we are making progress toward protecting our natural landscapes and the species at risk that depend on them.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is grateful for this important investment in nature. These funds will ensure the protection of some of Canada’s most imperiled habitats for waterfowl and other migratory birds. This partnership is setting a global example of conservation through collaboration and will benefit Canadians for generations to come.”
– John Lounds, President and CEO, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“With this announcement, the federal government is making a significant investment toward achieving the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, one of the most successful conservation programs in the world. Canadians will see many long-term benefits, including more habitat for waterfowl and species at risk, improved water quality, and enhanced carbon sequestration. In addition to supporting the Plan’s goals, this investment is an important step in Canada’s continuing fight against climate change, and Ducks Unlimited Canada looks forward to helping the country reach its goal of protecting 17 percent of Canada, to ensure these areas remain natural.”
– Karla Guyn, CEO, Ducks Unlimited Canada

“The Canada Nature Fund’s North American Waterfowl Management Plan contribution to coastal and riparian wetland protection in the Maritimes is significant. It will support tangible and lasting biodiversity gains on lands held in trust for Canadians by the region’s major land trusts—the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, and Island Nature Trust—who are working collaboratively and strategically to conserve priority habitat for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl.”
– Megan Harris, Executive Director, Island Nature Trust

“The protected wetlands resulting from new federal funding will contribute many environmental benefits, including biological diversity, water quality, flood control, and resilience to climate change impacts.”
– Tim Sopuck, Chief Executive Officer, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation

Quick facts

  • This approved funding is part of the Government’s sustained commitment to invest up to $20 million over four years in North American Waterfowl Management Plan projects.
  • The $500 million Canada Nature Fund, which will fund the implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, is part of Budget 2018’s historic Nature Legacy initiative, which invests $1.3 billion in nature conservation.
  • Federal funding through the Canada Nature Fund is matched by philanthropic foundations, corporate, not-for-profit, provincial, territorial, and other partners.
  • Globally, Canada has 20 percent of freshwater resources, 24 percent of wetlands, 25 percent of temperate rainforest areas, and 33 percent of remaining boreal forests.
  • Since 1986, over $2.5 billion has been invested in wetland conservation in Canada under the auspices of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. This investment has resulted in over 9.2 million hectares of wetlands and associated uplands habitat being conserved in Canada in support of the Plan’s goals.
  • Wetlands cover approximately 13 percent of Canada’s land area and provide numerous ecosystem services including carbon storage.
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Canada Invests $175 Million Dollars in Nature

August 19, 2019 – Victoria, British Columbia

Canadians cherish nature and depend on it for clean air and water, vibrant communities, and solutions to climate change. Home to the longest coastline in the world; one quarter of the earth’s wetlands and boreal forests; 20 percent of its fresh water; and precious habitat for birds, fish, and mammals, Canada has a special responsibility to protect nature today and for generations to come.

That’s why the Government of Canada launched Canada’s $1.35 billion Nature Legacy initiative, the single-largest investment in nature conservation by a government in Canada’s history. Canada’s Nature Legacy will help double the amount of nature protected on land and in our oceans, transform how government protects and recovers species at risk, and advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Conservation also contributes to Canada’s economy through tourism and jobs, and it can bring benefits 10 to 20 times greater than the original investment.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the first in a series of 67 conservation initiatives launching in every province and territory, as part of Canada’s Nature Legacy initiative. These projects are supported by the $175 million federal Canada Nature Fund’s Target 1 Challenge, to expand a connected network of protected and conserved areas across Canada.

Minister McKenna announced $3.9 million in federal funding to help the Tahltan Central Government work with its members and other stakeholders on a land-use planning process that provides further clarity and certainty across their territory in northwestern British Columbia. The Tahltan Nation have been leaders in working with British Columbia to advance environmental stewardship and protection along with strong economic development focused on mining and its related business. The Tahltan Nation’s territory is home to various species at risk and culturally significant boreal forest watershed and wetland habitat. Conservation efforts in the region would enhance connectivity with the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor, the Great Bear Rainforest, and other protected areas.

Further details about other projects moving forward under the Canada Nature Fund’s Target 1 Challenge will be released as agreements with local partners are finalized.

