Ontario Leads In Species At Risk And Habitat Protection



    McGuinty Government Triples Number Of Species Protected

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Ontario's new Endangered Species Act takes effect on June 30, 2008,
making the province a North American leader in species at risk protection and
recovery.
    The new act triples the number of species protected in Ontario to 128
from 42, provides greater support for volunteer stewardship projects and a
stronger commitment to recovery of species and habitats. It also allows more
opportunity for businesses to work with the Ontario government to mitigate for
species at risk if one is found on their property.
    Pelee Quarries on Pelee Island is a leading example of how businesses can
strengthen protection for species at risk and remain economically competitive.
Under the more flexible terms of the new act, Pelee Quarries has been able to
set aside land adjacent to its operations to create improved habitat for the
endangered blue racer snake, allowing its commercial activity to continue.
    To support the new act's stewardship-first approach to species
protection, Ontario is investing more than $5 million this year in volunteer
stewardship projects across the province that will help protect and recover
species at risk and their habitats.
    The projects are part of the province's $18-million, four-year Species at
Risk Stewardship Fund.

    QUOTE

    "Ontario's new Endangered Species Act sets a gold standard for species
and habitat protection while at the same time taking into consideration the
social and economic well-being of our citizens and communities," said Natural
Resources Minister Donna Cansfield
(http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/About/2ColumnSubPage/226953.html).

    "Our government's new Endangered Species Act strikes the right balance by
providing stronger protection for species at risk while at the same time
offering flexibility to communities like Pelee Island that play an essential
role in protecting important natural habitats," said Essex MPP Bruce Crozier.

    "The new Endangered Species Act and the new resolution tools it provides
the government has empowered us to achieve a responsible balance of
significant net gain for the environment, while allowing the island community
access to the quarry resources it needs to sustain itself," said Pelee
Quarries spokesperson George Paisiovich.

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -  Pelee Island has one of the most biologically diverse natural habitats
       in Canada, supporting at least 45 species at risk, including some that
       are globally rare.
    -  Ontario is home to more than 30,000 species, of which more than 180
       are currently identified as being at risk.

    LEARN MORE

    -  Find out more about Species At Risk
       (http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/index.html) in Ontario
       (ontario.ca/speciesatrisk)


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                                           ontario.ca/natural-resources-news
                                                      Disponible en français



                                                                BACKGROUNDER
                                               Ministry of Natural Resources
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         ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT RAISES THE BAR FOR SPECIES PROTECTION
                               IN NORTH AMERICA

                                                               June 26, 2008

    On June 30, 2008, the most progressive legislation of its kind for species
at risk protection will take effect. The new act has been hailed as the "gold
standard" in species protection in North America.
    The Ontario government will help businesses and individuals make the
transition from the old act to the new by:
    -  ensuring business activities related to protection of human health and
       safety, protection of property and law enforcement can continue
    -  providing certainty regarding continuation of current legal activities
       that do not have a harmful effect on species at risk
    -  allowing several major types of industrial and development activities
       to continue with specific conditions aimed at protecting species at
       risk.

    Two provincial committees established under Ontario's new Endangered
Species Act will provide expertise and advice related to protection and
recovery of species at risk and implementation of the new legislation.

    -  COMMITTEE ON THE STATUS OF SPECIES AT RISK IN ONTARIO
       is the provincial agency responsible for assessing and classifying the
       status of species that may be at risk, based on the best available
       scientific information available, including information obtained from
       community knowledge and aboriginal traditional knowledge. The
       committee is an independent body of 11 expert members, from both the
       public and private sectors.

    -  SPECIES AT RISK PROGRAM ADVISORY COMMITTEE
       is an independent body of up to 19 members who have relevant
       experience in resource use, land use or environmental sectors, and
       good knowledge related to the protection and recovery of species at
       risk. All members must be from outside the Ontario public sector. The
       committee will advise the Minister of Natural Resources and make
       recommendations on implementation of the new act.

