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News Release

Government of Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada conserve valuable habitat near Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

WINNIPEG, Man. -- January 26, 2011 -- Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, on behalf of Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent, today announced the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s successful acquisition of four conservation easements on properties near Riding Mountain National Park in southwest Manitoba. These projects were secured in part with funding from Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and have an overall budget of $167,749. These easements add to the 50 properties previously secured by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in the Riding Mountain Aspen Parkland.

“Conservation easements are a valuable tool for landowners who wish to conserve in perpetuity certain portions of their lands,” said MP Robert Sopuck. “Conservation easements, implemented on a limited basis, have been shown to fit well with the local agricultural economy.”

“This acquisition marks another achievement under our government’s Natural Areas Conservation Program. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations,” said Minister Kent. “Your actions today will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that will constitute an integral part of our natural heritage tomorrow.”

The Bonners, who live south of Riding Mountain National Park, are part of a vibrant, self-reliant community who are very aware of the value of conservation and the necessity to conserve the environmental values of the local countryside.

“We wanted to ensure that our beautiful and pristine property, with its two spruce bogs, and diversity of wildlife, would remain as it is in perpetuity,” said Mike and Gail Bonner. “It is very important to us as local landowners that our property have conservation as the main goal with no alterations or subdivision permitted, in perpetuity.”

The properties secured by the Nature Conservancy of Canada on behalf of Canadians represent pieces of one of the last remaining ecologically functioning landscapes in prairie Canada. The properties are comprised of a mixture of forest and grasslands that together provide an additional 800 acres of valuable habitat. The Riding Mountain Aspen Parkland is home to many of Manitoba’s large mammals including the Riding Mountain gray wolf, elk, moose, American black bear and cougar. The quaking aspen and white spruce forest stands provide valuable habitat for many species of grassland birds, such as the waterfowl.

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is working hard to protect some of the last natural cover in the area around Riding Mountain National Park. By protecting irreplaceable habitat and the plants and animals that it supports, we can ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy its natural beauty,” said Ursula Goeres, Manitoba Regional Vice President, Nature Conservancy of Canada.

The Government of Canada’s $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program is an important on-the-ground initiative that takes real action to preserve Canada’s environment and conserve its precious natural heritage for present and future generations. It is through the ongoing contribution from all donors that we can ensure the protection of natural areas in Canada. As of July 2010, under the Natural Areas Conservation Program 142,236 hectares (351,384 acres) have been conserved, protecting habitat for 101 different species at risk.

Related document:

Natural Areas Conservation Program
[Backgrounder - 2011-01-26]

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