The Alberta government recognized Earth Day April 22 by announcing $15 million to be available annually, over the next five years, for public and private land conservation projects.
The funds were allocated in the recent budget and will support the Land Trust Grant Program and the Land Purchase Program, according to an Alberta Environment news release.
The two programs are used to promote voluntary conservation of private land and to buy land the province considers to be of high conservation value.
Earlier this year, six different land trusts were granted $5.89 million for 22 different projects. They will help conserve more than 13,300 acres of land, said the release.
Land trusts use the money to buy easements or undertake stewardship projects.
The Southern Alberta Land Trust Society (SALTS) was the recipient of four grants totaling $744,000.
“The Land Trust Grant Program has been a game changer for private land conservation in Alberta,” said SALTS executive director Justin Thompson.
“In only four years, it has helped our organization preserve more than 2,000 hectares, or seven square miles, of Alberta’s most ecologically significant privately owned land.”
Other grant recipient organizations and the amounts received:
Alberta Conservation Association – $348,225
Alberta Fish & Game Association – $22,975
Ducks Unlimited Canada – $200,098
Nature Conservancy of Canada – $3.8 million
Western Sky Land Trust – $765,100
To qualify for grants, organizations must “align with the overall conservation goals of Alberta Environment and Parks.”
Those include retaining native landscapes, fostering biodiversity and providing at least two-thirds of final funding for their projects.