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Natural Infrastructure Fund - Small Projects Stream Applicant Guide

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Natural infrastructure solutions are increasingly seen as win-win investments that enhance traditional grey infrastructure outcomes and deliver valuable co-benefits to communities. Solutions include conventional services, such as naturalized stormwater management, that reduce the impacts of flooding and extreme heat, whilst contributing to cleaner air, cleaner water, and more green space for people and local wildlife.
Budget 2021 announced $200 million over three years to establish the Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) to support natural and hybrid infrastructure projects across Canada. Objectives of the NIF are to:
  • Increase the use and uptake of natural and hybrid infrastructure; and
  • Build community awareness on the value of natural and hybrid infrastructure and the delivery of multiple outcomes.
The NIF is a direct-delivery program that supports communities to implement a range of diverse natural and hybrid infrastructure projects. The Small Projects Stream responds to known demand at the local level for smaller projects. All projects are assessed on the basis that they deliver one or multiple of the following community services:
  • Climate change resilience: Adapting to or transforming to anticipated or experienced climate hazards. E.g., erosion prevention, flood protection, regulating temperature extremes, and activities reducing costs and damages associated with climate hazards.
  • Increased access to nature: Enhancing the quality or quantity of healthy and safe natural systems to connect people to nature. E.g., increased public greenspace, active transportation, and design elements such as signage.
  • Improved environmental quality: Enhancing the efficiency, productivity, and functionality of ecological processes to provide people with healthy environments (e.g., water, air, and soil quality). E.g., stormwater diversion, infiltration or detention, ground water infiltration and replenishment, pre-filtration of water, and wastewater treatment.
  • Enhanced biodiversity and habitat: Reducing fragmentation, loss, or destruction of important habitats and species. E.g., ecological integrity or connectivity, or reduction of alien invasive species and an increase in native species.
  • Climate change mitigation: Increasing the capacity of natural systems and processes to sink and store greenhouse gasses. E.g., carbon sequestration or broader greenhouse gas reductions through energy efficiency benefits.
In addition to the delivery of community services, Applicants must fulfill the Small Projects Stream requirements. This Applicant Guide is for the Small Projects Stream (i.e., projects with eligible costs from $30K to $3M, see Section 4 - Financial Information) and is set up to guide you through the online Application Form, section by section.
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