NEW MARYLAND, N.B. -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a national conservation plan intended to conserve and restore lands and waters.

The plan will allocate $252 million over the next five years for projects across the country and about $100 million of that will go to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to secure ecologically sensitive lands.

"As we respond to the conservation challenges of today, we believe it's important that all Canadians, urban and suburban as well as rural, share the vision and the experience of a healthy environment," Harper said while in the village of New Maryland, N.B., near Fredericton.

"Our national conservation plan will therefore support initiatives to make it easier for urban Canadians to connect with nature and it is our hope that as they enjoy, appreciate and understand this great land just as their forebears did, they will be drawn to work together for its conservation."

Harper said the plan also complements proposed 2020 biodiversity goals and targets.

The federal Conservatives promised during the 2011 election campaign to establish a national conservation plan.