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Call for Proposals for 2021-2022: Habitat Stewardship Program for Aquatic Species at Risk

Call for Proposals for 2021-2022: Habitat Stewardship Program for Aquatic Species at Risk
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Under the Nature Legacy initiative, announced in Budget 2018, the Government of Canada is transforming its approach to species at risk conservation and recovery by shifting to ecosystem-based, multispecies initiatives. This approach includes providing funding towards the protection and recovery of aquatic and terrestrial species at riskFootnote 1. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is responsible for aquatic species at risk and supports recovery of these species through various programs, including the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP).

The HSP, established in 2000, provides funding for projects submitted by Canadians that contribute directly to the recovery of species at risk. To ensure the HSP is able to achieve its mandate to "contribute to the recovery of endangered, threatened, and other species at risk by engaging Canadians from all walks of life in conservation actions to benefit wildlife”, DFO routinely reviews the program to best address emerging priorities related to aquatic species at risk across Canada.

HSP has two platforms for funding:

This Call for Proposals applies only to aquatic species at risk projects. For information on funding for terrestrial species at risk, please contact Environment and Climate Change Canada.


Objective, expected results and national priorities

The objective of the HSP for Aquatic Species at Risk is to support and promote the conservation and recovery of Aquatic Species at Risk and their habitats by engaging Canadians in projects that will result in tangible and measurable conservation benefits.

Proposed projects must demonstrate how they align with the objective of the HSP. Further, the proposal must describe through its own objectives, activities and anticipated outcomes, how it will achieve one or more of the expected results:

The national priorities for the 2021-2022 HSP are projects that focus on the implementation of:

Regional priorities

In addition to the national priorities, each region has identified specific priorities that support the national priorities. These include target areas, species and/or threats (Appendix 1). The majority of aquatic funds will go to projects that address at least one of these regional priorities.

For more information

Thank you for your interest in the recovery of species at risk. We wish you the best in your application!

Appendix 1: Regional priorities

Appendix 1: Regional priorities
Region Species Areas Threats
Newfoundland and Labrador

Wolffish Species

SARA-Listed Sea Turtle Species

SARA-Listed Large Whale Species (Blue Whale, Fin Whale, North Atlantic Right Whale)

Atlantic Salmon

American Eel

Fisheries Interactions (i.e. bycatch, entanglements)

Vessel Interactions (i.e. ship strikes, acoustic disturbances)

Pollution and Pathogens

Habitat Alteration

Migration Barriers


Atlantic Salmon (Inner Bay of Fundy population)

Atlantic Whitefish

SARA-listed Sea Turtle Species

North Atlantic Right Whale

Lake Utopia Rainbow Smelt


Habitat alteration and degradation

Invasive and introduced species

Fishery interactions (includes entanglement and bycatch)

Interactions with vessels and vehicles

Acoustic disturbance


Atlantic Salmon

Brook Floater

Wolffish species

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Whale species (North Atlantic Right Whale, Blue Whale, Fin Whale)

Interactions with Vessels and Vehicles

Acoustic Disturbances

Fishery Interactions: Bycatch and Entanglement

Habitat Alteration and Degradation

Invasive and Introduced Species


Whales present in the St. Lawrence (Beluga, Right Whale, Blue Whale)

Eastern Sand Darter

Copper Redhorse


Anadromous and catadromous species of the St. Lawrence (Atlantic Salmon and American eel)

The St. Lawrence River watershed

Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence


Disturbance associated with commercial, tourist or pleasure navigation (e.g., noise, collision, wave action and spill)

Bycatch and pressures from sport fishing and fishing for food purposes

Degradation and loss of freshwater habitat (e.g., seagrass destruction, soil compaction, erosion, shoreline and riverbank alteration)

Deterioration of water quality

Invasive alien species affecting aquatic species at risk

Ontario and Prairie

Redside Dace

Pugnose Shiner

Pugnose Minnow

Lake Sturgeon

Black Redhorse

Lake St. Clair & contributing watersheds

Lake Erie & contributing watersheds

Lake Ontario & contributing watersheds

Lake Huron & contributing watersheds

Lakes & contributing watersheds of Upper (western) St. Lawrence River

Sediment/nutrient, contaminant loading

Habitat destruction/ alteration

Altered flows, water levels, or coastal process

Barriers to fish passage

Recreational impacts on aquatic SAR

Ontario and Prairie(Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta)

Bigmouth Buffalo

Lake Sturgeon

Southern Prairie Species (Western Silvery Minnow, Rocky Mountain Sculpin, Plains Sucker)

Native Trout (Athabasca Rainbow, Westslope Cutthroat, Bull)

Mapleleaf Mussel

Peace/Slave River Basin

North and South Saskatchewan River basin

Southern Prairie Region (Milk River, St. Mary’s River, Qu’Appelle River)

Winnipeg/Red/Assiniboine River Basin

East Slopes Rocky Mountains

Habitat loss and degradation

Impacts from introduced/non-introduced species

Disease and pathogens

Restrictions to fish passage

Barriers to movement

Arctic (Northwest Territories and Nunavut)

Dolly Varden (Western Arctic)

Beluga (Cumberland Sound)

Bowhead Whale (Eastern Arctic/West Greenland)


Beluga (Hudson Bay)

Foxe Basin

Hudson Bay/Hudson Strait

Mackenzie River tributaries/Peel River System

Cumberland Sound

All Nunavut waters

Unsustainable harvest

Unknown effects of predators

Lack of information on isolated Dolly Varden populations

Struck and loss of marine mammals

Impacts from introduced/non-introduced species


Killer Whales (all populations)


White Sturgeon

Fraser River Salmonids (populations assessed as at risk by COSEWIC)

Northern Abalone

Cowichan Lake watershed

Fraser River watershed

Columbia River watershed

Salish Sea

North Coast

Fisheries interactions (including incidental/bycatch, catch and release fishery impacts, entanglements, illegal harvest, prey availability or unsustainable directed harvest)

Physical and acoustic disturbance

Habitat degradation and fragmentation (aquatic and riparian)

Cumulative effects (including anthropogenic contributions to climate change)

Aquatic invasive and problematic native species (e.g. competition and/or predation)

Appendix 2: Regional coordinators


Telephone: TBD


Josette Maillet
Telephone: 506-851-2237


Lisa Paon
Telephone: 902-483-5495

Newfoundland and Labrador

Lynette Mulley
Telephone: 709-330-7993

Ontario and Prairie

Telephone: TBD


Michelle Cho
Telephone: 236-330-4291


Jocelyne Ouellet
Telephone: 418-775-0582
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