Feds invest $3.5 million to protect greenspace, wildlife in Burlington, Hamilton, Niagara

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January 26, 2023 at 1:31 pm

royal botanical gardens rbg hamilton burlington Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System niagara lake ontario

The federal government announced Thursday that it’s investing $3.5 million to protect greenspace and wildlife in the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System. This developing greenspace stretches from the western edge of Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment.

Part of a larger Ontario greenspace investment of $8 million, the pilot project will support the Royal Botanical Gardens of Burlington and Hamilton and their partners to protect 2,200 hectares of land and connect wildlife.

Contributions will support habitat restoration work, ecological connectivity, Indigenous communities engagement, and greenspace access.

“The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is a voluntary alliance of regional agencies protecting one of Canada’s richest areas for biodiversity,” said Nancy Rowland, Royal Botanical Gardens CEO. “Royal Botanical Gardens and our EcoPark System partners are pleased to work with Parks Canada and local and Indigenous communities on this pilot program. This support will help us advance the management of ecological corridors that are vital for the survival of hundreds of plant and animal species, many of which are endangered.”

royal botanical gardens rbg hamilton burlington Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System niagara lake ontario

Photo credit: David A. Galbraith/Royal Botanical Gardens

The funding is part of the Government of Canada’s “greatest nature conservation campaign in Canada’s history,” protecting thirty percent of the country’s lands and waters by 2030.

“Guided by science, Indigenous Knowledge and local perspectives, Canada is committed to conserving 25 percent of lands, freshwater, and oceans by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030,” reads an official government statement. “Protected lands help guarantee future generations can enjoy the benefits natural greenspaces provide to their communities.”

The Meadoway to Rouge National Urban Park, Nature Conservancy Canada, and Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative will also receive federal funding under the same project.

“Protecting wildlife and biodiversity is a responsibility we all share. Through proper planning, we can all benefit from the treasured greenspaces near our communities,” said environment minister Steven Guilbeault. “Investing in green infrastructure, like improving the trail network at Rouge National Urban Park, and facilitating access to greenspaces for millions of Canadians close to where they live, work and play, allows people to connect with nature on a deeper level and helps shape the next generation of nature stewards in Canada.”

The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System connects with the Bruce Trail and north to Tobermory and Bruce Peninsula National Park. It is a critical ribbon of green natural spaces and presents a key ecological corridor, connecting wildlife and people across the landscape of southwestern Ontario.

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