Government of Canada Invests in Wetlands for Migratory Birds

News release

September 6, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians know that protecting our nature and the wildlife that depend on it is essential to our environment, economy, and health. That is why the Government of Canada is working to double the amount of protected nature in Canada’s lands and oceans.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada will provide $10 million over two years to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which helps protect wetlands and migratory birds, including species at risk.

The Plan is an international partnership that conserves and protects wetland and upland habitats and their waterfowl populations by securing and improving wetlands. Canada is working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Island Nature Trust, and the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation to protect the waterfowl and the places they call home.

The funding will enable partners to implement projects that will secure and restore at least 10,000 hectares of wetlands. These areas include habitats that are of the highest value for migratory birds.

By working with partners across the country to conserve wetlands, we can protect and preserve more of Canada’s nature for future generations.


“Protecting our wetlands is an important part of our commitment to conserve Canada’s nature. By working together with partners to implement the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, we are making progress toward protecting our natural landscapes and the species at risk that depend on them.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is grateful for this important investment in nature. These funds will ensure the protection of some of Canada’s most imperiled habitats for waterfowl and other migratory birds. This partnership is setting a global example of conservation through collaboration and will benefit Canadians for generations to come.”
– John Lounds, President and CEO, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“With this announcement, the federal government is making a significant investment toward achieving the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, one of the most successful conservation programs in the world. Canadians will see many long-term benefits, including more habitat for waterfowl and species at risk, improved water quality, and enhanced carbon sequestration. In addition to supporting the Plan’s goals, this investment is an important step in Canada’s continuing fight against climate change, and Ducks Unlimited Canada looks forward to helping the country reach its goal of protecting 17 percent of Canada, to ensure these areas remain natural.”
– Karla Guyn, CEO, Ducks Unlimited Canada

“The Canada Nature Fund’s North American Waterfowl Management Plan contribution to coastal and riparian wetland protection in the Maritimes is significant. It will support tangible and lasting biodiversity gains on lands held in trust for Canadians by the region’s major land trusts—the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, and Island Nature Trust—who are working collaboratively and strategically to conserve priority habitat for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl.”
– Megan Harris, Executive Director, Island Nature Trust

“The protected wetlands resulting from new federal funding will contribute many environmental benefits, including biological diversity, water quality, flood control, and resilience to climate change impacts.”
– Tim Sopuck, Chief Executive Officer, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation

Quick facts

  • This approved funding is part of the Government’s sustained commitment to invest up to $20 million over four years in North American Waterfowl Management Plan projects.
  • The $500 million Canada Nature Fund, which will fund the implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, is part of Budget 2018’s historic Nature Legacy initiative, which invests $1.3 billion in nature conservation.
  • Federal funding through the Canada Nature Fund is matched by philanthropic foundations, corporate, not-for-profit, provincial, territorial, and other partners.
  • Globally, Canada has 20 percent of freshwater resources, 24 percent of wetlands, 25 percent of temperate rainforest areas, and 33 percent of remaining boreal forests.
  • Since 1986, over $2.5 billion has been invested in wetland conservation in Canada under the auspices of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. This investment has resulted in over 9.2 million hectares of wetlands and associated uplands habitat being conserved in Canada in support of the Plan’s goals.
  • Wetlands cover approximately 13 percent of Canada’s land area and provide numerous ecosystem services including carbon storage.