Minister McKenna also announced that the Government of Canada intends to invest through Canada’s $100 million Natural Heritage Conservation Program, in advancing the protection of additional hectares of land and water in Clayoquot Sound, in partnership with the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and non-profit organizations. This support will help to connect Strathcona Provincial Park with the outer coastal provincial parks and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The investment will also protect important habitat for over 15 federally listed species at risk, support the land-use visions of the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, and enhance their capacity to fully participate in the process.

While making the announcement on conservation initiatives, Minister McKenna took the opportunity to release a report card on the progress Parks Canada is making on implementing the 75 recommendations arising from the 2017 Minister’s Round Table Let’s Talk Parks, Canada!, the largest public engagement in Parks Canada’s history. One of the key recommendations was the establishment of an independent working group focused on ensuring that the principles of ecological and commemorative integrity are the first priority when making decisions at Parks Canada. Dr. Peter Robinson, previously the CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op and the David Suzuki Foundation, led the independent working group and will continue to advise Parks Canada on the ongoing implementation of the commitments. The independent working group’s report released today will help to ensure that national parks can continue to be diverse and healthy ecosystems for the future, and national historic sites can continue to tell the many stories that have shaped our country and our shared heritage.

Quick facts

  • Budget 2018 announced $1.35 billion for Canada’s Nature Legacy initiative—the single-largest investment in nature conservation in Canadian history.
  • The $175 million Canada Nature Fund will support ongoing progress toward achieving its Target 1 Challenge of conserving 17 percent of our land and fresh water by the end of 2020.
  • The Natural Heritage Conservation Program is led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, under the Canada Nature Fund. The four-year, $100 million program aims to acquire at least 200,000 hectares of private lands and private interests in land to protect habitat and species at risk.
  • Canada’s network of protected and conserved areas is important to mitigate the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk. Intact forests and wetlands also capture and store carbon dioxide and can help protect communities from the impacts of climate change.
  • Canada is making Indigenous leadership an important part of conservation efforts. Up to 27 Indigenous protected and conserved areas are expected to be established under the Canada Nature Fund’s Target 1 Challenge. Further, Budget 2017 announced support for Indigenous guardians’ programs, which support Indigenous conservation through on-the-ground, Nation-based stewardship initiatives.
  • In 2017, Parks Canada launched Let’s Talk Parks, Canada! More than 8,000 Canadians participated in online discussions, public outreach events, and face-to-face workshops, and some 5,000 more contributed their thoughts and ideas over social media.
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National Heritage Conservation Program Provides New Protection for Canada’s Wetlands

Courtesy of Ducks Unlimited Canada
April 23, 2019

Oak Hammock Marsh, Man. – A new $100-million program announced today by the Government of Canada is poised to provide new protection for some of the country’s most valuable—and vulnerable—wetland habitat. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is a key partner that will put these funds to work in ways that will benefit our land and water, species at risk and all Canadians.

Canada’s wetlands are some of the most productive and valuable ecosystems in the country. In addition to providing essential habitat for waterfowl and hundreds of other wildlife species, they naturally filter pollutants from water. They mitigate floods and droughts and protect communities from sea level rise. However, many wetlands are located within privately held or settled landscapes that can make them more vulnerable to degradation and loss. The Natural Heritage Conservation Program is a four-year federal government commitment that will focus on securing intact ecosystems on privately owned or managed lands. This is also where most of Canada’s species at risk are found.

The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, made the announcement today in Toronto. The program is expected to conserve 200,000 hectares (more than 490,000 acres) across the country over the next four years.

Karla Guyn, DUC’s chief executive officer, joined Minister McKenna in Toronto and says the Natural Heritage Conservation Program is a significant investment that will positively impact generations to come.

“Ducks Unlimited Canada has a long and successful history of working with landowners and families as well as community groups, businesses and public agencies to deliver conservation that benefits them and the environment,” says Guyn. “Funding from the Natural Heritage Conservation Program will allow us to engage with more partners who have a shared interest in private lands. Working together to establish new protected areas will deliver more important environmental benefits to all Canadians.”

DUC will work closely with the Nature Conservancy of Canada who is overseeing the allocation of Natural Heritage Conservation Program funding. DUC will also be responsible for matching every federal dollar it receives with at least two dollars of non-federal contributions.

