Sunday, November 7, 2010

Government of Canada Investing in Community Action to Preserve Local Habitat and Species at Risk on Ontario

LONDON, Ontario, November 5, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Joe Preston, Member of Parliament for Elgin—Middlesex—London, on behalf of the Government of Canada, today announced funding from the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. In total, $292,000 in federal funding will support environmental action focusing on conservation and protection of species at risk and their habitats, helping to preserve Canada's biodiversity.

"As part of the International Year of Biodiversity, we are pleased to support the work that our partners are doing to help conserve and protect our environment," said MP Preston. "The Habitat Stewardship Program funding announced today is a great example of how the Government of Canada is supporting community projects that will help improve the habitat of species at risk."

The Habitat Stewardship Program funding will enable the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority to enhance water quality and aquatic habitat. In collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and through the Thames River Aquatic Ecosystem Stewardship Initiative, softshell turtle and queensnake habitat will be created and maintained, and their nesting/birthing sites will be protected from human disturbance and destruction.

"Through Habitat Stewardship Program funding, the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority has been able to focus efforts on a number of species at risk fish and reptiles, as well as source water protection and general habitat recovery," said Scott Gillingwater, species at risk biologist with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. "Despite the various threats affecting species at risk along the Thames River, great successes have been achieved through the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority's consistent and effective stewardship programs. Without Habitat Stewardship Program funding, such large-scale opportunities for species conservation would not have been possible."

The goal of the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk is to contribute to the recovery and protection of species listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern under the Species at Risk Act.

Projects that will receive funding this year include stewardship actions to conserve habitat for plant species at risk, negotiations with landowners to develop voluntary Land Care Agreements, targeted educational outreach efforts to reduce the entanglement of species at risk in fishing gear, and the enhancement of water quality and aquatic habitat on private lands to benefit aquatic species at risk. They will be undertaken with many partners such as agricultural producers, private landowners, and commercial fishers. These projects will benefit many species at risk, including the north Atlantic right whale, steller sea lion, swift fox, and small white leek.

The Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk is administered by Environment Canada and managed cooperatively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Parks Canada Agency. More information on the Species at Risk Act and the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk can be found on the Internet at or .

For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit Environment Canada's website at

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