It has been recognized for years that to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct, their habitat must be protected. Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) presents new requirements for identifying critical habitat—and new measures for protecting it.
What is critical habitat?
Critical habitat is vital to the survival or recovery of wildlife species. It may be an identified breeding site, nursery area or feeding ground. For species at risk, such habitats are of the utmost importance. SARA makes it illegal to destroy the critical habitat of species at risk and may impose new restrictions on development and construction.
What can you do?
It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that projects undertaken on or near water comply with SARA. To find out more, contact your appropriate municipal, provincial and federal government representatives, or visit the SARA public registry online at Species at risk public registry.
You can also take active steps to protect the habitat of species at risk through the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk (HSP), which sponsors local stewardship activities. The HSP, which became operational in 2000, allocates up to $10 million per year to projects that conserve and protect species at risk and their habitats.
How the program works
The HSP provides funding to "stewards" for implementing activities that protect or conserve habitats for species designated as “at risk". The program also fosters partnerships among organizations interested in the recovery of species at risk.
Hundreds of stewardship projects are underway across Canada today, many of them funded by the HSP. Activities include:
- developing selective fishing methods to ensure that species at risk are not caught accidentally
- monitoring marine mammal populations to protect their breeding sites
- restoring river banks to prevent soil erosion which has a detrimental impact on critical habitat
For more information, visit the HSP website.
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