MANITOBA RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR PROTECTING NATURAL AREAS
– – – Private Conservation Lands to be Included in Protected Areas Network: Mackintosh
The province continues to make great strides to set aside protected areas in Manitoba and has received the national 2012 Gold Leaf Award from the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas (CCEA) for ensuring the protection of private conservation lands, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said today.
“We have become national leaders in successfully protecting private conservation lands from industrial development,” said Mackintosh. “I’m thrilled our work through the Protected Areas Initiative program has received this national recognition.”
Manitoba worked jointly with three conservation agencies to include some of their lands in the protected areas network. Conservation lands owned and managed by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Nature Manitoba are now included in the network.
“The DUC lands enrolled into the protected areas network were purchased and restored with funding from the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and are managed for the benefit of waterfowl, other wildlife and people,” said Greg Bruce, head, industry and government relations, Ducks Unlimited Canada. “We are pleased to work with the Manitoba government to enable the designation of these conservation lands through the Protected Areas Initiative program.”
Working together, Manitoba and the three conservation agencies are ensuring the conservation lands in the protected areas network meet the province’s standard of protection, said Mackintosh.
“We are very pleased to work in partnership with the provincial government to protect irreplaceable habitat, and the plants and animals these natural areas support,” said Michael Paterson, co-chair, Nature Conservancy of Canada -Manitoba. “Our science-based approach to land securement and stewardship ensures that NCC properties conserved in the protected areas network support Manitoba’s high standards for protection of lands.”
To date, a total of 10,200 hectares of private land forms part of the province’s protected areas network. The ecologically significant habitats these private conservation lands support are essential to maintaining biodiversity in developed parts of Manitoba, said the minister. They support many rare and at-risk species including species listed under Manitoba’s Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.
“Nature Manitoba was happy to work with the Manitoba government to assure the protection of the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve,” said Marilyn Latta, chair, habitat conservation committee, Nature Manitoba. “This will ensure generations to come may enjoy these last remnants of the grasslands that originally covered large parts of the province.”
The CCEA is a national, not-for-profit organization that works to help Canadians establish and manage a comprehensive network of protected areas. The organization’s Gold Leaf Award recognizes noteworthy contributions and achievements, outstanding initiative and excellence in planning, protecting and managing ecological areas.
In addition, the Manitoba Chapter of the Wildlife Society presented its 2012 Conservation Award to the Protected Areas Initiative program for outstanding work in the field of conservation.
“Balancing the need to protect sensitive and important lands with the needs of development is difficult work,” said Erin McCance, past president, the Wildlife Society. “All Manitobans will benefit from the province’s efforts to protect these areas both now and in the years to come.”