Farmers supporting habitat for species at risk
By Jennifer Paige
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) is pleased to announce that the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) is back for 2019 and 2020.
SARPAL is an Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) initiative that is focused on working with Ontario farmers to support the management and recovery of species at risk on agricultural land.
Through the program, Ontario farmers implement a variety of on-farm Best Management Practices (BMPs) that create and maintain habitat for species at risk (SAR) while helping to sustain farm production and profitability. These species make use of wetlands, field edges, old fencerows, buffer strips, windbreaks, and other grassy areas on farms as habitat, travel corridors and to forage.
“SARPAL has supported producers looking to make improvements on their hay and pasture fields while also enriching farm habitat for species at risk,” said Les Nichols, president of OSCIA. “We are pleased that the program is back to support projects that benefit both farmers and species at risk.”
With up to 65 per cent cost-share to support projects such as planting of trees and shrubs, grassland and wetland restoration, and rotational grazing BMPs, producers can receive funding up to $20,000 per farm business in the 2019 and 2020 program years.
To be eligible for the program, farm businesses must have a valid Premises Identification Number and a 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan and Action Plan verified complete by OSCIA. The SARPAL program is available to landowners province-wide. As part of SARPAL, landowners enter into a Conservation Agreement with ECCC. These agreements will ensure maintenance of funded projects and habitat protection for SAR by producers for the length of the agreement.
Applications for the 2019 program year will be accepted beginning September 5, 2019 and funding will be allocated to eligible projects in the order in which they are received. This first intake will remain open until December 15, 2019 or until funds are fully allocated.
SARPAL funding is limited; if you have a project idea that fits, submit your application as soon as possible. A second intake will open in February of 2020. To learn more or apply, visit the program’s website at https://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/oscia-programs/sarpal/.