Partnership is at the heart of each of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) many remarkable successes. Today – thanks in part to partnerships with leading corporations – NCC continues to extend its protection of habitat on land and in water for the many species that rely on these places.
“Our core mission is all about partnering with people and communities to make great things happen,” says Kyria Knibb, NCC’s manager of corporate partnerships and major gifts. “And we’re a charity, so donations from individuals, foundations and companies are what enable us to accomplish our mission.”
In addition to helping protect ecologically significant habitats, partnering with NCC provides an opportunity for companies to give back to the communities in which they operate, through conservation initiatives with which employees and customers feel proud to be a part, says Ms. Knibb.
An example currently underway is NCC’s partnership with the RBC Blue Water Project, an RBC Foundation initiative committed to protecting freshwater resources around the world.
In Manitoba, the partnership is advancing the understanding of water quality and flow on a property in the tall grass prairie region, says Cary Hamel, the conservation science manager for NCC’s Manitoba Region. “It is providing important data that will allow us to be even more effective in restoring wetlands in this region while continuing to support the local farming economy.”
Under this project, NCC staff will test a novel restoration technique that will improve wetland health but also maintain agricultural access to the property. “Essentially, rather than simply remove a laneway that is impeding the flow of near-surface groundwater, we are testing the installation of tile drainage under the laneway in the hopes that natural flow will be restored and that the property will continue to be available to our agricultural partners,” says Mr. Hamel.
Coca-Cola Canada has also recently joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s list of corporate partners, supporting a water stewardship project in Alberta’s Bow River watershed. The watershed, which provides drinking water to more than one million Calgarians, has been degraded by habitat loss, resulting in a decline in water quality and changes in river flows.
The partnership focuses on restoring stream banks to reduce water run-off as well as on mapping efforts that will inform NCC’s future land management actions. It has already contributed to the restoration of wetlands and stream banks in the area. These early efforts will add a total of over 80 million litres of annual water replenishment to the watershed.
“Increasingly, and probably not surprisingly, we’ve learned that as we conserve nature – especially water and wetlands – we’re also helping to conserve the human environment,” Mr. Hamel stresses. “People also depend on clean water and on the ecosystem services wetlands provide, such as the abatement of flooding.”