“The matching component of the program is powerful,” says Guyn. “We will be working with our supporters and conservation-minded Canadians from coast to coast to identify the lands and raise the funds that will not only triple the investment but triple the conservation impact.”

The Natural Heritage Conservation Program will contribute to achieving Canada’s Target 1 goal of protecting at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and freshwater habitats by 2020. It is funded through the federal government’s Canada Nature Fund.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.

Contact Information

Ashley Lewis
Senior Communication Specialist
Ducks Unlimited Canada
(204) 467-3252

Jim Brennan
Director of Government Affairs
Ducks Unlimited Canada
(613) 612-4469

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More Protected Land in the Forillon Peninsula to Help the Movement of Wildlife

January 14, 2019

Courtesy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced the expansion of an important wilderness area in eastern Quebec. The not-for-profit land conservation organization has acquired two new forested sites, further protecting another 26 hectares (64 acres) in the Saint-Majorique section of the Gaspé Peninsula. This expands the NCC-conserved lands here to 170 hectares (over 420 acres) along Route 197.  

This area is very important for animals, as it is the only land link that allows wildlife to move between Forillon National Park and the large public forest lands located further west. Located about 15 kilometres from downtown Gaspé and 5 kilometres from Rivière-au-Renard, these two properties provide a continuous forest cover dominated by balsam fir, white spruce and red maple. These wooded areas and waterways are home to a wide variety of animals, such as Canada lynx, moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, marten and red fox.

“The protection of these two new properties, located on both sides of Route 197, makes it possible to consolidate a forest corridor more than 500 metres wide, making it the most important protected ecological corridor on the Forillon Peninsula,” said Camille Bolduc, NCC project manager for Gaspésie. She added that the maintenance of ecological corridors is intended to ensure wildlife diversity both at the local level of the Forillon Peninsula and on the continental level.

Mobilizing local partners around the issue of ecological connectivity

In addition to private land protection initiatives, NCC is working with various local partners to address the issue of habitat fragmentation for wildlife. For example, a forum on the need for ecological connectivity in the Forillon Peninsula was held last September in Gaspé. Participants from the public and private land-use planning sector, Forillon National Park and NCC discussed the various ecological, land-use planning and road safety issues related to ecological connectivity along Route 197, and to work on the implementation of an action plan. This forum is part of the major project “Ecological corridors: a climate change adaptation strategy” coordinated by NCC in Quebec and its many partners.


These two new conservation projects were made possible by the financial support of the Ensemble pour la nature project of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec and the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program.

We also wish to thank the private landowners who have contributed to the protection of wildlife corridors on their property.

The Ecological corridors: a climate change adaptation strategy project is made possible thanks to the Action-Climat Québec program. The Fondation de la faune du Québec is also a project funding partner.   

“In addition to providing many services to humanity, particularly by storing carbon, plants form groups that constitute the habitats of several animal species, as is the case in the Gaspé Peninsula. Keeping forests intact is therefore a key role in the fight against climate change and the preservation biodiversity in Quebec and around the world. I am proud that, through the Ensemble pour la nature project, we can collectively contribute to preserving part of this important natural heritage from which we benefit, both for ourselves and for the generations to come.” – Benoit Charette, Minister of Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change

“With the help of partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec and its many partners including those in and around Gaspé, our government is making progress toward doubling the amount of protected nature across Canada’s lands and oceans. Nature is central to our Canadian identity, and by taking the initiative now to establish a wildlife corridor near Forillon National Park, we’re protecting wildlife and ensuring our kids and grandkids can connect to nature and experience its wonder.” -Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.


•    For more than 15 years, NCC has been ensuring the long-term protection of exceptional natural environments in the Gaspé Peninsula. To date, these efforts, in collaboration with local and regional partners, have protected more than 886 hectares (2,189 acres of important habitat for 28 at-risk species.
•    Ecological corridors are natural passages through which wildlife move from one habitat to another. It is essential to protect and restore these corridors in areas fragmented by human infrastructure such as roads and cities.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) across the country, including 45,000 hectares (111,197 acres) in Quebec. To learn more, visit

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP), administered by NCC, is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate land conservation in southern Canada. Through matching contributions, NCC and its partners enhance federal funding. The habitats conserved through the NACP help strengthen the protection of natural corridors and other protected areas.

