Changed the legal status and/or governance in key connectivity areas
For example in 2009, the Manitoba government passed legislation to enable First Nations to develop land-use plans to provide interim and permanent legal protection of traditional lands on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. The legislation also provides a new legal tool to designate land on the east side of Lake Winnipeg as a special protected area.
Created new protected areas in key connectivity areas
For example in Quebec, the Rivière George protected area and the Monts Pyramides National Park reserve adjacent to it cover an area of approximately 9,900km2. The Quebec government is protecting this majestic river along its entire course, over about 350 kilometres from where it is joined by its major tributary, Rivière De Pas. This makes it Quebec’s largest protected river. These protected areas will help protect one of the Quebec Arctic’s largest caribou heards, with a population of 385,000 head.
Improved natural ressource management to improve connectivity
For example in 2008, Alberta established the “OH Ranch Heritage Rangeland” and developed cooperative management guidelines in partnership with a private landowner of OH Ranch, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Southern Alberta Land Trust Society (SALTS) and multiple government departments. This public-private partnership represents the culmination of a collaborative effort to conserve Alberta’s native grassland ecosystems. Both the private land under conservation easement and the public land established as a heritage rangeland under protected areas legislation will continue to be managed as a single unit under one operating ranch to conserve the native grassland ecosystems. Ongoing management of the OH Ranch Heritage Rangeland represents a collaborative and cooperative effort between all partners.
Designated connectivity corridors and/or buffers
5 of Canada's 13 provincial and territorial governments have regulatory-based mechanisms for buffers or corridors
Created market incentives for promoting connectivity and PA
For example in recent years, governments have introduced incentives to encourage private land conservation. All provinces have legislation that allows for conservation easements. In addition, both the federal and some provincial governments offer tax benefits for land donations, while several provinces have established matched-funds partnerships with local land trusts. More recently, the federal government eliminated the tax on any capital gains on charitable donations of ecologically sensitive lands certified under the Ecological Gifts Program in order to remove tax and financial barriers to conservation efforts.
In addition, in 2007, the Government of Canada announced that it would invest $225 million in a new Natural Areas Conservation Program to help non-profit, non-government organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands. And between 2002 and 2008, the Quebec government invested over $20 million in private lands conservation efforts, resulting in the acquisition by private conservation organizations of 166 properties representing over 14,000 ha. Almost 75% of these projects have contributed to habitat protection for species at risk.
Changed awareness and behavior of key stakeholders in key connectivity
For example, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has worked with the Canadian shipping industry to re-route some shipping lanes around the North Atlantic Right Whales' migratory path and establish a voluntary Area to be Avoided near the Roseway Basin south of Nova Scotia.
Improved laws and policies within or around key connectivity areas
For example, a number of Canadian agencies are incorporating the maintenance of ecological integrity as a key goal for their management planning efforts. Parks Canada has introduced EI monitoring and reporting programs for the entire national park system. In addition, in 2006, Ontario introduced a new Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act that establishes the maintenance of ecological integrity as the first priority in the planning and management of Ontario’s system of provincial parks and conservation reserves.
Restored degraded areas in key connectivity areas
For example, in order to recreate the ecological processes linked to natural fires and grazing by large herbivores, Parks Canada and partner agencies initiated the Prairie Persists project in Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan. Prairie grasslands are one of the most threatened ecosystems in the country. In May 2006, 71 plains bison were successfully released into the park. Combined with prescribed burns and efforts to reduce exotic and invasive species, these efforts are helping to restore the overall ecological integrity of this rare ecosystem, while bringing back one of the most enduring symbols of our nation’s history. An important element of this project’s success has been its focus on partnerships and engagement with local First Nations and with youth.
Changed land use planning, zoning and/or buffers in key connectivity areas
Integrated landuse planning measures are underway on some lands in about half of Canada’s provinces and territories.
British Columbia’s Central and North Coast is a largely intact 64,000 km2 area of temperate rainforest on the coast of British Columbia. This area was the subject of protracted environmental campaigns throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. In February 2006, the province of British Columbia, along with First Nations, NGOs, and forest companies agreed to establish more than 100 new protected areas covering almost 18,000 km2 along the coast. The land use decisions also established 21 biodiversity areas, covering approximately 3000 km2. These areas contribute to the conservation of species, ecosystems and seral stage diversity by being located adjacent to protected areas and by limiting the land uses within the zones. Commercial timber harvesting and commercial hydro-electric power projects are prohibited within these areas. Other resource activities and land uses will continue, subject to existing regulations and legislation. Finally, the decision requires the joint development of an ecosystem-based management system for forestry operations across the balance of the planning area. Legislation to establish the protected areas, or conservancies, was completed in April 2008.
In 2007, the Federal and BC Governments provided $60 million to support this initiative, matching contributions made by private donors and foundations. The resulting Conservation Investments and Incentives Initiative (CIII) fund will facilitate implementation of the land use plan over time by supporting economic diversification and conservation projects in coastal communities.
Removed barriers to connectivity and ecological functioning
Banff National Park's Bow Valley is a critical movement corridor for Grizzly bears and other wildlife. The Trans Canada Highway through Banff carries over 24,000 vehicles each day in summer, with attendant impacts on wildlife. As a result, the Park initiated the design of a highway twinning-mitigation project to keep key wildlife species like grizzly bears and their habitat connected. Twenty-four wildlife crossing structures have been constructed to date. There has also been a strong focus on public education with this project. Staff have visisted over 22 schools and engaged over 2,000 students in contests and projects to raise awareness.
Other actions to improve connectivity and integration
For example, a Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy (FMPAS) was released in 2005 to enhance cooperation towards completion of the federal component of the national MPA system. The Strategy has four primary objectives: 1) to establish a more systematic approach to marine protected area planning and establishment; 2) to enhance collaboration with other jurisdictions (including Aboriginal peoples) for the management and monitoring of marine protected areas; 3) to increase the awareness, understanding and participation of Canadians in the marine protected areas network; and 4) to link Canada’s network of marine protected areas to continental and global networks.