BANCROFT— The Ontario government is investing an additional $14 million in the Greenlands Conservation Partnership to expand the protection of ecologically important natural areas and preserve the province’s natural diversity.
The funding will help partner organizations such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance secure, restore and manage new protected wetlands, grasslands and forests areas and open additional natural spaces for Ontarians to enjoy.
“We’ve seen widespread success over the last three years by working in partnership with organizations like the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to increase our impact and create opportunities to protect nature. That’s why we’re increasing our investment in the Greenlands Conservation Partnership program,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Together, we’re protecting sensitive natural areas and ensuring a healthy environment Ontarians can enjoy, now and in the future.”
The Greenlands Conservation Partnership is the single largest provincial fund to secure private land in Ontario. The program leverages private and other non-provincial dollars to secure, restore and manage new protected areas. Since launching in 2020, the program has protected nearly 167,000 hectares (approximately 412,000 acres) of land across the province – an area two and a half times the footprint of the City of Toronto.
“The time to accelerate conservation is now. Through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the province have delivered 31 conservation projects, protecting over 164,200 hectares of lands,” said Mike Hendren, Regional Vice President – Ontario, Nature Conservancy of Canada. “These conserved areas help protect communities against the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss and ensure accessible green spaces. NCC is grateful for Ontario’s ongoing support of the Greenlands program through which more natural areas, including forests, wetlands and grasslands, will be conserved and restored for people and nature.”
The program has contributed to some of Ontario’s most significant conservation efforts. For example, the Hastings Wildlife Junction project near Bancroft, to which the government contributed an additional $4 million, is protecting nearly 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of significant forest and wetlands, making it the second largest protected area in the region. The area is 75 times the size of Canada’s Wonderland.
“Ontario Land Trust Alliance welcomes this additional funding from the Government of Ontario for the Greenlands Conservation Partnership,” said Alison Howson, Executive Director, Ontario Land Trust Alliance. “In the first three years of the program, local and community land trusts created 44 new projects that conserve sensitive ecosystems and protect habitats for 85 species at risk, including 23 new properties that provide public access and increase the availability of green spaces for Ontarians to enjoy. Partners of this program, including OLTA, will build on the real measurable benefits already seen, preserving more natural areas of ecological importance and promoting community connection to these natural spaces.”
Partnering with conservation leaders is one way the government is working to preserve ecologically important natural areas and protect the province’s rich biodiversity.
- Since 2020, Ontario has invested $38 million to leverage private contributions to the Greenlands Conservation Partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance.
- This provincial funding supports the securement of privately owned protected areas and their restoration and management. For every dollar of provincial funding provided through the Greenlands Conservation program, NCC and OLTA have matched it with approximately $5 from other conservation partners, including individual donors, foundations and other levels of government.
- Through Ontario’s partnerships with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, the government has contributed funding to help protect 72 privately owned properties of ecological importance.
- Donations to support the work of Ontario’s conservation partners can be made directly to the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, as well as to local land trusts.