Ecological Corridor Pilot Program Receives $3.5M contribution from Parks Canada
From Cootes to Escarpment Ecopark System
Government of Canada contributes over $3.5M to Royal Botanical Gardens and their partners in the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System to support the EcoPark System’s collaborative efforts in developing ecological corridors among protected areas and parklands between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario.
Protected and conserved areas play an important role in fighting the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, but to be fully effective, these areas must be connected. Ensuring that our cities and infrastructure allow animals and plants to thrive through well planned and strategically placed ecological corridors is integral to effective nature protection and conservation. Ecological corridors support the uninhibited movement of species between conserved areas, allowing them to interact and find habitat. They also allow other natural processes, like pollination, to occur across the broader landscape and provide opportunities for people and communities to access greenspaces close to home and to co-exist responsibly and sustainably with nature.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, along with Dr. David Galbraith, Head of Science at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Burlington and Hamilton, Ontario, announced over $3.5 million to support Royal Botanical Gardens and their partners in the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Ecological Corridor Pilot Project.
The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is a voluntary alliance among nine government and not-for-profit agencies that collectively protect nearly 2,200 ha of open space and nature sanctuary between Cootes Paradise Marsh, Hamilton Harbour, and the Niagara Escarpment. As a partner of the alliance, Royal Botanical Gardens collaborates to preserve and enhance the natural lands in this important ecological corridor by using sustainable approaches to protect biodiversity, highlight ecosystem services, and enable responsible human connection to nature.
The contribution to the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Ecological Corridors Pilot Project is part of the first initiatives of this kind funded by the Parks Canada National Program for Ecological Corridors, formally launched in 2022. Parks Canada will continue to collaborate with other levels of government and a wide range of partners, experts and stakeholders to develop criteria and map areas where these corridors will have the greatest positive effects for biodiversity conservation in key areas across Canada. This will include working with Indigenous partners to ensure that the program is informed by Indigenous Knowledge and contributes to reconciliation through support for Indigenous-led stewardship.
Parks Canada’s National Program for Ecological Corridors is supported by the historic $2.3 billion investment in Canada’s natural legacy announced in Budget 2021. This program will accelerate action to reduce biodiversity loss, protect ecosystems and help Canada adapt to climate change.
“The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is a voluntary alliance of regional agencies protecting one of Canada’s richest areas for biodiversity. 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.”
Chief Executive Officer
Royal Botanical Gardens
- Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada, a National Historic Site, and registered charitable organization with a mandate to bring together people, plants and nature. RBG is serving as the lead organization on behalf of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, for the purposes of the pilot project funded by Parks Canada.
- The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is a collaboration among nine government and not-for-profit agencies that collectively protect nearly 2,200 ha of open space and nature sanctuary between Cootes Paradise Marsh, Hamilton Harbour, and the Niagara Escarpment.
- Parks Canada
- Parks Canada National Program for Ecological Corridors
- Ecological connectivity at Parks Canada
- Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund
- Rouge National Urban Park
- Science and Conservation at Parks Canada
- Royal Botanical Gardens
- Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System
- Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative
- Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
- Nature Conservancy of Canada
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Coordinator, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System
905-527-1158, ext 225
Parks Canada Agency
Conservation at RBG
It is our mandate and challenge to protect these lands as an ecological legacy for future generations by balancing the needs of wildlife with more than +400,000 visitors who walk our trails each year.
RBG’s conservation efforts occur in forest, wetland and prairie habitats and range from species at risk inventories to invasive alien species management.