The Ensemble pour la nature project (PEPN) is a three-year, $15 million grant to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) from Quebec’s Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC). It aims to establish financial partnerships and acquire scientific knowledge to ensure the conservation and protection of natural environments on private lands in Quebec between now and March 31, 2020. It thus promotes solidarity with respect to protected areas by involving Quebec communities in conservation actions.

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Sbaglia
Communications Manager, Quebec Region
Nature Conservancy of Canada
514-876-1606 x6240

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The Government of Canada is protecting nature through investments in Canada’s natural heritage

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada

OTTAWA, Nov. 19, 2018 – Canadians love nature and the diverse wildlife that depends on it. That’s why the Government of Canada has committed to doubling the amount of nature protected, on land and in our oceans, from coast to coast to coast.

Today, Environment and Climate Change Canada is launching a call for proposals for the Natural Heritage Conservation Program. Proposals will be sought from organizations that can develop, coordinate, and deliver a national program aimed at assisting local, provincial, territorial, and national conservation organizations in securing ecologically sensitive private lands across Canada.

As part of the Budget 2018 Nature Legacy initiative, the Government of Canada has made a $500 million investment in the new Canada Nature Fund to support the protection and conservation of Canada’s ecosystems, landscapes, and biodiversity, including species at risk. Canada Nature Fund contributions will be matched by partners, raising a total of $1 billion for conservation action, and will help Canada work towards its 2020 target of protecting 17% of Canada’s lands and in-land waters, protecting and recovering species at risk, and improving biodiversity for all.

The $100 million Natural Heritage Conservation Program is one of three Canada Nature Fund call for proposals to be launched this year. Calls for proposals will also be opening in the coming weeks for the Canada Nature Fund’s Challenge component as well as for funding to protect species at risk. Application information and details are available at Nature Legacy.
By working with partners across the country, the Government of Canada will continue to protect our natural heritage and ensure a healthy and prosperous future for our kids and grandkids.
“Protecting our nature and the wildlife that depend on it is important to preserving our natural heritage and ensuring our kids and grandkids have a healthy and prosperous future. That’s why we are committed to doubling the amount of protected nature. The Nature Fund is an important part of achieving this objective through the establishment of new protected and conserved areas on private lands.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • The new $500 million Canada Nature Fund will be matched by partners who will contribute an additional $500 million to raise at least $1 billion toward the conservation of Canada’s nature.
  • Today’s announcement means that the Canada Nature Fund will contribute $100 million over four years to the establishment of protected and conserved areas on private lands in Canada. This federal funding will be matched by private organizations.
  • The Canada Nature Fund supports the protection of Canada’s ecosystems, landscapes, biodiversity, and species at risk.
  • Globally, Canada has 20 per cent of freshwater resources, 24 per cent of wetlands, 25 per cent of temperate rainforest area, and 33 per cent of remaining boreal forest.
  • Canada also has almost one third of all land-based carbon storage. This is a vital element of action on climate change.

For further information: Caroline Thériault, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 613-462-5473,; Media Relations, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free),

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Wetlands – World’s Most Valuable Ecosystem are Disappearing Three Times Faster than Forests, warns new report

27 September 2018, Reposted from Ramsar

Wetlands, the most economically valuable and among the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, are disappearing three times faster than forests with severe consequences for our future unless urgent action is taken to ensure their survival, warns a new report by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Approximately 35 per cent of the world’s wetlands were lost between 1970-2015 with annual rates of loss accelerating from 2000, according to the first-ever Global Wetland Outlook of the Ramsar Convention, a global treaty ratified by 170 countries to protect wetlands and promote their wise use. The report shows every region is affected.
Losses have been driven by megatrends such as climate change, population increase, urbanization, particularly of coastal zones and river deltas, and changing consumption patterns that have all fuelled changes to land and water use and to agriculture.

Wetlands, which include lakes, rivers, marshes and peatlands as well as coastal and marine areas such as estuaries, lagoons, mangroves and coral reefs, are currently estimated to cover more than 12.1 million km2, an area greater than Greenland. Between 13-18 per cent of them are on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, which are protected sites.

