On February 20, 2020, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, and Prince Edward Island (PEI) Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, Brad Trivers, announced that the Government of Canada is providing more than $1.4 million to the Government of PEI to protect natural habitats.
“Islanders have a deep connection to the land, water, and forests,” said Trivers. “We need to work together to protect the habitats of our most vulnerable wildlife species.”
The funds will be provided through the Target 1 Challenge component of the Canada Nature Fund. The project is expected to help conserve approximately 4,400 hectares of high-priority areas and habitats, including PEI’s forests and wetlands, and will expand upon existing protected areas and establish new conserved areas in the province.
Importantly, the project will protect PEI’s old-growth forest and will have numerous benefits for species at risk including the common nighthawk, the Canada warbler, and the rusty blackbird.
Prince Edward Island and other partners including Ducks Unlimited Canada, Island Nature Trust, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI are contributing $3.4 million to this $4.8 million project.
Through the $500 million Canada Nature Fund, the Government of Canada supports the efforts of partners across the country to protect nature. Federal investments are matched by philanthropic foundations, corporations, not-for-profits, provinces, territories, and other partners, raising a total of $1 billion for conservation action in Canada.
PEI is the most densely populated province in Canada, and it has the highest percentage of private land. These two factors combine to make land protection in PEI particularly challenging. This investment in the protection of 4,440 hectares on the island is impressive. PEI’s current protected area stands at 24,848 hectares (4.4 per cent of the land base). The province is committed to meeting its stated target of protecting 7 per cent of its land, by the end of 2020.
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Featured image from the Government of PEI: Canada Warbler, by Donna Martin.