    ONTARIO'S SPECIES AT RISK

    Ontario is home to more than 30,000 species of which more than 180 are
considered to be at risk. Species may become at risk due to small or declining
numbers and limited distributions in combination with other factors such as
habitat loss, pollution, competition from invasive species and
over-harvesting.
    The Species at Risk in Ontario List
(http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/2ColumnSubPage/STEL01_131230.htm
l) is the official list of species that have been classified by the ministry
in one of the following categories:

    -  Extinct - no longer lives anywhere in the world
    -  Extirpated - lives somewhere in the world, lived at one time in
       Ontario, but no longer lives in the wild in Ontario
    -  Endangered - lives in the wild in Ontario, but is facing imminent
       extinction or extirpation
    -  Threatened - lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered, but is
       likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address factors
       that appear to be leading to its extinction or extirpation
    -  Special Concern - lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered or
       threatened, but may become threatened or endangered because of a
       combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.


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    Jason Travers,                         ontario.ca/natural-resources-news
    Fish & Wildlife Branch,                           Disponible en français
    705-755-1754



                                                                BACKGROUNDER
                                               Ministry of Natural Resources
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                       SPECIES AT RISK STEWARDSHIP FUND

                                                               June 26, 2008

    Ontario's $18-million, four-year Species at Risk Stewardship Fund
(http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/2ColumnSubPage/STEL01_131229.htm
l) encourages and supports public stewardship activities. The fund supports
Ontario's commitment to a stewardship-first approach in the new Endangered
Species Act
(http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_07e06_e.htm)
.
    The stewardship fund is open to individuals and groups across the province
including landowners, farmers, Aboriginal peoples, education or research
institutions, conservation organizations, industries, municipalities,
stewardship councils and others who undertake eligible protection and recovery
activities.
    Application forms and guidelines are available at ontario.ca/speciesatrisk
or by telephoning 705-755-5340. Eligible proposals will be reviewed and final
selection made by the ministry.
    To be eligible for funding, a proposal must aim to achieve one or more of
the following:
    -  Improve the status of species at risk and their habitats through
       stewardship and recovery activities
    -  Encourage involvement in stewardship activities through outreach,
       education or youth employment
    -  Increase stewardship-related knowledge and skills of interested
       landowners or groups
    -  Support the securement of species at risk habitat by working with
       willing landowners.
    

    LOCAL STEWARDSHIP PROJECTS RECEIVE FUNDING FOR SPECIES AT RISK PROTECTION

    Thirty-four volunteer projects in southwestern Ontario will receive more
than $1.425 million from the provincial Species at Risk Stewardship Fund this
year to help protect and recover species at risk and their habitats.

    Long Point Region Conservation Authority - $32,000 to support the
protection and restoration of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in Long Point
area watersheds. Activities will include habitat restoration and landowner
education.
    Contact: Paul Gagnon, 519-428-4623, Ext. 232

    Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation - $30,300 to protect
species crossing the Long Point Causeway and reduce wildlife roadkill. The
project will include alerting motorists, erecting barrier fencing, providing
alternative turtle nesting sites and monitoring the effectiveness of these
measures.
    Contact: Bernie Solymar, 519-426-7124

    Carolinian Canada Coalition - $267,000 to support ways for landowners,
young people and local community leaders to work together to protect and
restore species at risk habitat.
    Contact: Michelle Kanter, 519-433-7077

    Norfolk County Stewardship Council - $70,500 to support a three-year
pilot project that will evaluate how the alternative land use services concept
works in restoring a healthy landscape in rural countryside. Stewardship
activities include tallgrass prairie restoration.
    Contact: Dan Provoost, 519-875-4392

    Norfolk County Field Naturalists - $14,300 to improve the quality and
quantity of habitat by removing exotic species and restoring native plants.
    Contact: Peter Carson, 519-586-3985

    St. Clair Region Conservation Authority - $25,000 to support a
partnership to assist local landowners with erosion control and wind
protection in an effort to improve habitat by reducing sedimentation and
nutrient loading in local waterways.
    Contact: Brian McDougall, 519-245-3710

    St. Clair Region Conservation Authority - $16,000 to support an inventory
of species at risk in more than 1800 hectares of Carolinian woodlands owned by
the conservation authority. The information will help in developing plans for
habitat improvement.
    Contact: Brian McDougall, 519-245-3710

    Walpole Island Heritage Centre - $34,650 to support a youth summer
employment stewardship program, increase community awareness and involvement
in stewardship initiatives through community outreach, continue work on
prescribed burn planning, and conduct an inventory of at-risk reptiles on
Walpole Island.
    Contact: Aimee Johnson, 519-627-1475

    Upper Thames River Conservation Authority - $32,500 to support ongoing
work to recover species at risk within the Upper Thames River watershed
through monitoring, habitat improvement, stewardship, outreach and education.
    Contact: Chris Harrington, 519-451-2800

    Elgin Stewardship Council - $13,500 to support the collection of data to
develop a series of field guides and workshops to help workers better predict
fire behavior and intensity when undertaking prescribed burns to restore
tallgrass prairie habitat.
    Contact: Russ Wiltsie, 519-765-1013

    Essex County Stewardship Council - $25,000 to support a partnership of
local community, hunting and environmental groups in assisting landowners
interested in creating and restoring species at risk habitat on their lands.
    Contact: Jason Fuerth, 519-723-9134

    Essex Region Conservation Authority - $50,240 to support a landowner
outreach and education project aimed at fish habitat protection, restoration
and enhancement.
    Contact: Matthew Child, 519-776-5209

    Kent County Stewardship Council - $22,400 to support a sand spit recovery
and awareness project. The project includes a three-season botanical inventory
and placement of wooden barriers to protect sand spits from trampling by human
foot paths and off-road vehicles.
    Contact: Rick Siddall, 519-354-7114

    Kent County Stewardship Council - $20,000 to support restoration of
wetland and tallgrass prairie habitats that support 19 endangered, threatened
or special concern species. The project will also construct a snake
hibernaculum targeting eastern fox snake and milk snake
    Contact: Rick Siddall, 519-354-7114

    Rural Lambton Stewardship Council - $17,400 to support a partnership
project assisting in the recovery of the Eastern Prairie fringed-orchid and
other species at risk negatively affected by the spread of the invasive strain
of a plant that has taken over wetlands across the Great Lakes basin.
    Contact: Doug McGee, 519-627-3932

    Savanta - $19,500 to reduce the threat of invasive species to Lake Erie
sand spit savannas which are among the rarest ecosystems in North America and
support a high proportion of threatened and endangered species.
    Contact: Kate Hayes, 416-226-3786

    Jaffa Environmental Education Centre - $13,875 to support a series of
curriculum-based activities that will provide student with hands-on,
interactive opportunities to learn about the importance of forests, forestry
conservation and protection, biodiversity and species at risk.
    Contact: Lauren Selby, 519-773-5196

    Middlesex Stewardship Council - $37,500 to support an outreach
partnership project to involve Scouts Canada youth in a tallgrass prairie
restoration project
    Contact: Don Fairbairn, 519-641-8540

    Township of Pelee Island - $175,000 to support a species at risk
outreach, recovery and monitoring project working in cooperation with the
Pelee Island Bird Observatory, Pelee Island Heritage Center and the Nature
Conservancy of Canada.
    Contact: Rick Masse, 519-724-2931

    Bird Studies of Canada - $89,900 to support stewardship activities for
birds at risk in threatened ecosystems, including hooded warbler, bald eagle,
chimney swift, and short-eared owl. The project also involves outreach,
education and training to enable young people and others to get involved in
protecting Ontario's birds at risk.
    Contact: Debbie Badzinski, 519-586-3531, Ext. 211

