Ontario’s badgers will get a helping hand from farmers through the latest program delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). BadgerWay is a new program to support on farm habitat for this species at risk, funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada as part of the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) initiative.
“With only about 200 badgers remaining in the province, farmers have a critical role to play in the creation and conservation of habitat for this species at risk,” said Gord Green, President of OSCIA. A highly nomadic species, the American badger can travel as much as 14 kilometres per day with a home range of hundreds of square kilometres. “In southwestern Ontario, badgers call our farms home. Enriching our farm habitat through programs like BadgerWay is critical to helping badgers and other species at risk,” Green added.
Badgers make use of field edges, old fencerows, buffer strips, windbreaks, and other grassy areas on farms as habitat and travel corridors. The BadgerWay Program offers financial support to farmers in the BadgerWay Eligible Area who wish to implement three Best Management Practices that create new or connect existing farm habitat: tree and shrub planting for windbreaks and buffer strips, establishment of perennial contour cropping or other in-field perennial grass strips, and native grassland restoration.
The BadgerWay Program includes another aspect which is unique to the SARPAL initiative: Conservation Agreements between funded producers and Environment and Climate Change Canada that provide habitat protection for American badger habitat for 5 years. With up to 80% cost-share to support project implementation, the BadgerWay program also offers an additional $25 or $50 per acre of land enrolled to support long-term project maintenance. Producers can access up to $20,000 per farm business through BadgerWay.
Projects initiated on or after April 1, 2016 may be eligible for funding, and the program will remain open until February 15, 2017. To apply, visit the BadgerWay page of the OSCIA website.
Funding for the BadgerWay Program is provided through Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands, an Environment and Climate Change Canada initiative that encourages priority conservation actions to support the conservation of species at risk on agricultural land. BadgerWay is delivered by OSCIA.