Wetlands are critical to human and planet life. Directly or indirectly, they provide almost all of the world’s consumption of freshwater. More than one billion people depend on them for a living and 40 per cent of the world’s species live and breed in wetlands. They are a vital source for food, raw materials, genetic resources for medicines, and hydropower; they mitigate floods, protect coastlines and build community resilience to disasters, and they play an important role in transport, tourism and the cultural and spiritual well-being of people.

Studies show the economic value of services provided by wetlands far exceeds those of terrestrial ecosystems. Inland wetlands, for example, have a total economic value five times higher than tropical forests, the most valuable terrestrial habitat. Wetlands are also essential to efforts to regulate the global climate. Peatlands store twice as much carbon as the world’s forests despite accounting for just three per cent of the world’s land surface, with salt marshes, sea grass beds and mangroves also carbon-dense ecosystems. However, wetlands produce 20-25 per cent of global methane emissions and rising temperatures from climate change are expected to increase greenhouse gases from wetlands, particularly in permafrost regions.

Despite this, wetlands remain dangerously undervalued by policy and decision-makers in national plans. An inexplicable omission given the pivotal role wetlands play in delivering global commitments on climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity and disaster risk reduction, with wetlands contributing to 75 indicators of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) alone.

The persistent and growing threat to the world’s remaining wetlands from water drainage, pollution, unsustainable use, invasive species, disrupted flows from dams and sediment dumping from deforestation and soil erosion upstream is detailed in the GWO, released ahead of the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) in Dubai, UAE.
Water quality trends are worsening with nearly all fresh water sources in the world compromised to some extent. Water pollution and nutrient loading from fertilizers are among the biggest challenges. According to the UN, more than 80 per cent of waste water is released into wetlands without adequate treatment while fertilizer use in 2018 is likely to be 25 per cent higher than in 2008, exacerbating excessive wetland plant growth and levels of decomposition resulting in oxygen starvation for flora and fauna alike.

The biodiversity crisis is just as alarming.

More than 25 per cent of all wetlands plants and animals are at risk of extinction. The IUCN’s Red List Index which assesses survival probability using available data has identified negative trends for wetland mammals, birds, amphibians and corals, an indication they are heading for extinction. Coral reefs are declining fastest due to rising sea temperatures, while amphibians have the lowest numbers and are the most threatened. Wetland fish, reptiles and large mammals are also vulnerable with every turtle species globally threatened and a third critically endangered.

“The Global Wetland Outlook is a wake-up call – not only on the steep rate of loss of the world’s wetlands but also on the critical services they provide. Without them, the global agenda on sustainable development will not be achieved,” says Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. “We need urgent collective action to reverse trends on wetland loss and degradation, and secure both the future of wetlands and our own at the same time.”

The Parties to the Ramsar Convention have committed to the conservation and wise use of all wetlands. Although they have designated more than 2,300 sites of international importance so far, making the Ramsar List one of the world’s largest networks of protected areas, designating new sites for protection is not enough.

The GWO emphasizes the necessity of developing effective wetland management plans and integrating wetlands into the planning and implementation of national plans on sustainable development, climate change and other key global commitments.
The report also stresses good governance and effective institutions at local, national and regional levels as a crucial factor in preventing, ending, and reversing trends in wetland loss and degradation. More accurate data on wetland extent and wetland inventories is needed to help countries identify priority sites for restoration. Indigenous and local knowledge as well as citizen scientists are already invaluable resources on the state of wetlands and can be used more.

Drawing on successful examples across the world, the report recommends using existing funding mechanisms to apply economic and financial incentives for communities and business to protect wetlands through tax benefits. Perverse incentives for farmers and business such as subsidies to agriculture that encourage wetland conversion or pollution should be ended.

Additional recommendations include identifying solutions for wise use of wetlands that draw upon all expertise, ranging from hard science to traditional knowledge, to secure wide engagement on wetland protection and wise use and ensure sound decision-making. The GWO’s findings are expected to inform discussions and decisions at the Ramsar COP13 (21-29 Oct).

“There is a slow awakening to the value of wetlands. Across the globe, legislative bodies need to integrate wetlands into policy programs and make investments into their sustainability. We need to educate the world on the critical importance of this most rapidly disappearing ecosystem. Without the world’s wetlands, we all hang in the balance,” asserts Rojas Urrego.

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