Selection criteria

Funding will target proposals that address either the marine priority threats or address threats within one of the seven priority freshwater places.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will prioritize recovery activities with the greatest potential to benefit aquatic species at risk affected by the priority threats or found in the priority areas. DFO’s focus is on supporting multi-year, multi-partner initiatives that apply an ecosystem or multi-species approach and that create a legacy by enabling recovery actions to carry on beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.

Project eligibility and assessment

This funding provides an opportunity to focus on key priority threats and places for aquatic species at risk.

In each freshwater priority place, key threats and measures have been identified that are intended to support progress in species recovery.

For each marine priority threat, key measures have also been identified that are intended to support progress in species recovery.

To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate how their projects and associated activities:

Note that a preference will be given to projects that:

DFO will assess all projects based on their:

Priority marine threats

Region Priority threat Threat mitigation activities or recovery actions needed

Atlantic Ocean

Arctic Ocean

Pacific Ocean

Fishing interactions

(includes entanglement and bycatch)

DFO is seeking to fund measures or activities that reduce fishing interactions with aquatic species at risk (marine fish, marine mammals, marine reptiles, and marine invertebrates) and their habitat in the marine environment, such as the following:

  • Identification, documentation or monitoring of areas where there is a high likelihood of aquatic species at risk interacting with fishing activities.
  • Education and outreach to industry, operators and the public regarding the impacts of fishing interactions on aquatic species at risk and methods to mitigate impacts.
  • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
  • Development, refinement and/or implementation of alternative technologies, best practices or tools to prevent, mitigate or monitor impacts from fishing interactions on aquatic species at risk. This may include a variety of initiatives such as, but not limited to:
    • industry-led measures to find and remove ghost gear;
    • measures to minimize marine mega-plastics from commercial fishing activities (e.g. bait box “liners”, and plastic “strappings” around new fish/shellfish product bags & boxes);
    • methods to accurately update estimates of and measures to reduce “struck and loss” marine mammals at risk during subsistence hunting activities;
    • development or testing of modifications to fishing gear and/or practices to reduce the frequency or severity of interactions with species at risk.
  • Necessary or vital research to address key knowledge gaps and better understand how fishing interactions affect species at risk in the marine environment.

Atlantic Ocean

Arctic Ocean

Pacific Ocean

Physical and acoustic disturbance

(includes vessel collisions and underwater ocean noise)

DFO is seeking to fund measures or activities that contribute to mitigating physical and acoustic disturbances that affect aquatic species at risk (marine fish, marine mammals, marine reptiles, and marine invertebrates) and their habitat in the marine environment, such as the following:

  • The detection and monitoring of aquatic species at risk (including development, testing and/or implementation of technologies for detection of the presence/location of aquatic species),
  • The development of tools and/or practices to disseminate information to industry or operators about species presence and/or potential interactions with aquatic species at risk.
  • Education and outreach to industry, operators and the public regarding the potential impacts from physical and acoustic disturbance on aquatic species at risk in the marine environment and methods to mitigate these impacts.
  • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
  • Development, refinement, testing, or implementation of technologies, techniques, best practices or tools that could reduce impacts from physical and acoustic disturbance resulting from human activities on aquatic species at risk.
  • Necessary or vital research to address key knowledge gaps and better understand how acoustic disturbances affect species at risk in the marine environment.

Priority freshwater areas

Province Priority areas Threat mitigation activities or recovery actions needed
British Columbia Columbia and Fraser Watersheds Priority Area

We are seeking to fund activities including:

  • Multi-species/ecosystem approaches to mitigate key threats to aquatic species at risk and their habitats (as identified in COSEWIC assessments and SARA recovery documents) and build lasting capacity and collaborations for future recovery efforts.
  • Improvements in freshwater and tidal habitat quality and quantity where needed for SARA-listed and COSEWIC-assessed SAR recovery, including improvements to spawning habitats, etc. (e.g., water flow, riparian restoration, sediment control, light pollution).
  • Management and mitigation of industrial activities, and monitoring of long-term outcomes for SAR in freshwater and tidal habitats.
  • Targeted outreach to improve public awareness of SAR and their habitat requirements, promote recreational fishing regulations and tourism best practices, promote catch reporting (e.g., iREC, creel surveys, etc.), and increase stewardship activities that address key threats to species at risk.
  • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
Alberta Eastern Slopes of the Rockies Priority Area

We are seeking to fund activities including:

  • Identification of local threats to species and habitats (i.e. surveys, inventories, monitoring)
  • Those which assist with recovery of populations within their historical range (i.e. re-establish populations, increase current population levels, distribution and connectivity)
  • Management and reduction of the footprint of anthropogenic activities (i.e. manage effects of resource extraction, land and water use)
  • Restoration or mitigation of threats to habitat (i.e. improve riparian habitat, remove anthropogenic barriers, install bridges/other structures to keep anthropogenic activities out of the water, install fencing/off-site watering stations to keep animals out of the water, etc.)
  • Protection, recovery and re-establishment of native trout species at risk from non-native trout (i.e. targeted removal or suppression of non-native trout, installation of barriers to prevent non-native trout access)
  • Targeted outreach to improve awareness and increase opportunity for stewardship/partnership activities (e.g. presentations to environmental non-government organizations, recreational fishers, Indigenous groups, etc.)
  • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba Southern Prairies Priority Area