    Bird Studies Canada - $36,700 to support a nest box program for
Prothonotary warblers, improve warbler habitat by removing invasive
populations of European black alder, and update a website providing the most
current information on status of the species, conservation issues and recovery
needs.
    Contact: Jon McCracken, 519-586-3531, Ext. 205

    Haldimand Stewardship Council - $18,768 to support the development of a
stewardship guide and presentation to educate employees of companies in the
Lake Erie Industrial Park about the unique ecosystem and species at risk in
the park, and what they can do to help protect and restore these species.
    Contact: Pat D'Haeseleer, 905-701-4831

    Ontario Heritage Trust - $7,392 to support protection of the Lake Erie
water snake by making a protected easement area more visible and by
undertaking educational outreach with landowners along the easement.
    Contact: Barbara Heidenreich, 416-314-4918

    Wildlife Preservation Canada - $83,500 to support implementation of a
recovery strategy for Eastern loggerhead shrike. Efforts include monitoring
birds in the wild, managing and releasing a captive population, habitat
mapping, stewardship and restoration, and public education.
    Contact: Elaine Williams, 519-836-9314

    Tallgrass Ontario - $12,500 to support inventory and GIS mapping of
tallgrass prairie habitats to assess conservation status and set restoration
priorities. Includes outreach efforts to increase landowner awareness of
tallgrass prairie and savanna habitats and the species that depend on them.
    Contact: Graham Buck, 519-873-4631

    Hamilton Naturalists - $29,995 to support inventory and mapping of
species, analyze threats and conservation opportunities and undertake invasive
species control in nature sanctuaries that are home to at least 20 species at
risk.
    Contact: Al Ernest, 905-689-9466

    Waterloo County Stewardship Council - $14,100 to support restoration of
tallgrass prairie habitat in Waterloo and Brant counties through prescribed
burns, removal of invasive species and planting of appropriate tallgrass
prairie vegetation.
    Contact: Wayne Buck, 519-662-2529

    Royal Botanical Gardens - $30,000 to support a multi-species stewardship
effort, including monitoring species, enhancing woodland and wetland habitat,
and public education outreach in one of the largest natural areas in the
largely urban Hamilton region.
    Contact: Ben Porchuk, 905-527-1158

    Ruthven Park - $21,000 to implement an action plan for monitoring and
recovery of species at risk in Ruthven Park, promoting good stewardship and
increased public awareness.
    Contact: Marilynn Havelka, 905-772-0560

    Six Nations - $31,700 to support a survey of species at risk habitats and
threats on Six Nations properties using modern mapping technology, as well as
traditional First Nations ecological knowledge and sightings.
    Contact: Allan Arthur, 519-445-0013

    Nature Conservancy of Canada - $44,380 to support a partnership
stewardship strategy to conserve habitat for five species at risk on property
in Fonthill including community outreach, habitat restoration, species
recovery and monitoring.
    Contact: Heather Arnold, 519-640-6816

    Land Care Niagara - $51,585 to support stewardship outreach and recovery
actions including habitat enhancement for the common hop tree, swamp
rose-mallow, butternut tree, and flowering dogwood.
    Contact: Stephen Prior, 905-685-9215

    Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority - $22,170 to support a
partnership project to carry out the first detailed natural areas inventory in
the Niagara-Haldiman areas.
    Contact: Deanna Lindblad, 905-788-3135, Ext. 241

    Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority - $15,300 to support recovery
efforts for the spoon-leaved moss through surveys of areas where the moss
occurs, developing and implementing restoration techniques, as well as
educational outreach and stewardship guidelines.
    Contact: Kim Frohlich, 905-788-3135, Ext. 241


    
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    Jason Travers,                         ontario.ca/natural-resources-news
    Fish and Wildlife Branch,                         Disponible en français
    705-755-1754
    





For further information:

For further information: David Bauer, Minister's Office, (416) 314-2212;
Jolanta Kowalski, Communications Services Branch, (416) 314-2106

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Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

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