Satellite Data an Integral Part of 2030 Nature Strategy

Canada 2030 Nature Strategy. Image credit: Government of Canada/Environment And Climate Change Canada.

A new comprehensive 2030 Nature Strategy was announced last Thursday, June 13, 2024 by Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change (ECCC), and satellite data will play an integral part.

Alongside the announcement of the 2030 Nature Strategy was the introduction of the Nature Accountability Act, Bill C-73, described as “An Act respecting transparency and accountability in relation to certain commitments Canada has made under the Convention on Biological Diversity.”

According to the government the strategy “lays out how Canada will implement the ambitious nature protection goals under the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework that were agreed upon at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal, in December 2022. This strategy defines clear areas of action and identifies what more is needed to build on the range of existing initiatives underway across Canada.”

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) along with many other government departments and agencies will work in cooperation with the department of Environment and Climate Change. The 2030 Nature Strategy outlines several areas of action that will include use of satellite data.

The 2030 Nature Strategy includes 23 targets and implementation plans. Of those, six targets include the need of satellite data. They include.

Target 1: Spatial Planning and Effective Management

  • Area of Action: Collecting, reporting, and developing environmental data and information.

DFO (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), NRCan (Natural Resources Canada), ECCC, AAFC (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), and CSA collect and/or report on environmental data to measure land- and sea-use change and support biodiversity-inclusive decision making and reporting. Examples include the State of Canada’s Oceans and State of Canada’s Forests report, the Canada Marine Planning Atlas, the Canadian Extreme Water Level Adaptation Tool, land use and land-use change mapping, satellite-based land cover monitoring,Canadian Terrestrial Ecological Framework, national inventories for grasslands and forests, the National Deforestation Monitoring System, and the RADARSAT Constellation Mission.

Target 4: Species Recovery

  • Area of Action: Delivering human-wildlife co-existence programming

The CSA, with support from industry, academic, and government partners, will keep using satellite data to protect wildlife, through its smartEarth program (e.g., smartWhales initiative).

Target 7: Pollution and Biodiversity

  • Area of Action: Chemicals

The Integrated Satellite Tracking of Pollution (ISTOP) Program, operated by ECCC together with TC (Transport Canada), uses RADARSAT Constellation Mission data to detect and report on oil pollution in Canadian waters. This is part of an ongoing effort to minimize or eliminate coastal water pollution, which adversely affects marine birds, mammals, and their ecosystems.

Target 8: Climate Change and Biodiversity

  • Area of Action: Advancing science and knowledge

The CSA, ECCC, and NRCan are working together to launch the WildFireSat mission in 2029, which will monitor all active wildfires in Canada from space in real-time. This new information will increase Canada’s ability to manage wildfires nationwide, thus helping to reduce habitat destruction and minimize harm to biodiversity.

Target 14: Mainstreaming of Biodiversity Values

  • Area of Action: Working with others to promote biodiversity awareness, integration, and mainstreaming

The CSA, PSPC, and the Montreal Port Authority are collaborating on the smartHarbour initiative, which aims to develop solutions using Earth observation to mitigate the potential environmental impacts of the future Port of Montreal expansion project. Solutions seek to leverage satellite data to monitor variables of key biodiversity relevance, such as water quality, state of aquatic grass beds, wetlands, and terrestrial vegetation.

Target 21: Knowledge Sharing

  • Area of Action: Collecting and publishing data and information

CSA, ECCC, NRCan, and other federal partners continue to advance Canada’s Satellite Earth Observation (SEO) Strategy, recognizing the contributions of SEO data to national priorities like biodiversity conservation.

The 2030 Nature Strategy

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and Executive Vice President, Content of SpaceNews. Boucher has 25+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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