In 2007, the Government of Canada launched the Natural Areas Conservation Program with a vision of investing in direct, on-the-ground action to conserve important natural habitat in communities across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) was invited to lead this program with the participation of Ducks Unlimited Canada and land trusts across the country.
The Natural Areas Conservation Program was launched with an initial investment of $225 million over five years. Of that, $185 million was directly invested in NCC’s conservation efforts; $40 million was invested in other qualified organizations (OQO), including $25 million to Ducks Unlimited Canada. In March 2013, the Government of Canada announced its continued commitment to this program, with an additional $20 million in funding.
The Government of Canada’s investment has been matched by Canadians, the private sector and other governments, resulting in more than $600 million in conservation activity through funding contributions and land donations.
Under this program, the Government of Canada has set an ambitious goal of conserving 545,000 acres (218,000 hectares) of ecologically significant land across southern Canada.
On May 15, 2014, the Government of Canada committed to renewing the Natural Areas Conservation Program for another five years, with an additional $100-million investment.
With these investments, nearly 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres) have been conserved as August 2015, providing habitat for 194 species at risk — an area almost twice the size of the goal set under the Natural Areas Conservation Program.
Funding for Other Qualified Organizations (OQOs)
Up to $5 million of funding from the Natural Areas Conservation Plan is available to support conservation in communities across Canada. This funding is administered by NCC. NCC is pleased to announce the first round (2015-2016) of the OQO Program, designed to support eligible land trusts across Canada secure ecologically significant areas.