Each year, Ontario invests in stewardship and research projects through the Species at Risk Stewardship Program. This program helps protect and recover plants and animals that are at risk.

The Species at Risk Stewardship Program was created under the Endangered Species Act to encourage people and organizations to get involved in protecting and recovering species at risk and their habitats through stewardship activities. It’s part of Ontario’s track record of strong environmental stewardship, preserving the rich biodiversity of our province for future generations.

The program objectives include:

  • improving the status of species at risk and their habitats by supporting stewardship and recovery actions
  • supporting stewardship and multi-partner approaches to species at risk protection and recovery
  • supporting community outreach and other tools and techniques to inspire and enable people to become involved in species at risk stewardship
  • supporting scientific research to help address important needs and knowledge gaps related to the protection, recovery and management of species at risk and their habitats

Who can apply

The fund is open to individuals and groups across Ontario, including:

  • academic institutions
  • businesses
  • consulting companies
  • Indigenous communities/organizations
  • individuals
  • industry organizations
  • landowners and farmers
  • municipal and local governments
  • non-government organizations

To be eligible for consideration, stewardship or research projects must benefit species listed as extirpated, endangered, threatened or special concern on the Species at Risk in Ontario list.

You can find more information, including eligibility requirements and annual funding priorities, in the 2023-24 Species at Risk Stewardship Program Guidelines.

How to apply

We are not currently accepting applications for the Species at Risk Stewardship Program.

Current projects

The following is a list of new and ongoing (multi-year) projects being supported by the Species at Risk Stewardship Program in 2023-2024.

8Trees Inc.

Mitigating drainage impacts on the Wainfleet Bog for the purpose of managing species at risk habitat

ALUS Canada

  • Supporting grassland species at risk on agricultural lands in Ontario
  • ALUS Species at Risk Stewardship 2023 — targeted habitat stewardship in riparian and riverine ecosystems in Southern Ontario and Greater Toronto Area

Birds Canada

Tackling priority research and stewardship actions for Eastern Whip-poor-will in Southern Ontario

Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario

Collaborating with farmers and agricultural organizations to implement stewardship for grassland birds

Blazing Star Environmental

  • Measuring detection probability and occupancy of Spiny Softshell to inform development of a new monitoring protocol
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of threat mitigation, best management practices, and recovery approaches of species at risk reptiles in Ontario

Canadian Chestnut Council

Mitigating the effects of the invasive fungus (Chestnut Blight) on the restoration of American Chestnut by breeding tolerance

Canadian Wildlife Federation

  • Roost habitat characteristics of the Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis — investigating bat box microclimate through citizen science
  • Increasing habitat protection and improving reproductive success of Blanding's Turtles in Eastern Ontario

Carleton University

  • Investigating abundance and summer habitat requirements of Eastern Small-footed Myotis to support species recovery
  • Maximizing recruitment and identifying cryptic threats to at-risk turtles

City of Brampton

Habitat restoration for Snapping Turtles at Loafers Lake

City of Kingston

Turtle Crossing Mitigation Measures — installing turtle crossing mitigation measures, including road-side exclusion fencing, with the goal of preserving and protecting turtle populations through reduced road mortality


Mitigating turtle and other wildlife mortality along a high traffic road within a provincially significant wetland

Federation of Ontario Naturalists

  • Prescribed burns as a management tool to restore rare vegetation communities and species at risk habitat on Stone Road Alvar
  • Blue Racer conservation on Pelee Island to support habitat restoration, threat mitigation and local engagement

Forest Gene Conservation Association

Building the foundation for Black Ash recovery in Ontario through targeted outreach to find remnant and potentially resistant Black Ash tree individuals using University of Toronto's Vegetative Sampling Protocol database and modeling work

Friends of Pinery Park

Evaluating Little Brown Myotis habitat characteristics using roost preference and movement patterns to guide habitat restoration, improve artificial roost design and raise awareness through stewardship

Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve Inc.

