Land Trusts Conservation Fund

Coming soon: launch of Small Grant program for Year 1

The Government of Canada is investing $100 million over four years in the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP), from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2023, as part of Budget 2018’s Nature Legacy initiative.

The Natural Heritage Conservation Program focuses on two objectives:

  • The program must contribute at least 200,000 hectares to the terrestrial element of Target 1 of Canada’s 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets. Target 1 aims to conserve at least 17 percent of land and fresh water and 10 percent of marine and coastal areas in Canada, by 2020; and,
  • The program must also contribute to the protection of habitat for the recovery of species listed under the Species at Risk Act. This goal will be accomplished through the securement of ecologically sensitive lands, ensuring the protection of ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat by expanding corridors to various spaces, including national parks, national wildlife areas, and migratory bird sanctuaries.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada and a variety of regional and local land trusts represented by the Canadian Land Trust Working Group are working together under the Natural Heritage Conservation Program to support these goals.

Wildlife Habitat Canada is providing grant administration services for the Land Trusts Conservation Fund, which is a component of the Natural Heritage Conservation Program. The Land Trusts Conservation Fund will provide approximately $4.5 million annually over four years to support Canadian land trusts in securing private lands and private interests in lands.

Eligible projects will be required to demonstrate a minimum 2 : 1 in match funding; that is, $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.

Applicants

Project Eligibility

The deadline to apply for Year 1 funding (Large Grants) under the Land Trusts Conservation Fund has passed.

Coming soon: launch of Small Grant program for Year 1, for eligible projects with closing dates between April 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. Eligible project expenses will be those that have been incurred in the same fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) as the associated NHCP-LTCF program round (Year 1).

Please note: the deadline for finalizing project deliverables and submitting all final documentation will be February 3, 2020.

Due to the timing around the launch of the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) and funds allocated to land securement projects that can close by the end of 2019, Year 1 will have a very short window with a uniquely condensed grant completion timeline.

Years 2 through 4 of the Land Trusts Conservation Fund will provide more time.

General rules and regulations
To be eligible to apply to the Land Trusts Conservation Program (LTCF), applicants must meet all the criteria below:
  1. Applicants must be a Canadian Land Trust
    (A Canadian Land Trust is defined as a not-for-profit conservation organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by acquiring land or Conservation Agreements (or assisting with their acquisition) and/or stewarding/managing land or Conservation Agreements)

     

  2. Applicants must be a registered Canadian charity; and,
  3. Applicants must have adopted (by Board resolution) and be in compliance or working towards substantial compliance with the Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices (2019).*

*The Canadian Land Trust Standards & Practices were revised in January 2019 and land trusts will be in a transition phase while adopting new practices. Land trusts’ Boards are expected to adopt a resolution no later than the end of Year 2 of this program to be eligible for funding. Resolutions are expected to be filed with the appropriate Alliance, if applicable, and on-file with the land trust for review by Wildlife Habitat Canada, upon request.

A project is defined as a parcel or grouping of parcels:
  • sharing the same conservation objectives (see below);
  • clearly contributing to Canada Target 1 (i.e., can be counted as Protected Areas or Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures); and,
  • that may consist of either conservation agreements or fee simple acquisition or a combination thereof.

Shared and mutually beneficial conservation objectives may include:

  • Where parcels occur in a cluster, connectivity/continuity of protected lands, providing increased ecosystem integrity and risk mitigation for climate change or as key wildlife corridors;
  • Where parcels are more geographically dispersed, intact habitat for a particular species-at-risk or protection of rare ecosystem types, priority habitats or protection of key stopover points on migratory pathways.

Land trusts will be expected to commit to the protection of an agreed upon acreage regardless of the number of landowners or parcels.

Multiple ownership:  A parcel or a group of parcels may share up to 2 individual landowners.

Any proposed project with more than 2 individual landowners will be considered on a case by case basis, and must provide a clear rationale as to why multiple ownership is essential to the successful completion of the project. Only projects that have demonstrated sufficient rationale will be eligible, and will be subject to an additional risk assessment by WHC. The additional assessment will include consideration of the likelihood of securing all parcels, if applicable, within the proposed timeline with available resources.

