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Wood Turtle Strides

Financial incentives to make farms wood turtle friendly

Wood turtles are a medium-sized turtle that live in aquatic and terrestrial habitat near rivers and streams. There are only 2000-8000 wood turtles left in Nova Scotia and unfortunately, their populations are declining. For this reason, wood turtles are a Species At Risk (SAR) and are listed as ‘Threatened’ provincially and federally.

Wood turtles make use of farmland, especially hayfields because their natural habitat is similar in many ways. The pursuit of food like worms and berries can draw wood turtles into the fields. Wood turtles may also find sandy and gravelly areas that are good for nesting and laying their eggs. Unfortunately, farms can be dangerous for wood turtles; when hay is cut, mowers and tractor tires can kill and injure turtles. Nesting sites can also be disturbed by livestock or covered with crops which will result in unsuccessful nests.

Implementing Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) can help reduce wood turtle mortality and ensure that they exist in Nova Scotia long into the future.

Incentives are available up to $15 000 per farm business to help you implement Beneficial Management Practices. We have tried our best to eliminate red tape and to get you paid faster — up front.

SARPAL

Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Land

Wood Turtle Strides is a Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Land (SARPAL) program. SARPAL is an initiative of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) that is focused on working with farmers to support Species At Risk and their critical habitat on farms. In Nova Scotia, Wood Turtle Strides is administered by the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA) and currently incentivizes actions that support wood turtles and their habitats by helping to cover costs associated with the implementation of Beneficial Management Practices.

Wood Turtle Strides is a pilot program with enrollment continuing until through March 2018, but participating farms may be eligible for funds beyond this timeframe as part of a Conservation Agreement. Check with the NSFA and the Wood Turtle Strides manager for more details and updates.

Conservation Agreements and Implementation Plans

Agreements and plans on your terms. Voluntary and flexible.

Through discussion and compromise, we can help develop a plan that works for your farm. Conservation Agreements are legal documents between farmers and the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture agreeing to a Best Management Practice Implementation Plan for a given time period — usually five years. BMP Implementation Plans never contain anything that is not developed in partnership with farmers. Once signed, funding can be provided.

To obtain a copy of a sample Conservation Agreement contact Wood Turtle Strides project manager, Simon Greenland-Smith at sgreenlandsmith@nsfa-fane.ca  or 902-402-9545.

Am I Eligible?

In order to apply for Wood Turtle Strides funding

1

Own actively farmed land in Nova Scotia, as demonstrated by:

  • a) Own actively farmed land in Nova Scotia, as demonstrated by: membership in the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, or;
  • b) managing property assessed as farm in the provincial tax bill
2

Have a completed Environmental Farm Plan (EFP), within the last five years

3

Have valid Premises Identification Number (PID) for a farm property containing, or nearby wood turtle critical habitat as defined by the proposed area in the Wood Turtle Recovery Strategy. To determine whether your property is eligible contact Simon Greenland-Smith at 902-402-9545

How much funding could I receive?

What to expect from Wood Turtle Strides.

Available funds from Wood Turtle Strides are capped at $15 000 per farm business; however, there is no limit to the number of farms that can participate. The total amount of funding is limited though. Most agreements last for five years and farmers will receive incentives for all five years up front in year one.

Farmers that wish to withdraw from the agreement are free to do so, however, they will be responsible for paying back a portion of the funds paid equal to the portion remaining in the agreement. Farms are eligible for fixed incentives and cost-sharing from 50% to 100% depending on the beneficial management practice and the conservation priority of your farm.

Steps to participating

Six simple steps to get you paid

1

Contact project manager, Simon Greenland-Smith by email at sgreenlandsmith@nsfa-fane.ca or phone (902-402-9545) to see if your properties are eligible. Please include all PID’s that you would like considered for eligibility.

2

Work with the project manager to determine which Beneficial Management Practices (see below) will work for you and your farm. No practices will be forced upon you and participation is voluntary. This may involve a farm visit from the program manager.

3

Develop a Beneficial Management Practice Implementation Plan to establish which incentives and cost-sharing you will be eligible for.

4

Complete Conservation Agreement to set the terms between payer and payee. This is a legal document for the mutual protection of the NSFA and farmers like you.

5

Submit your claim for eligible incentives to the NSFA.

6

Receive project funding up front from NSFA and maintain projects for the length of the agreement — usually five years.

Beneficial Management Practices

See what BMP’s suit your farm and your family

Beneficial Management Practices are great ways to help make your farm more wood turtle friendly. For farmland beside wood turtle critical habitat, financial incentives are available to help farmers start and sustain Beneficial Management Practices that help wood turtles and their habitats. Financial incentives are designed to make BMPs more attractive to farmers and limit the financial impact associated with starting a new practice.

Establishment and expansion of riparian buffer areas

Farmers who establish and sustain riparian buffers are eligible for incentives of up to $185 per hectare ($75/acre) per year to a maximum width of 50m (164 feet). Incentives are available for buffer expansions in 10m increments (e.g. 10m, 20m, 30m...).

Limiting livestock access to streams

Farmers can receive funds as part of a cost-sharing agreement for fencing costs at 75% up to $6.25 per meter of permanent fencing inclusive of all material and labour costs.

Raising mower blades

Farmers that raise mower blades to a height of 150mm (about 6 inches) are eligible for incentive of $30 per hectare for the first cut of hay and $15 per hectare on subsequent cuts. If 150mm is not possible, farmers are encouraged to raise their blades to at least the height of a wood turtle (87mm).

Delaying first cut of hay

Farmers can receive payments of $20 per hectare for delaying the first cut until after July 15th. Additional support is available for feed testing and supplemental feed which may be required to boost protein content and nutrients for pregnant and lactating cows.

Mowing avoidance

Financial incentives of $185 per hectare per year are available for farmers interested in retiring land within wood turtle critical habitat from haying activities.

Land swapping

Land swaps are an important part of Wood Turtle Strides. If swapping land contributes to the implementation of BMP for wood turtles while also supporting continued agricultural production on non-priority lands for wood turtles; that is a win-win. Funds will be used to incentivize BMPs as described above for landowners engaging in land swaps.

Interested?

complete our form below

or contact directly

Simon Greenland-Smith, Program Director
902 402 9545
sgreenlandsmith@nsfa-fane.ca

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