June 26, 2006

First 19 funding applications approved for acquisition of natural heritage lands

TORONTO, ONT-Nineteen applications for funding to acquire significant natural heritage lands under Ontario's Natural Spaces Program have been approved by the Ontario Heritage Trust. The 19 approved applications were submitted by a range of conservation partners, including the Bruce Trail Association, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and several conservation authorities and private land trusts. The proposed land acquisitions include over 1,000 hectares (approximately 2,500 acres) of provincially significant natural heritage lands across southern Ontario. The total property value of the proposed land acquisitions is $3.4 million, with half to be funded from the program and half to be matched by the partners. As part of Ontario's Natural Spaces program, the Ministry of Natural Resources granted $6 million to the Ontario Heritage Trust to acquire and secure significant natural heritage properties. The Trust used the funding to establish the Natural Spaces land acquisition and stewardship program. The Natural Spaces program covers all of southern Ontario below the Canadian Shield. While 90% of the land in this area is privately owned, it also harbours the province's greatest diversity of plants and animals.

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