Please Note: Projects with more than 2 landowners that are approved for funding under the NHCP-LTCF will be required to provide additional interim reporting and status updates upon request from WHC. 

It is important to note that consideration of multiple ownership under the NHCP-LTCF program exists to support land trusts in cases where securing lands with multiple ownership is required for the viability of the project.

Grant Review Criteria

All large grant applications (funding request greater than $20,000) will undergo a review process by Wildlife Habitat Canada and an evaluation by an External Review Panel.

Wildlife Habitat Canada will review large grant applications in the following areas:

  • Project and applicant eligibility;
  • Project duration and completion date;
  • Match requirement;
  • Hectares;
  • Risk of incompletion.

The External Review Panel will evaluate and score large grant applications in the following areas:

  • Conservation and biodiversity significance;
  • Connectivity and/ or adjacency to other conservation lands;
  • Project resiliency;
  • Conservation co-benefits.

The External Review Panel will meet to discuss project applications and put forth funding recommendations to Wildlife Habitat Canada. Wildlife Habitat Canada will review funding recommendations and select priority projects that meet the requirements and targets of the program, which will be presented to the Nature Conservancy of Canada for final funding decision.

All applicants will be notified as to the funding decision for their application. Successful applicants will receive a funding agreement from the Nature Conservancy of Canada for signature.

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Coming soon: launch of Small Grant program

All small grant applications (funding requests of $20,000 or less) will be reviewed by Wildlife Habitat Canada in the following areas:

  • Project and applicant eligibility;
  • Project duration and completion date;
  • Match requirement;
  • Hectares;
  • Risk of incompletion.

Applications are reviewed and considered in time-stamp order. Eligible projects that meet the requirements of the program will be presented to the Nature Conservancy of Canada for final funding decision.

All applicants will be notified as to the funding decision for their application. Successful applicants will receive a funding agreement for the Nature Conservancy of Canada for signature.

Funding Guidelines
  • Project implementation must comply with all relevant legislation, regulations, licenses, permits, etc.
  • Year 1 projects must have a closing date between April 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. If approved, LTCF funds must be spent on eligible project expenses incurred within the 2019-2020 fiscal year (April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020).
  • The LTCF is a matching funds program, with a required match ratio of a minimum 2 : 1. This means that for every $1 of Program funds awarded, a minimum of $2 of matching funds from other non-federal government or private sources must also be contributed.
  • Cash contribution to a separate, newly acquired, non-government, stewardship endowment fund for the long-term stewardship of the lands. Stewardship endowment fund amount is project specific, see the appropriate Guidelines, Appendices and Glossary for more information.
  • Required Stewardship Endowment Contribution for Each Project: Projects funded under the NHCP-LTCF require a cash contribution to a stewardship endowment fund for the long-term stewardship of the lands. The amount of stewardship endowment required under the NHCP-LTCF is outlined in the guidelines.

Grant Categories

The Land Trusts Conservation Fund (LTCF) has two categories of funding:

  • Large Grant Projects
  • Small Grant Projects (coming soon: launch of Small Grant program)

Projects cannot be submitted to both the large and small grant programs for funding consideration.

The following applies to both categories of funding:

  • The acquisition of fee simple lands or Conservation Agreements are eligible project types under the NHCP-LTCF.
  • Purchases, donations and split receipts are all eligible transaction types under the NHCP-LTCF.
LARGE GRANTS

Applicants are permitted to submit one project per Application Form between $20,001 and $1,000,000.  Applicants may choose to submit up to three large project Application Forms (projects) for a total ask of $1,000,000 including a single project for $1,000,000 per round; this would require three separate Application Forms be submitted, one per proposed project.

Required Stewardship Endowment Contribution for Each Project: The amount of stewardship endowment required under the NHCP-LTCF is outlined in the guidelines.

Project Audit: Successful applicants must have a financial audit completed on the project by an external Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). A copy of the audit must be received by WHC no later than February 3, 2020 5:00pm (EST).

Reimbursement of audit costs: Successful applicants must provide a realistic project audit estimate to WHC within one-month of funding approval. Common audit pricing on land acquisition projects is normally in the range of $500 to $6,000; however, successful applicants will only be reimbursed for the amount noted on the third party audit invoice.  For audit costs above $6,000.00, WHC may, at its discretion, cap the amount provided for reimbursement.

