New federal funds will be used to protect an at risk area in southeastern Manitoba, which covers 445,628 hectares and supports some of the largest and last remaining tall-grass prairie and associated shallow wetlands, and forest ecosystems in Canada.

The Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Terry Duguid, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that the Government of Canada has invested $1.9 million over four years in the Nature Conservancy of Canada to conserve the species at risk within Manitoba’s endangered tall-grass prairie region.

“Conserving habitat for 26 species at risk—including the Monarch butterfly—is a necessary step to support the survival of these iconic species, while protecting nature and fighting climate change,” said Duguid. “This on-the-ground work led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada showcases what can be achieved for Canada’s biodiversity through collaboration. By working together with local communities, we are working towards Canada’s goal of protecting a quarter of our lands and a quarter of our oceans by 2025.”

This funding, provided through the Canada Nature Fund’s Community-Nominated Priority Places for Species at Risk Program, enables partners to advance the conservation of habitat vital to the survival of 26 listed Canadian species at risk, such as the Monarch butterfly, the globally rare Poweshiek Skipperling butterfly, and the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid.

The project, led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, will aim to improve habitat, reduce threats to species at risk, and engage community members who have cared for these habitats for generations. The Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area represents one of the largest and last remaining tall-grass prairie landscapes in North America. It forms the northern end of an international conservation corridor comprised of protected and managed prairies, wetlands, forests and streams within a working landscape that includes conservation, agriculture and eco-tourism.

The Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area supports over 100 provincially rare or uncommon species, 20 nationally rare or uncommon species and eight globally rare or uncommon plant communities. Several rivers and streams wind through the area, providing important habitat for over 50 species of fish and several molluscan species. Large mammals such as elk and wolves still roam across the landscape.

Project partners include local landowners and residents, Assiniboine Park Conservancy, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District, the Vita Cross-Border Elk Monitoring Partnership, Birds Canada, and the Rural Municipality of Stuartburn including Sunrise Corner Tourism, Nature Manitoba, and the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.

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