Established in 2004, the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) program facilitates active participation by Indigenous communities in the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). It invests in organizational capacity, encourages activities that conserve and/or recover species at risk (SAR), and supports community-led documentation and management of Indigenous Knowledge (IK).
The objectives of the AFSAR aquatic program are to:
- Promote the conservation and recovery of aquatic SAR and their habitats; and
- Support the engagement and participation of Indigenous Peoples in SAR stewardship and implementation of SARA.
The national priorities for the AFSAR aquatic program focus on the following:
- Implementation of priority activities described in federal recovery strategies, action plans or management plans;
- Implementation of multi-species and multi-partner projects within important habitat areas;
- Activities that seek to monitor, mitigate or respond to threats described in federal SAR recovery documents and species assessments (COSEWIC);
- Community-led capacity development, including the documentation and management of Indigenous Knowledge (IK).
- Funding is variable and dependent on project activities. In an effort to promote collaboration and multi-year projects, the minimum funding request suggested for new single and multi-year projects is $10,000.
Proposed projects should demonstrate how they align with the objectives of the AFSAR program. Further, the proposal should describe, through its own objectives, activities and anticipated outcomes, how it will achieve one or more of the following results:
- Habitat for species at risk is improved and/or managed to meet their recovery needs;
- Threats to species at risk and/or their habitat are stopped, removed and/or mitigated;
- Collaboration, information sharing and partnership between Indigenous communities, governments and organizations and other interested parties (e.g. federal/provincial/territorial governments, academia, industry, private sector) is enhanced; and
- Capacity within Indigenous communities, to lead in the stewardship of species at risk and contribute to broader SARA implementation, is strengthened.
- Human Impact Mitigation: Direct intervention, or proactive/preventative activities for SAR under immediate threat from human activity.
- Prevention of habitat damage (aquatic, riparian) as a result of human activity (e.g. educational signage; fences for exclusion of human disturbances);
- Protection, mitigation or prevention of harm to SAR and their habitat as a result of human activity (e.g. physical obstruction, water quality obstruction, etc.);
- Application of modified or new technology to prevent accidental harm (e.g. using modified harvesting methods to reduce incidental take of SAR).
- Habitat Improvement: Enhancing or restoring habitat of SAR; changing land/water management or land/water use practices to benefit SAR and improve habitat quality.
- Restoration, enhancement and/or management of SAR habitat;
- Vegetation planting or removal of exotics/invasive species in the habitat of, in the immediate area of, and for the direct benefit of a known SAR;
- Residence creation (e.g. abalone condos, artificial reefs or spawning areas, etc.);
- Implementation of beneficial management practices or land/water.
- Program Planning and Development: Developing local SAR conservation strategies, land use guidelines/best practices, and planning the implementation of stewardship programs and activities, including engagement strategies for target audiences.
- Development of SAR conservation strategies to improve habitat and reduce threats;
- Planning of stewardship programs and activities, including target audience engagement strategies;
- Compilation and dissemination of resource/land.
- Surveys, Inventories and Monitoring: Activities such as identifying potential sites for habitat restoration; or assessing the presence of a SAR and its habitat in order to target, design and carry out a current (or future) stewardship project.
- Identifying potential sites for habitat restoration; includes mapping and analysis (needed to support SAR stewardship activities);
- Assessing the presence and/or health of SAR through surveying and/or monitoring;
- Creation and/or maintenance of inventories or databases for habitat and species data.
- Project and Program Evaluation: Assess the social and biological results and effectiveness of stewardship activities.
- Conducting project assessment(s) and/or evaluating results;
- Preparing final results and related reporting for dissemination.
- Indigenous Knowledge (IK) – Documentation, Management and Use: Developing and implementing strategies, procedures and/or protocols for community-led documentation, management and use of IK.
- Developing strategies, procedures and/or protocols for documentation and management of IK;
- Documenting IK through surveys and/or interviews focused on SAR and their habitats;
- Compiling, managing and/or storing (e.g. set-up/maintenance of databases);
- Contributing or applying IK to stewardship activities and conservation planning.
- Outreach & Education: Providing information to appropriate target audiences on specific actions to be taken to protect SAR; raising awareness about SAR conservation needs; educating resource users about alternative methods that minimize impacts on SAR and their habitat; promoting stewardship at the community level to improve attitudes and change behaviour.
- Development of targeted outreach materials emphasizing the importance of SAR and the benefits of action to be undertaken, which will be used to inform and engage community members/youth;
- Training of individuals/community members in stewardship practices/field activities related to SAR;
- Informing and engaging community members/target audiences about their role in SAR recovery.
- Project activities under AFSAR may take place in freshwater and marine areas across Canada including those within federal lands, Indigenous lands, provincial Crown lands or private lands, provided the proposed activities have a direct benefit to aquatic species at risk and adhere to other program eligibilities.
- Indigenous communities and organizations located in Canada are eligible for funding. Furthermore, a partner organization (Indigenous or non-Indigenous) may submit an application on behalf of one or more Indigenous communities or organizations providing a letter of support from the community clearly indicates that the submitting organization has been formally mandated to do so.
- Eligible recipients include the following:
- Indigenous Communities / Bands / Settlements;
- Indigenous Associations / Organizations / Societies;
- District Councils / Chiefs’ Councils / Tribal Councils;
- Indigenous Fisheries Commissions / Councils / Authorities / Boards;
- Indigenous Economic Institutions / Organizations / Corporations / Co-operatives;
- Partnerships or aggregations of Indigenous groups;
- Service providers mandated to work with Indigenous organizations, as determined by DFO.
For more information, visit https://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/sara-lep/afsar-faep/proposal-proposition/index-eng.html