Over the years, Environment Canada’s Ecosystem Initiatives have responded to the unique problems of targeted areas and communities by considering environmental, economic, and social concerns.
Ecosystem Initiatives help Canadians achieve environmental results through partnerships, pooling resources, focusing science, coordinating efforts, sharing information and experiences, and generating a broad basis of support. Moreover, they help build the capacity of all the players involved to make better decisions and to effect change.
Environment Canada works with a broad spectrum of partners to achieve environmental results and sustainable development including: other federal departments, provinces and territories, regional, municipal and local governments, Aboriginal Peoples, businesses, non-governmental organizations and academia.
Environment Canada has been engaged over a number of years in:
- the Great Lakes Program
- the St. Lawrence Action Plan
- the Atlantic Ecosystem Initiatives (including the Atlantic Coastal Action Program)
- the Georgia Basin (including the Georgia Basin Action Plan)
As part of the Action Plan for Clean Water, the following programs were established in 2008:
- the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative
- the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund
Environment Canada also either led or collaborated on the following programs:
The Western Boreal Conservation Initiative was in place from 2003 to 2008. With a partnership-based approach, this initiative facilitated conservation and protection of Canada's western boreal forest ecosystems and its biodiversity, and supported the sustainable development of natural resources. Results of the initiative are detailed in Western Boreal Conservation Initiative 2003-2008: Towards the Conservation of Canada’s Boreal Forest.
The Northern Ecosystem Initiative ran from 1998 to 2008. It was a national, pan-northern program based on a common, unifying vision, goals and objectives while being flexible and responsive to differing regional needs. This initiative was created to increase the understanding of northern ecosystems and to identify and respond to issues at the local and regional levels. The results of the initiative are detailed in Northern Ecosystem Initiative (NEI): Building Capacity and Delivering Results.
The Northern Rivers Ecosystem Initiative was in place from 1998 to 2003. The investigative and reporting mandate of this initiative was derived from the Canada Alberta Northwest Territories Response to the Northern River Basins Study Report to the Ministers. In their response the governments committed to ongoing and improving control of water pollution in the northern river basins, to maintaining the integrity of ecosystems, and to facilitating the participation of all stakeholders in their protection. More details are provided in the report Northern Rivers Ecosystem Initiative 1998-2003 - Key findings.
The Fraser River Action Plan (FRAP) was completed in March 1998. It included actions to protect wild bird habitat, reduce the release of toxics such as wood preservatives and promote the implementation of best management practices and pollution prevention plans in business and industry sectors. Following the end of FRAP, the Fraser Basin Council, was established to promote a balance between social, economic and environmental well-being within the Fraser Basin.
The Northern River Basins Study (1992-1996) was designed to address the ecological concerns about pulp mill expansion and to increase scientific knowledge about conditions in the Peace, Athabasca and Slave Rivers. This $12 million study was jointly sponsored by the governments of Canada, Alberta and the Northwest Territories and the objectives were to gather and interpret sound scientific information about the basins, develop appropriate recommendations for basin management, and communicate effectively with the public.
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