Habitat Project Renewal Fund

Despite progress on public and private conserved areas, inadequate natural asset infrastructure funding jeopardizes the climate and biodiversity benefits that existing natural assets provide.

Many of these benefits were established through early investments and longstanding public and private partnerships that secured and restored some of Canada’s most biodiverse and carbon-rich natural habitats. Some were established as intact natural landscapes, while others required intensive built infrastructure. Those projects, especially those employing built infrastructure to support ecological functions and integrity, now require major renewal, replacement or conversion to more naturally functioning designs. Similarly, these projects require scientific monitoring and a renewal of management strategies to ensure their viability.

The situation is similar for a number of privately conserved areas, particularly those that were enhanced prior to the 1990s and secured prior to the establishment of key publicly funded conservation support mechanisms. Many privately conserved areas are falling into disrepair and require immediate remedial infrastructure renewal investments. The vast majority of older permanently secured lands, held in trust, will never be converted to any primary purpose other than for conservation and the provision of ecosystem services to Canadians.

None of these privately held lands are technically “protected areas”. Without proper investment, they will continue to decline. Notably, since these areas are not captured under the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database (CPCAD), Canada is also dramatically under-reporting our conservation achievements against our Aichi-target commitments under the CBD.

The Green Budget Coalition recommends that the federal government establish a new Habitat Project Renewal Fund to upgrade and extend the lifespan and functionality of existing conservation assets on public and private lands across Canada. The Fund would support resilience of our natural assets, protect ecosystem carbon, and contribute to the government’s environmental commitments. Furthermore, targeted investments will create immediate and meaningful job opportunities with an economic multiplier effect, stimulating surrounding supply chains, and accelerating Canada’s transition to a more resilient and environmentally sustainable economy.

This program would be administered by ECCC and implemented in collaboration with non-government partners as part of an economic stimulus package designed to re-employ thousands of Canadians and generate economic activity.

Recommended  Investment:
$120 million over five years
[ECCC], matched by $80 million in non-federal government sources of funding

James Brennan – j_brennan@ducks.ca
Paul Hewer – paul.hewer@natureconservancy.ca
Cameron Mack – cmack@whc.org