Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has announced more than $25 million in funding to conserve, restore, and enhance critical wetlands and grasslands in the Prairie provinces.

“The current extreme weather conditions and fires throughout Canada are one of the impacts of the changing climate,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food. “As our wetlands and grasslands are important components of the farming ecosystem, the work done through these Nature Smart Climate Solutions investments, as well as our Agricultural Climate Solutions projects, will sequester carbon and help ensure a healthier and more sustainable future for our land and waterways, as well as for the farmers who rely on them to feed Canadians.”

“Western Canadians know that climate change is here,” added Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of environment and climate change. “They also know that in order to fight climate change and adapt to its impacts, we must embrace the power of nature. Protecting more wetlands and grasslands across the Prairies will make our communities more resilient, capture and store carbon, and support our iconic biodiversity.”

The following organizations will be receiving funding:

  • Ducks Unlimited Canada will receive up to $19.28 million over three years for projects to conserve and restore wetland and grassland habitats in the Prairies, including the restoration of croplands to grasslands. These lands will capture and store carbon, while providing a range of other ecological benefits.
  • Nature Conservancy of Canada will receive up to $4.05 million over three years for projects to retain and restore carbon stocks by conserving, restoring, and enhancing management of Prairie grasslands and wetlands.
  • Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation will receive up to $2.4 million over three years for projects to conserve, restore, and enhance management of threatened grasslands and wetlands in order to store carbon while providing a range of other benefits for local communities in the agricultural zone of southwestern Manitoba, including improving water quality and supporting wildlife habitat.
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These initiatives are among fourteen projects to receive funding from the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund in 2021–2022. Collectively, they are projected to conserve up to 30,000 hectares, restore up to 6,000 hectares, and contribute to the enhanced management of up to 18,000 hectares of wetlands, grasslands, and riparian areas.

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is very grateful for the opportunity presented by the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund,” said Kevin Teneycke, vice president of the Manitoba Region at the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “These funds will support the protection and restoration of habitat in natural ecosystems across the Prairies. We are pleased to do more to buffer communities from the impacts of climate change and protect Canada’s natural areas for future generations.”

This announcement supports Canada’s goal to protect 25 percent of lands and 25 percent of oceans by 2025. Embracing the power of nature to support healthier families and more resilient communities is one of the five pillars of Canada’s strengthened climate plan.

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