We are seeking to fund activities including:

  • Identification of local threats to species habitats (i.e. surveys, inventories, monitoring).
  • Restoration or creation of suitable habitat in key areas (i.e. removal of non-functioning anthropogenic barriers, reinforcement of riparian areas/water banks to reduce sedimentation into the water, ensure access to critical habitat areas, etc.).
  • Remediation or mitigation of threats to habitat (i.e. improve fish passage through/around water control structures, build bridges/other structures to keep anthropogenic activities out of the water, install fencing/off-site watering stations to keep animals out of the water, etc.).
  • Development and implementation of targeted plans to protect/mitigate species at risk from aquatic invasive species (e.g. Zebra Mussel)
  • Targeted outreach to improve awareness and increase opportunity for stewardship/partnership activities (presentations to environmental non-government organizations, recreational fishers, Indigenous groups, etc.).
  • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
Ontario Lower Great Lakes Watershed Priority Area

We are seeking to fund the following activities including:

  • Activities to reduce non-point source pollution (i.e., nutrient and sediment loading, contaminants/toxic substances) and improve habitat quality and quantity for aquatic SAR.
  • Development of best management practices that address threats such as sediment, nutrient and contaminant loading, increased stream temperatures, flow alteration etc.
  • Implementation of BMPs and other on-the-ground stewardship activities (e.g., riparian planting and restoration, wetland restoration and creation, barrier removal, creation of sediment traps, fencing of livestock out of riparian area).
  • Research to identify threats and threat thresholds for aquatic SAR and their habitats (siltation, anoxia, thermal stress etc.) to inform ecosystem-based recovery actions.
  • The establishment of aquatic SAR monitoring programs to track any improvements in their habitat and populations as a result of BMP implementation and other on-the-ground stewardship activities.
  • Targeted outreach to improve awareness and increase opportunity for stewardship/partnership activities (presentations to environmental non-government organizations, Indigenous groups, etc.).
  • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
Quebec St Lawrence Lowlands Priority Area

We are seeking to fund the following activities including:

  1. Improving water quality
    • Development and implementation of measures to reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment inputs in aquatic systems.
    • Development and implementation of measures to improve agricultural practices and better management of municipal wastewater including awareness of key stakeholders.
    • Research on the effects of contaminants on aquatic SAR to improve decision-making for contaminant management and to limit their impacts on SAR.
  2. Improving habitats for aquatic SAR
    • Restoration of the quality of degraded aquatic and riparian habitats, including water flow management, improved fish free passage, shoreline restoration, sediment control, etc.
    • Conservation and protection of aquatic and riparian habitats in particular to ensure the sustainability of restored habitats including measures to increase the area of preserved or protected riparian strips.
    • Management and reduction of the footprint of anthropogenic activities (i.e., manage the effects of resource extraction and land and water use).
    • Development of indicators and monitoring plans for monitoring populations of species at risk and their habitat.
  3. Aquatic Invasive Species Management
    • Development and implementation of targeted plans for better control of invasive species affecting aquatic SAR including awareness and research required to develop these plans.
  4. Partnerships
    • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Rivers Priority Area

We are seeking to fund the following activities including:

  • Improve and restore freshwater and estuarine habitat, improve fish passage and spawning habitat, and engage resource users for long-term improvement of aquatic ecosystems.
  • Restoring habitat affected by fragmentation and degradation, through means such as the removal/alteration of barriers to fish passage (culverts, barrier removal, flow alteration), mitigating bank erosion, planting native plants, stream bank stabilization and creation of cold water habitat.
  • Land use issues can be addressed through education and engagement with local groups and organizations to promote best management and land stewardship practices.
  • Prevention, surveillance/early detection, response and control management measures to protect waterbodies from the introduction and spread of invasive species (does not include eradication).
  • Monitoring of the habitat enhancement and conservation of species at risk will be over 2-5 year periods by measuring the effectiveness of habitat restored/improved, monitoring the connectivity restored and the usage of habitat by the target species.
  • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Bay of Fundy and Southern Uplands Watersheds Priority Area

We are seeking to fund the following activities including:

  • Improvement of fish passage in priority locations of importance to multiple species at risk; including assessing dams, aboiteaux and other barriers for their restoration potential and restoring fish passage to mitigate threats due to dams and other barriers.
  • Improvement of degraded freshwater, riparian, and estuarine habitat in key areas that are important to multiple species at risk and develop improved land use practices to prevent future habitat degradation.
  • Activities to support the establishment of self-sustaining populations of Atlantic Whitefish, whose entire global range is found within this priority area; specifically range expansion, aquatic invasive species control, and re-establishing anadromy are activities that are needed to meet recovery objectives.
  • Support for partnerships, relationship building, and the establishment of venues for continued collaboration, and information and knowledge sharing to support recovery actions beyond the 4 years for which funding is eligible.
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