The Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC) is celebrating 25 years of stewardship, conserving land treasures across the escarpment in Ontario.
The non-profit group, that began with nine reserves and 600 acres of protected land in 1996, has grown to more than 20,000 acres that are home to many species at risk and in danger of extinction, along with many fauna and flora.
What began as the original Niagara Escarpment concept now includes land trusts of forests and watersheds through to Manitoulin Island and the shores of Lake Huron. EBC’s main program is land conservation. In 2020, the organization spent $396,000 on programs and received $8.2million in donated land and easements.
“Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy uses two main approaches to conserve land: conservation agreements and land donations. It negotiates conservation agreements with landowners, which allow owners to create a list of restrictions on human uses of their property. EBC then takes responsibility for protecting the land and issues a tax receipt for an agreed-upon portion of the land’s market value. EBC also accepts land donations and severances, whereby owners transfer their land to a nature reserve held by the charity as either a donation or a discounted sale. EBC states that it typically offers tax receipts worth 60% to 97% of the value of a sale. The total value of its approximate 200 nature reserves is almost $30million.”
Recently, the EBC received word that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) offered a contribution agreement of $500,000 to match $500,000 if raised by the EBC. The matching fund, ‘Wild Futures Project’, will use the monies for the purchase of 12 prospective nature reserves.
“EBC and ECCC are working in partnership to protect species through preserving habitat, protecting forests that increase carbon sequestration, providing flood protection, ensuring water and air purification, and providing mental and physical benefits through protected lands, shorelines and trail systems,” says EBC Executive Director Bob Barnett.