Presentation by Jaime Grimm for the International Association for Great Lakes Research 64th Annual Conference.

Canada has high ambitions to protect much of its lands and waters over the coming decades, and must focus on protecting the right places. Among other values that deserve attention, such as biocultural values and ecosystem services, biodiversity should be a priority for conservation action. The Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) tool is a standardized and globally recognized approach to identifying important areas for a range of biodiversity elements, including species and ecosystems. A multi-sector Canadian initiative to identify and map all KBAs in Canada began in 2019 as part of Pathway to Canada Target 1, building on data and knowledge from governments, academic institutions, conservation organizations and Indigenous partners. To date, we have identified over 200 KBAs across Canada, including a large set of freshwater KBAs recognized for fish, molluscs, plants and insects. KBAs provide a rigorous framework for bringing attention to the places that must be protected and stewarded, through enhanced management, formal protected areas or through other conservation measures.