Information on the Community and Regional Land Trust portion of the new $100 million NHCP
The Canadian Land Trusts Working Group* alongside the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada have been working with the federal government for several years on a new funding model to support private land conservation. The result is the recently announced Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP), which will invest $100 million in private land conservation over the next four years.
A portion of the $100 million will be available to the community and regional land trusts (approximately $4 million per year over four years). A grant program is being developed specifically for land securement that supports the Canada Target 1 objectives. The Canadian Land Trusts Working Group has partnered with Wildlife Habitat Canada to be the delivery agent for the grant program. Wildlife Habitat Canada will be the main point of contact for land trusts once the program has been officially launched.
Grant program details are still being finalized. However, NHCP funding will start this year, with funding allocated to land securement projects that can close by the end of 2019. Year one of the NHCP, therefore, will have a very short window.
The purpose of this information is to give land trusts an overview of the expected grant criteria so that they can start to assess whether they have projects that might qualify for year one and/or year two of the program. We will endeavour to get final grant program details out to the land trust community as soon as possible. Our intention is to have detailed application information out this spring with applications due early summer. Year one will have a uniquely condensed application process and grant completion timeline. Years two through four of the grant program will provide more time. Applications for projects that are to be completed by December of 2020 will likely be requested in September 2019.
Key Grant Program Criteria (subject to the final contribution agreement with ECCC)
- Applicants must be a Canadian land trust that is either a registered Canadian charity, or a prescribed donee (e.g., American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts);
- A project is defined as a parcel or grouping of parcels, sharing the same conservation objectives, that clearly qualify for and contribute to Canada Target 1;
- The acquisition of fee simple lands or conservation agreements are eligible project types – both must qualify as either Protected Areas or Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs);
- The maximum grant amount has not been finalized but it is expected to be significant and greater than the maximum amount permitted under the former Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) Other Qualified Organizations (OQO) program;
- Required matching funds shall be 2:1, i.e. $2 match for every $1 of federal grant money. Match can include donations of land or interests in land, and stewardship funds raised from other sources;
- Almost all project related expenses will be eligible with the exception of stewardship funds – the stewardship amount required for projects has not been finalized but will likely be an option of using a stewardship calculator or a fixed amount.
The selection process for grants will emphasize projects with high ecological value. The NHCP, however, has overall targets for both the number of hectares to be protected, and the matching funds to be raised; the projects chosen each year will collectively need to meet both of these targets. It is the program’s intention to be able to support both large and small hectare projects of high ecological value.
We strongly encourage all land trusts who have 2019 and/or 2020 projects to fill out the short survey below by May 10, 2019. This will help the Canadian Land Trusts Working Group and Wildlife Habitat Canada to better design the new grant program.
If you have more than one project that you would like to include in our survey, please complete the survey individually for each project, submit, and then fill out a new form for the next project.
*The Canadian Land Trusts Working Group is an ad hoc working group with representation from regional and community land trusts from the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and 3 provincial associations (Réseau de milieu naturels protégés, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance and Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia) formed to provide a unified voice for the sector in current discussions with the Federal Government around conservation programs and funding.
If you have questions about the proposed program, please connect with your regional land trust representative from the Canadian Land Trust Working Group, or your provincial alliance.