Natural Heritage Conservation Program – Land Trusts Conservation Fund – coming soon

The Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a public-private partnership designed to advance privately protected areas in some of the country’s most cherished landscapes. Being launched with a $100 million investment from the Government of Canada, the program will be administered by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, with contributions from partners Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trusts. Wildlife Habitat Canada will provide grant administration services for the Land Trusts Conservation Fund, through which approximately $4 million per year over four years will be available to Canadian land trusts.

The purpose of this information is to provide land trusts with an overview of the new proposed Land Trusts Conservation Fund (LTCF), in preparation for a call for grant proposals that is coming soon.

Grant program details are still being finalized; however, the LTCF will start this year, with funding allocated to land securement projects that can close by the end of December 2019. Year 1 of the LTCF, therefore, will have a very short window.   

Program details outlined here are draft and will be subject to the requirements and completion of the final Contribution Agreement between the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

 

PROGRAM OVERVIEW:
Eligibility Requirements

This funding will support the protection of Canada’s ecosystems, landscapes and biodiversity, including species at risk.

Canadian land trusts that are also a registered Canadian charity will be eligible to apply for funds.

All projects must contribute towards achieving Pathway to Canada Target 1. Eligibility for the LTCF focuses on specific activities required to increase the total percentage of Canada’s land and inland waters under protected area status or other effective conservation management. Specifically:

  • An increase in NEW area of land and inland waters in Canada that can be counted towards the achievement of Target 1 of Canada’s 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets. To be considered for funding, a project must demonstrate an increase in the area of land and/or inland waters in Canada that will be recognized as protected or conserved for the long term.
  • An increase in the quality of Canadian areas conserved. In addition to quantity (number of hectares placed under protection), proposals will be assessed with respect to quality (protection of conservation values, including priority species and habitats, contribution to ecosystem services, addressing gaps in the existing protected area network).

A project is defined as a parcel or grouping of parcels, sharing the same conservation objectives that clearly contribute to Canada Target 1 (i.e., can be counted as Protected Areas or Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures). The group of parcels in a project application may consist of either conservation agreements (CAs) or fee simple acquisition or a combination thereof; final project definition will be subject to the Contribution Agreement terms.

Only priority projects determined through a documented conservation planning process will be eligible under the NHCP-LTCF.

Projects must have a minimum 2:1 match, i.e. $2 match for every $1 of LTCF grant money. Match can include donations of land or interests in land, and stewardship endowment funds raised from other non-federal sources. Projects requesting a large grant (defined below) that have greater than a 2:1 match may be considered more favourably in the project selection process.

The LTCF aims to fund securements totalling at least 2,500 ha in Year 1.

Stewardship and stewardship endowment funds are not eligible expenses under the program. The stewardship endowment amount required for projects has not been finalized but will likely be determined through the use of a stewardship calculator or based on a fixed amount assigned by grant value.

 

Timing

Year 1 of the program will be launched soon. For Year 1, land trusts with securements that close after April 1, 2019 and before December 31, 2019 are eligible to apply.

It is expected that Year 2 of the program will launch in the Fall of 2019, which will provide substantially more time for projects occurring in the next fiscal year.

 

Types of projects

Two project types will be eligible for support:

  • Large grants ($20,001 to $1M): Competitive process. Large grant applications will be reviewed by Wildlife Habitat Canada for compliance with program requirements. Eligible applications will be assessed by an External Review Panel, comprised of knowledgeable land trust experts from across Canada, with scores assigned based on a transparent set of established criteria.
  • Small grants ($2,000 to $20,000): Time-stamped order (first come, first served basis). Small grant applications will be reviewed by Wildlife Habitat Canada for compliance with program requirements. Eligible applications will be approved based on a first come, first served basis. To maximize the number of land trusts supported, the first eligible application from each land trust will be funded before second or third projects from a land trust are supported.

All applications will be submitted through an on-line grant portal.

 

Program details outlined here are draft and will be subject to the requirements and completion of the final Contribution Agreement between the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

 

More details will be shared as soon as the Contribution Agreement with Environment and Climate Change Canada has been signed and the program details are confirmed.