Celebrating Earth Day - Habitat Heritage gets $2.8M

Local conservation district to support agriculture and habitat

For Earth Day, The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) is announcing $2.8 million in new grants to 23 projects delivered by 20 Manitoba-based conservation groups.

This includes $750,000 delivered by Assiniboine West Watershed District (AWWD) program: Recognizing Ecological Services from Farms and Ranches. Manager Ryan Canart explains that the process included off-site watering systems, seeding sensitive areas to perennials, exclusion fencing, and paying landowners not to drain wetlands.

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“These funds provide new opportunities to improve land, water, wildlife and soil conservation across the province,” said Tim Sopuck chief executive officer of Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.

Through this program, the beneficial ecological services from farms and ranches will be enhanced in AWWD. This work will engage and train landowners to conserve, enhance or restore 563 acres of wetlands, enhance or restore 650 acres of uplands, and conserve 250 acres of riparian areas. It will also protect downstream infrastructure and combat drought by creating retention structures capable of retaining 200 acre-ft of water.

The revenue source for these projects is the Province of Manitoba’s recent $204 million in contributions to endowments at The Winnipeg Foundation that are dedicated to land, water and wildlife conservation.

“The major investments made by Manitoba continue to bear fruit for new conservation projects that will help to make our landscape more resilient to the impacts of climate change in the future,” said Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development Blaine Pedersen.

With the establishment of the Conservation Trust, the GROW Trust and the Wetlands GROW Trust, Manitoba created new and permanent revenue sources for conservation activities in Manitoba. The Trusts focus on conservation and restoration of natural areas in the rural landscape for a number of conservation purposes: addressing floods and droughts, water quality, wildlife habitat and biological diversity, carbon sequestration and improving Manitoba citizens’ connection to nature.

Projects supported include:

•             $240,000 to the Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association to conserve wetlands and develop grasslands and forages on surrounding croplands to improve soil health, water and nutrient capture and wildlife habitat

•             $300,000 to the Association of Manitoba Community Pastures to improve grassland health and biological diversity at Community Pastures throughout Manitoba

•             $86,000 to the Delta Waterfowl Foundation to conserve wetlands and enhance waterfowl production

•             $50,000 Seven Oaks School Division -Ozhaawashkwaa Animikii-Bineshi Aki Onji Kinimaagae' Inun (Blue Thunderbird Land-based Teachings Learning Centre or Aki Centre) to support Indigenous tall-grass prairie establishment

The $2.8 million in Trust funds is being matched by $6.4 million in funds and services by the groups, which will result in $9.2 million of conservation activity in Manitoba.

“An additional $6.2 million dedicated to watershed-based conservation projects is available to be awarded in June, bringing total grant funding available from the trusts to $9.0 million in 2021,” said Sopuck.

Since inception of the Trusts, beginning in 2018, a total of $12.5.0 million has been committed to 107 conservation projects delivered by 45 Manitoba-based groups.

MHHC was established in 1986 as a provincial Crown Corporation to conserve fish and wildlife habitat in the Manitoba. It recently transitioned out of government and is now a private, not-for-profit charitable organization. Visit www.mhhc.mb.ca.

For more details regarding funded projects see https://www.mhhc.mb.ca/funded-projects/

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