Atlantic Ecosystem Initiatives

The Atlantic Ecosystem Initiatives (AEI) encompasses ecosystems located in all four Atlantic Provinces. The Atlantic Region of Environment Canada is the first in the country to actively begin the integration of an ecosystem-based approach to environmental management in all our business lines.

An ecosystem-based approach to environmental management considers all aspects of an ecosystem – air, water, plants, animals, humans and their interactions – when addressing critical environmental issues. This approach also takes into account the social and economic factors relevant to ecosystem health and recovery.  This is commonly referred to as a systems approach and research proves this to be a very effective means for achieving meaningful, positive environmental impacts.

The ecosystem-based approach to environmental management continues to evolve in the Atlantic Region. To better focus resources and to produce greater impact, three geographic areas were identified in 2010 for intervention: the Northumberland Strait, the Bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine and the Halifax coastal zone. In addition, Environment Canada will work with provincial and federal partners in 2010 and 2011 to identify ecosystems and issues outside these geographic boundaries most in need of attention and intervention.

An important aspect of this evolution is the Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP), the funding component of the AEI. Eighteen organizations throughout the Atlantic Region receive funding under ACAP. Funding is based on a competitive proposal and application process that requires ACAP organizations to meet a specific set of criteria.

The 2011 Call for Proposals was issued on November 9, 2010. The submission deadline is December 15, 2010.

For more information on the Atlantic Ecosystems Initiative please contact the Ecosystems and Sustainable Communities Office of Environment Canada at or consult our main publications.