First Nations get funds to protect species at risk

October 18, 2009

THE Harper government made more money available for Manitoba First Nations communities to protect species at risk.

The $281,000 funding was announced Thursday in Winnipeg by Charleswood MP Steven Fletcher, minister of state for democratic reform. The money is part of a larger $532,500 commitment for 12 projects in Western Canada.

Included in the funding are several projects being conducted by the Winnipeg-based Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CEIR) and its Manitoba Species At Risk Pathfinder Initiative, CIER executive director Merrell-Ann Phare said.

The Pathfinder project educates First Nations communities about what they can do to protect sensitive wildlife habitat (

Phare said the funding will also to go to protecting species on two Manitoba First Nations.

Work is already beginning to protect the prairie skink, a small lizard, at Swan Lake First Nation and to protect three birds at Sandy Bay First Nation: the red-headed woodpecker, the yellow rail and the least bittern.

The skink and birds are at risk because of loss of habitat due to human encroachment.

Fletcher said $40,500 in funding is also being made available to the Nelson River Sturgeon Co-Management Board. Its objective is to manage the lake sturgeon fishery in the North (

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