The Province is interested in investigating innovative funding sources that would provide long-term, stable funding to support conservation of species at risk.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE
The recovery and protection of species and ecosystems at risk requires long-term, stable funding to support activities such as research, monitoring, reporting and stewardship. The Province’s challenge is to provide long-term, stable funding options to meet our conservation goals for species at risk – while at the same time balancing fiscal priorities across all sectors of government.
Conservation projects throughout North America have been supported through a variety of approaches such as trust funds, licence fees for resource users, voluntary initiatives and taxation. Below are a few examples of successful conservation funding programs.
Trust funds are often based on an initial amount of money that is invested which in turn provides annual earnings through the interest and or further contributions. Trust funds can be supported through governments or the private sector.
An example of a non-profit charitable foundation that supports BC conservation projects through the use of a trust fund is the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF). It is funded by a provincially legislated surcharge on hunting and fishing licences. These surcharges are invested to improve habitat conditions for native species, and may also provide benefits to contributors by directly enhancing their opportunities to use and enjoy wildlife and fish resources. Projects funded include on-the-ground conservation projects and environmental education.
It has been shown that voluntary fees work well as a funding source when there is an incentive for people to support the fee.
In Florida, residents can purchase a conservation licence plate for an additional $15 showing that they support conservation efforts in their state. Drivers choose which project they support and receive a specially designed plate for that project, with their fees going directly to their chosen project.
Some jurisdictions allocate income generated from [taxes] towards species at risk projects. Funding can be allocated from general tax revenue (e.g., a fixed annual allocation) or through a subject specific tax that is placed on services (i.e., the allocation varies with use of the service).
The Government of Canada developed the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) as part of its species at risk strategy. The HSP provides approximately $12.7 million a year to projects that both conserve and protect species at risk and their habitats. Similarly, the Government of Ontario has a number of programs that allocate provincial grants for species at risk projects.
Please provide your answers to the following questions:
- Do you have examples of other innovative funding opportunities that have worked well for conservation projects on a stable, long-term basis?
- Of the models presented or of others that you are aware of, which do you prefer and why?