SMALL GRANTS

Coming soon: launch of Small Grant program

Applicants are only permitted to submit one project per Application Form with a funding request of between $2,000 and $20,000; however, Applicants can apply for multiple projects but funding will be approved in time stamped order, with consideration that a land trust’s first eligible application will be approved but subsequent funding will only be approved once all eligible land trusts have received funding for at least one project. Then, if funding is still available, the second eligible project per land trust (in time stamped order) will be funded until all applicant land trusts have received funding for two eligible projects, and so on, until all program funds have been allocated.

Required Stewardship Endowment Contribution for Each Project: The amount of stewardship endowment required under the NHCP-LTCF is outlined in the guidelines.

Project Audit/Financial Check: Successful applicants must provide WHC with all necessary financial back up documents, along with a completed Financial Reporting Template, to execute any possible financial project audit or financial check by internal WHC staff or an external Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). A Financial Reporting Template will be provided to successful applicants to streamline the collection of this information. 

All required financial documentation must be received by WHC no later than February 3, 2020 at 5:00pm (EST).

Application Process

To submit an application, all applicants must have read, acknowledge and agree with the requirements of the program Guidelines, Appendices and Glossary for their respective category (large or small grants).

Successful proponents are expected to enter into a signed agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada regarding the exchange of funds. All applicants are expected to review the draft Funding Agreement prior to preparing and submitting an application.

Dates and Deadlines
  • Deadline for Applications: October 11, 2019
  • Project Dates: April 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019 (closing)
Large grant applications
  • Reviewed by WHC and External Review Panel: mid-October
  • Decision letters to applicants: end of October / early November
Small grant applications
  • Reviewed by WHC: as received and based on time-stamp order
  • Confirmation of funding letters to applicants: as processed and no later than end of October / early November
Important Documents

To submit an application, all applicants must have read, acknowledge and agree with the requirements of the program Guidelines, Appendices and Glossary for their respective category (large or small grants).

Reference the following documents prior to preparing and submitting an application:

  1. Funding Agreement Template (2019-2020)
  2. Large Grants – Guidelines, Appendices and Glossary
  3. Small Grants – Guidelines, Appendices and Glossary document (coming soon)
  4. Stewardship Endowment Calculator (Optional)
  5. Guidance for Conservation Planning Framework
Additional program-specific reference documents:

LARGE GRANTS

  1. Evaluation Criteria Table (Applications)
  2. Example of Required Financial Project Audit (Final Reporting)

SMALL GRANTS

  1. Financial Reporting Template (Final Reporting)
Templates
APPLICATION TEMPLATES

The following information must be completed and attached to your application form at the time of submission:

 

REPORTING TEMPLATES

The following information must be completed and provided for final reporting:

LARGE GRANTS

SMALL GRANTS

PREPARE AND SUBMIT YOUR GRANT APPLICATION ONLINE

Grant applications must be prepared and submitted through Wildlife Habitat Canada’s online grant system. Click here to access the logon page.

New users must create a new account to access the system. Please ensure you save your logon details. You can work on your application in stages using this system, save your progress and return at a later date to complete your submission. When you are ready to submit, please do so by clicking the “Submit” button.

If an applicant has applied to previously to NCC’s OQO Program, the same username and password can be used to complete the Application Form.

External Review Panel (Large Grants)

The External Review Panel will be comprised of 3 to 6 advisors from across Canada who have extremely strong knowledge or experience in matters of land conservation and/or grant making in conservation.

Year 1 – External Review Panel composition:

  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Québec
  • Atlantic Canada

External Review Panel members evaluate provided submissions based on a rubric and criteria developed by the CLTWG and WHC.

Capacity Building Services

To support land trusts in successfully engaging with the Land Trusts Conservation Fund (LTCF) and in adopting and complying with the Canadian Land Trusts Standards and Practices 2019, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, the Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia and the Réseau de milieu naturels protégés will work collectively to provide capacity building services.

  • educational programs (e.g., conservation planning and engagement with the LTCF);
  • adherence to Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices 2019;
  • support and feedback in the development of project plans and funding applications. 

If this support is of interest to you and you have not already done so, we encourage you to contact your regional representative directly:

 

 

Questions? Get in touch.

Contact WHC