The Government of Canada made a significant commitment to conservation in the recently-released federal budget, and Georgian Bay’s natural areas will benefit from it, said a press release from the Georgian Bay Land Trust.
The $1.3 billion invested over five years in nature conservation will include matching funds towards the costs of establishing new protected areas, allowing land trusts across the country to scale up their efforts to protect environmentally significant lands.
Bill Lougheed, executive director of the Georgian Bay Land Trust, was part of a coalition of conservation organizations that met with government representatives in Ottawa, including the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, to advocate for the importance of funding land conservation.
As a result of the combined effort, the federal government will contribute $500 million towards a new $1B Nature Fund to “secure private land, support provincial and territorial species protection efforts, and help build Indigenous capacity to conserve land and species, for our benefit and the benefit of future generations.”
“This is a pivotal moment for conservation in Canada,” said Lougheed, in the press release.
“The Georgian Bay Land Trust loudly applauds the Government of Canada’s commitment to nature and biodiversity conservation in Budget 2018. Through community-based private land conservation, land trusts are uniquely positioned to leverage the government’s investment to help slow or reverse species declines, protect watersheds, and mitigate the effects of climate change.
“This budget provides the resources to protect additional portions of Georgian Bay’s wilderness so future generations of every species may continue to benefit from the ecological rewards and services that intact nature provides.”
The funding enables conservation organizations across the country to assist the Canadian government in achieving its target to protect 17 per cent of Canada’s terrestrial areas by the year 2020, part of its commitment to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Eastern Georgian Bay is recognized by UNESCO for its remarkable biodiversity. It is home to the largest diversity of reptile and amphibian species in Canada.
This natural jewel is a refuge for 65 nationally or provincially rare species and its wild habitats protect 45 provincially and federally listed at-risk species.
As climate change combines with human pressures on the region, this funding comes at just the right time to protect critical habitats in this ecologically exceptional area.
The Georgian Bay Land Trust is a registered charity dedicated to protecting and stewarding wilderness lands along eastern Georgian Bay and the North Channel, and increasing knowledge and appreciation of this special area.
It protects 55 ecologically significant properties stretching from Port Severn to the North Channel, which provide key habitat for 45 species at risk and recreational opportunities for communities.
Its educational programs and events for children and adults help foster a love of nature and an appreciation for how to coexist responsibly with the Georgian Bay environment.
Find out more at gblt.org.