NatureServe Canada works closely with its member organizations and other members of the NatureServe network on a variety of projects and initiatives. Below are some examples of key projects and partnerships that demonstrate the collaborative approach to our work.
Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service is an Associate Member organization of NatureServe Canada. Environment Canada provides funding to NatureServe Canada and the network of CDCs through an annual Contribution Agreement. The funding is directed to activities that support the development, management and distribution of biodiversity data and expertise critical to the effective implementation of federal biodiversity programs related to the Species at Risk Act and the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations identifies the importance of coordinated national efforts to ensure the efficient implementation of effective biodiversity conservation programs (e.g., recovery of species at risk, wildlife management).
A key area of collaboration and coordination in recent years relates to the increased efforts by the Canadian Wildlife Service and the NatureServe Canada network towards the General Status program. In October 2013, the Canadian Wildlife Directors Committee (CWDC) approved to harmonize the species assessment processes of the National General Status Working Group (NGSWG) and the NatureServe Canada network. As a result, the NGWSG now uses NatureServe methods in its Wild Species reports and the NGSWG membership has been expanded to include representatives from the NatureServe Canada network of CDCs.
Nature Conservancy of Canada
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is an Associate Member of NatureServe Canada. The NCC was a founding partner in the Canadian network of Conservation Data Centres (CDCs), contributing more than $2 million in start-up funding and promoting the initiative with government agencies, foundations and others interested in the collection and application of sound biodiversity data. Later, partnerships developed between NCC and individual CDCs that assisted in the development of NCC ecoregional assessments (conservation blueprints) across southern Canada.
In recent years, the NCC and the NatureServe Canada network have implemented collaborative projects across Canada that bring together NCC Regional Offices and CDCs in order to acquire and manage biodiversity data. The objectives of these projects are:
- An increase in the depth and breadth of data on the occurrence of species and ecosystems at NCC sites, with a focus on rare species and ecosystems;
- Organization of site-specific data on species and ecosystems at NCC sites; and
- Provision of site-specific and species-specific advice to NCC to advance appropriate site stewardship activities.
The Northern CDC Biodiversity Project (2014-15) is focused specifically on increasing capacity of CDCs in Canada’s territories, in order to increase the availability of comprehensive, accurate and up to date biodiversity data to inform conservation decision-making in Canada’s north.
Parks Canada Agency
The Parks Canada Agency (PCA) is an Associate Member of NatureServe Canada. The Agency has regulatory authority on national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites, and is committed to maintaining their ecological and historical integrity for future generations. PCA’s aim is to maintain viable populations of native species within the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems it manages. To achieve this, Parks Canada recognized the need for a standard system to manage biodiversity information. Parks Canada chose Biotics and Kestrel, the NatureServe network’s biodiversity management systems, to standardize biodiversity tools, data gathering, processing, sharing and access. Through annual contract (since 2003) administered by NatureServe Canada, PCA has played a key role in the funding, development and testing of the Biotics and Kestrel data management platforms.
Contract work involving the CDCs has primarily focused on the development and refinement of Parks Canada observation data into element occurrences. The element occurrence data plays a central role in the Agency’s Detailed Assessment process. A Detailed Assessment is the procedure PCA applies to evaluate and document conservation status of an individual species from a particular protected heritage site. To generate the most accurate assessments, PCA has adapted methods from NatureServe’s standardized methodology for assigning National and Subnational (provincial and territorial) conservation status ranks. Detailed Assessment data inform the Agency’s Species At Risk programs and activities, including decision-making related to inventory work, recovery strategies and plans, and reporting.