Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR)
- The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk
- Program Goals and Expected Results
- Who can apply to AFSAR?
- Species at Risk Funding Programs Brochure
- How to Apply and Program Contacts
The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk
The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR), established in 2004-2005, supports the development of Indigenous capacity to participate actively in the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The protection of species at risk in Canada depends upon a meaningful collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and organizations. The Act recognizes the important role that Aboriginal Peoples play in wildlife conservation and the need to consider Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) in the assessment of which species may be at risk, as well as in the development and implementation of protection and recovery measures. Additionally, AFSAR supports projects that will proactively prevent species, other than species at risk, from becoming a conservation concern. The AFSAR program allocates approximately $3 million a year to projects on Indigenous lands and waters.
Funding under AFSAR is separated into two streams:
- The AFSAR Species at Risk Stream focuses on projects addressing the recovery of species at risk listed on Schedule 1 of SARA; and
- The AFSAR Prevention Stream focuses on projects addressing other species, beyond those listed on SARA, to prevent them from becoming a conservation concern.
AFSAR is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada and co-managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency with the support of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the guidance of National Indigenous organizations. AFSAR is one of the three main federal funding programs that focus on the protection and recovery of species at risk. The two other funds are the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, and the Interdepartmental Recovery Fund.
The AFSAR Species at Risk Stream helps Indigenous organizations and communities across Canada build capacity to enable them to participate actively in the conservation and recovery of species protected under SARA. Capacity building includes skill development (education, training, learning), tool development (systems or mechanisms), and information management (data) to enable Indigenous organizations and communities to acquire, develop, and use knowledge and skills so that they can play an active role in the implementation of SARA. Capacity building projects could occur on or outside reserves. The program also supports projects that protect and recover species at risk and their habitats on Indigenous lands. Habitat protection can take place across Canada on reserves, lands set apart for the use and benefit of Aboriginal Peoples under the Indian Act or the Constitution Act, other lands directly controlled by Indigenous Peoples, lands and waters where traditional activities are carried out and on federal waters.
AFSAR also works to keep healthy species healthy. While the Species at Risk Stream supports the recovery of species at risk and their habitats, the Prevention Stream fosters stewardship projects aimed at preventing other species from becoming a conservation concern. Under this latter stream, all species not listed under SARA are eligible and national/regional priorities are identified annually.
To guide the effective use of limited resources, national and regional planning partners establish the overall priorities annually, and then specific projects are developed. Activities that respond to regional priorities are regionally reviewed and recommended for funding in the following six regions: Pacific, Prairie, Northern, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic. Review committees represent the three responsible departments, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada as well as Indigenous, provincial, territorial, conservation and other stakeholder interests.
Since its inception in 2004-05, AFSAR has supported Indigenous involvement in the conservation and recovery of species at risk across the country. Between 2004 and the end of March 2015, AFSAR invested over $29.4 million in 790 Species at Risk projects. The projects involved more than 200 communities, and benefited more than 280 species that are listed under SARA, through increased Indigenous awareness of species at risk and through the development of strategies, guidelines and practices, or the completion of monitoring, surveying and inventorying studies. Additionally, during its first year of operation, the Prevention Stream invested more than $635,000 in 23 conservation projects.
Program Goals and Expected Results
Protecting aquatic and terrestrial habitat and contributing to the recovery of species at risk, as well as preventing other species from becoming a conservation concern, are AFSAR's main goals.
The Species at Risk Stream focuses on results in four main areas:
- Strengthen capacity in Indigenous communities for SARA implementation.
- Mitigate threats to species at risk, be they individuals or populations.
- Protect, improve or manage critical and important habitatFootnote 1 of species at risk.
- Document and conserve Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge on species at risk and, where appropriate, help with their use in the development of recovery objectives.
The Prevention Stream focuses on the same results as the Species at Risk Stream but with a focus on species beyond those listed on Schedule 1 of SARA.
In addition to the above expected program results, the program requires a minimum of 1 : 0.20 leveraging on funds that it invests so that, for every $1 provided by AFSAR, at least $0.20 is raised by project recipients. This leveraging can take in the form of either financial or in-kind resources (equipment loans, donations of building materials and volunteer labour). Partner funding and other support broaden the scope of projects, improve on-the-ground results, and strengthen the public and private collaboration that is essential to involving all Canadians in stewardship activities for all species.
Who can apply to AFSAR?
Communities and organizations actively involved in the management of Indigenous lands and waters across Canada are eligible for funding, including:
- Indigenous associations/organizations
- Territorially based Indigenous groups
- District councils / Chief and council
- Traditional appointed advisory committees
- Indigenous corporations
- Tribal councils
- Indigenous partnerships and groups
- Indigenous school authorities
- Indigenous cultural education centres
- Indigenous land/resource management authorities
- Indigenous co-operatives
- Indigenous societies
- Indigenous boards and commissions, and
- Other organizations (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) if mandated by eligible recipients.
How to Apply and Program Contacts
Information on procedures to follow in order to apply to AFSAR is available through regional offices listed below.
For general Environment and Climate Change Canada or Canadian Wildlife Service inquiries, please contact 1-800-668-6767 or send an email. For general Department of Fisheries and Oceans inquiries, please contact DFO by email.
The annual call for proposals takes place in the fall.
Regional contacts for general administration of projects and technical support on terrestrial species.
Regional contacts for general administration of projects and technical support on aquatic species.
- Footnote 1
The program defines “important habitat” for the SAR Stream as habitat that is considered as candidate for Critical Habitat or habitat that is important for the species but that is not actually identified in a recovery strategy/action plan/management plan. For the Prevention Stream, the program defines “important habitat” as habitat that is important for the species’ “conservation”.
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