Evaluating the effectiveness of an innovative road mitigation design for Massasauga Rattlesnake and Blanding's Turtle in the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere region

Huron Stewardship Council

Species at risk turtle recovery through collaborative action and habitat improvement — monitoring populations and furthering habitat creating and improvement

Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group

Lambton Shores Coastal Wetland Restoration and Enhancement — Wood Drive — Three Year Plan

Natural Resource Solutions Inc.

Identifying maternity habitat for species at risk bats in Southern Ontario

Nature Conservancy of Canada

  • Restoration and management of grassland habitats supporting species at risk in the Southern Norfolk Sand Plain Natural Area
  • Habitat stewardship and threat reduction for species at risk in the Carden Alvar and Napanee Plain
  • Habitat improvement for forest species at risk by restoring a breeding pond and removing invasive species in the Happy Valley Forest
  • Managing invasive species in species at risk habitat and assessing Emerald Ash Borer in Blue Ash stands on Pelee Island

Nature Metrics North America Ltd.

Adapted sampling protocol of snakes using artificial covers to attract, survey and detect the DNA of at-risk snakes

North-South Environmental Inc.

Development and implementation of a standardized survey protocol for Branched Bartonia and characterization of microhabitat conditions

Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust

Ontario Kirtland's Warbler Recovery Project to facilitate breeding habitat expansion

Ontario Land Trust Alliance

Conserving Species at Risk Program — enhancing capacity for land trusts to protect and recover species at risk in Ontario

Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program that provides financial and educational support to agricultural landowners for completing habitat creation, enhancement and protection best management practices to support species at risk

Ontario Streams

  • Redside Dace Habitat Rehabilitation initiative to restore degraded Redside Dace habitat by implementing restoration techniques to reduce sediment input into streams, connect fish habitat and engage community members in stewardship activities
  • Jefferson Salamander Habitat Rehabilitation and Monitoring Project

Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

Direct mitigation of threats to at-risk turtles through rehabilitation, education, rearing turtle eggs and juveniles in captivity, field studies, research, disease monitoring and data-sharing

Shawanaga First Nation

Creating a management plan for railway tunnel underpasses — mitigation and rehabilitation to benefit bat species and bat hibernacula

St. Williams Conservation Reserve Community Council

  • Restoring the savanna ecosystem, reducing direct threats and filling key knowledge gaps to advance the recovery of multiple species at risk at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve
  • Restoring habitat, reducing direct threats, filling key knowledge gaps, and engaging the community to improve the status of multiple species at risk at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve

Tallgrass Ontario

Surveys for Butler's Gartersnake and Purple Twayblade and habitat restoration at the Ojibway Prairie Complex, Windsor, Ontario

The Land Between

Implementing priority mitigation infrastructure to reduce road mortality for turtles at risk. Support for Indigenous inclusion in recovery of species at risk, related to the American Eel

Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Club

Thunder Bay Gray Fox Project: documenting the distribution of Gray Fox in the Thunder Bay Judicial District

Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy

  • Collecting acoustic bat data through community science to understand distribution and activity of endangered bats in Southern Ontario
  • Post-release monitoring of head-started Blanding’s Turtles, reared at the Toronto Zoo
  • Indigenous Youth Guardians Camp and Summit for Species at Risk — a land-based learning overnight camp and summit to encourage Indigenous youth to lead species recovery projects in their home territories

Trees for Life

Improving the recovery and protection of at-risk tree species, including Butternut, through urban plantings in Ontario municipalities

Trent University

Determining population targets and site quality for self-sustaining populations of Small-mouthed Salamander and Unisexual Ambystoma on Pelee Island

University of Toronto

Development of standardized survey protocols and monitoring programs for species-at-risk riverine dragonflies

Wildlife Preservation Trust Canada

  • Monitoring species at risk bumble bees in southern Ontario: assessing changes to diversity and abundance over the last 50 years and engaging community scientists
  • Butler's Gartersnake Recovery Project for Windsor-Essex County to protect, enhance and connect habitat
  • Ojibway Prairie Reptile Recovery Program: Overcoming knowledge gaps along the journey to recovering Canada's only tallgrass prairie Massasaugas