OTTAWA, April 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, issued the following statement marking Canada's National Wildlife Week:
"Throughout Canada, the week in which April 10 occurs is observed as National Wildlife Week. April 10 is the birthday of the late Jack Miner, a Canadian conservationist known by some as the "father" of North American conservationism. This week honours his contributions to conservation.
"Our Government has a remarkable record of achievement in conservation and biodiversity. Since we've formed Government, we have created two National Marine Conservation Areas, three Marine Protected Areas, three National Wildlife Areas, and two National Parks. The total area of lands we have protected is an area twice the size of Vancouver Island.
"The Government is also acting to protect Canada's rich natural heritage through a new National Conservation Plan to further increase protected areas, focusing on stronger marine and coastal conservation. Details regarding the Plan, which will build on the measures proposed in Economic Action Plan 2014, will be announced in the near future.
"We are also working to create Canada's first urban national park, Rouge National Urban Park, in the Greater Toronto Area. Establishing Rouge National Urban Park further will build on our Government's successes in expanding Canada's system of protected areas. The parks urban context will bring unprecedented accessibility for Canadians to learn about the park and all of Canada's protected areas. It will celebrate the diversity of the Rouge's natural and cultural landscape, its unique urban setting, the presence of working farms, and the opportunities for engagement, connection, conservation, volunteerism and stewardship.
"Ongoing investment and action under the Natural Areas Conservation Program and Environment Canada's close collaboration with the Nature Conservancy of Canada have resulted in the protection of 387,000 hectares of private land, including habitat for 164 species at risk.
"As part of our commitment to protect species at risk, we issued an Emergency Protection Order in December 2013 to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse, a species in severe decline. This order addresses imminent threats to the survival and recovery of the Sage-Grouse by protecting important habitat for this species. In addition to this Emergency Protection Order, our Government announced a $2.1M contribution for the Calgary Zoo's new captive breeding and rearing program for the Greater Sage-Grouse recovery.
"Protecting Canada's environment and its natural heritage for the benefit of future generations is a priority for the Government of Canada. Canada protects 12.4 million hectares of land and water for Canadian wildlife under the Environment Canada Protected Areas program, including 54 National Wildlife Areas and 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.
"We have also provided significant funding to support more than 1,450 local conservation projects designed to protect or conserve habitat for species at risk under the Habitat Stewardship Program. To date, these projects have benefited more than 450 species listed under the Species at Risk Act. The Program has established more than 350 partnerships with successful recipients and, overall, community involvement and partnerships are the strengths of this Program."
Find out more about what Environment Canada and its partners are doing to conserve Canada's biodiversity.
SOURCE: Environment Canada
For further information:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment