Nature Trust adds missing puzzle piece to a Cape Breton wilderness area

Baddeck River Lands Adds to Nature Trust’s Historic Land Campaign

[Baddeck, NS]—A 130-acre gift of Cape Breton land to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust protects old growth forests, habitat for endangered wildlife, and ensures the future of a major provincial Wilderness Area. The achievement is part of an extraordinary Nature Trust land conservation campaign. Through matching fund commitments, every dollar raised by March 31 brings four more dollars to save land, up to 3,000 acres, across the province.

The Baddeck River land protects ecologically rich and important old-growth hardwood forests, pristine river shoreline and habitat for endangered wildlife such as Canada Lynx and Pine Marten. The conservation benefits extend beyond the property as well – as an inholding of private land within the 6,800 acre Baddeck River Wilderness Area, the property is like a missing piece in a puzzle. Without protection, the property could have been developed opening the wilderness to roads, invasive species, clearcutting, and other threats.

Its protection eliminates these threats and ensures an intact corridor for wildlife between the highlands and the river valley. This vast, unbroken wilderness with old growth forests is essential for wildlife like lynx, bears, owls and woodpeckers.

Irene and the late Ernest Forbes, the land donors, are delighted their treasured lands will be protected, forever. Many Nova Scotian families have strong, multi-generational connections to their land, and worry about what will happen to their special place after they’re gone. Will it be sold, subdivided or cleared?  Will the beautiful woods or pristine lakeshores be destroyed, and opportunities to enjoy these wild places lost?

The late Ernest Forbes did not want that to happen to his treasured lands on the Baddeck River. The lovely old hardwood forests and the wild river had been perfect for Ernest, a hunter and angler.

“Ernest loved that piece of land,” said Irene of her husband, who passed away in 2015. “It was good for his soul. It made him happy. He wanted other people to enjoy it as much as he did. That’s why we have donated the land to the Nature Trust. They can ensure the property remains in its natural state, forever.”

This conservation achievement is part of national efforts to address the growing crisis of biodiversity loss across Canada and beyond. The government of Canada has recently committed to protecting 17% of Canada by 2020 and made a historic $1.3 billion investment to ensure that goal is reached.

To build momentum for this national effort, the Government chose key conservation leaders across the country, including the Nature Trust, to deliver quick wins for biodiversity—significant, immediate land conservation gains. The Nature Trust launched an ambitious, landmark conservation drive, the Lasting Landscapes Campaign that aims to protect as many as 15 new conservation sites encompassing over 3,000 acres of Nova Scotia’s natural areas, in just a few months. The campaign will protect as much land as the organization conserved in its first 13 years of conservation.

The Honorable Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for the Sydney-Victoria riding where the lands are located, welcomed the news of the new protected lands. “Being from a rural community, I recognize the importance of maintaining our forests and wildlife. I commend the Forbes family for setting aside the 130-acre inholding to be protected, and I commend the Nova Scotia Nature Trust as the caretakers of this property and others across the province,” noted Mr Eyking.

By supporting the Nature Trust’s Campaign, other citizens can be a part of protecting Canada’s biodiversity too. Through matching funds from the Nature Fund and the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, every dollar donated by March 31, 2019, leverages another four dollars to save the land.

To meet matching fund requirements, and leverage over three million dollars for conservation, the Nature Trust must not only secure a record number of conservation sites by March 31 but must also raise another $750,000 in public support.  To date, Nova Scotians have stepped up with $600,000.

Bonnie Sutherland, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust noted, “It’s an incredible, unprecedented opportunity for individual Nova Scotians to make a big difference for nature. With this 4 to 1 match, a $100 donation means $500 to save the land.  A $1000 donation means $5000 to protect the places we love!”

Charitable donations can be made at nsnt.ca or by phone at (902) 425-LAND. Every dollar donated by March 31, 2019, will leverage four additional dollars in biodiversity conservation.

The Baddeck River Conservation Lands add to a growing network of over 100 lands protected by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust across the province, encompassing over 11,000 acres of priority habitats and rich biodiversity.

Let’s Talk Tidal April 1st 2019: Meet the Panel

The tidal talk is coming up fast – so its time to introduce you to the folks who will be sharing their thoughts at the Halifax Central Library at 6pm on April 1st

Chris White, NSEN Chair, Panel Moderator 
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Chris White is a mechanical engineer and first-year PhD student with the Renewable Energy Storage Laboratory at Dalhousie University, where he completed a Bachelor of Engineering in 2013 and a Master of Applied Science in 2015.
His early experiences working with renewable energy as an undergraduate student led him to six years of research in energy storage systems both as a graduate student and as an entrepreneur, featuring an internship at Tesla Motors in the USA, and a start-up venture as co-founder of Charged Engineering Inc.
For his PhD, Chris is now developing low-cost technologies to store renewable energy on the electricity grids and help speed up the transition away from fossil fuels. Outside his studies, Chris volunteers as Chair of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network, member of Solidarity Halifax, and facilitator of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise.
John Woods, VP Energy Development with Minas Energy 
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John Woods is a high energy, dynamic, entrepreneurial engineer, leader and manager and the current Vice President of Energy Development with Minas Energy, located in Hantsport, Nova Scotia.  Mr. Woods’ has 35 years of diversified employment experience in various private, Crown and public sector organizations. During the past decade, John has been a leader in the restructuring of the electricity industry in Nova Scotia and a Maritime Canada opinion setter; especially in helping the public understand issues around electricity supply and distribution.
Melissa Nevin, Director of Fisheries and Integrated Resources for the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs
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Melissa Nevin is the Director of Fisheries and Integrated Resources for the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs.  She began her position as Director at the end of October 2018. Previously, Melissa worked as a Consultation Researcher for the  Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO), and has also worked for the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR).
She graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography in 2005, and is currently completing her MA in Geography.  Over the past 11 years, she has worked on Crown to Mi’kmaq consultation, and proponent and Mi’kmaq engagement on various projects in the natural resources sector, including: energy, mining, environment, fisheries, parks, etc.
Melissa is an advocate for Treaty and Aboriginal Rights and Title, and intends to work collaboratively to effectively change policies and processes in fisheries and environment for the betterment of Indigenous people in the Atlantic region.

 

 

Tony Wright, General Manager of FORCE

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Tony Wright is the General Manager of Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) – Canada’s leading research centre for in-stream tidal energy. Situated in the Minas Passage on the Bay of Fundy, FORCE provides access to a shared Visitor/Operations Centre, submarine cables, grid connection, and environmental monitoring at its test site to tidal energy projects.

Prior to joining FORCE in May 2012, Tony had a 22-year career in the Royal Canadian Navy. As a naval engineering officer, he held a variety of leadership and technical roles onboard Canadian warships and ashore. Tony received his engineering degree from the Royal Military College of Canada and holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s University.

 

 

Graham Daborn, Professor, Acadia University 

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Graham Daborn is Professor Emeritus at Acadia University. He received his BA in English and Biology from the University of Keele (UK), and MSC and PhD degrees in Zoology from the University of Alberta. He was Professor of Biology at Acadia from 1973 to 2004, the Founding Director of the Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research (1984-2004), and Founding Director of the Arthur Irving Academy for the Environment (2004-2007).
As a biologist with interests in estuarine and freshwaters, Graham has (co-)written or (co-) edited 7 books, and more than 200 journal articles, technical reports, and information bulletins. Since 1976 his research has focused on estuaries, particularly the Bay of Fundy. Studies of the Bay of Fundy ecosystem have included: tides and tidal rhythms, sediment dynamics, fish and fisheries, plankton, benthic ecology and the general environmental effects of tidal power. He contributed material for the two Strategic Environmental Assessments of Marine Renewable Energy in the Bay of Fundy, for the FORCE Information Centre in Parrsboro, and for an assessment of Potential Marine Representative Areas in the Bay of Fundy for Parks Canada.
Daborn was Chair or Co-Chair of the Research Management Committee and theme leader for Policy and governance research for the Canadian Water Network (2001 – 2012) He has been a member of the Experts Committee on Marine Renewable Energy for the International Energy Agency, a volunteer member of the Environmental Monitoring Advisory Committee (EMAC) for the Fundy Ocean Research Centre (FORCE) since its establishment in 2009, and a member of the Research Advisory Committee for the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA).
For his work with communities and public dissemination of scientific information about the Bay of Fundy, Daborn was awarded the Gulf of Maine Visionary Award in 1993 and the Outstanding Science Champion Award of the Discovery Centre in 2000.

 

Darren Porter, Fisher & Consultant  

Darren Porter is the founder and director of the Marine Institute of Nature and Academic Science (MINAS). Darren is an owner and operator of commercial licenses and has been fishing for his entire life. He started fishing clams, oysters, wild muscles, smelts, Gaspereau, eels, shad, herring, tomcod, flounder, mackerel, marine plant, squid, sculpin, and lobster. He has been very active in shellfish aquaculture, owning multiple shellfish leases in different maritime provinces including oysters, muscles, and scallops.

Darren has done consulting work for the provincial government as well as industry. He sits on the board of directors of four fishing associations, and he is a spokesman for the fishing industry and an advocate for small scale fisheries, coastal communities, and the environment. Darren also works extensively with universities and First Nations.

He has been involved with many studies, past and present, with Acadia University, Dalhousie University, DFO, the province of Nova Scotia, and the Mi’kmaq. His operations are open to the public, industry, academia, NGOs, and anybody that wishes to interact and immerse themselves in the local and traditional knowledge, and he provides a rare platform for people to see firsthand the diversity of marine life within the waters.

 

Sara Swinamer, Community Planner & Water Protector  

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Sara is the proud mother of two children. She is also a traditional Mi’kmaq and contemporary pow wow dancer and cultural educator. She teaches Dance 11 and instructs Mi’kmaq Studies 11 at Bridgetown High School for the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.  She also enjoys working as a dance and physical education coach with the Muin Sipu preschool, elementary students, and after-school youth on the Bear River First Nation. Much of her work is dedicated to the rights of the children, to creatively allow children the freedom of expression and free thought forms through art, culture and education.  At age fourteen Sara flew to Ottawa, Canada as a Students Commission/National Capital Commission Youth Delegate at Carleton University. Her teaching within the school system to students and teachers alike helped to aspire other schools in Lunenburg County to also take action.

Sara has a Native Canadian Studies Certificate from Kjipuktuk Aboriginal College.  She has a continuing education certificate from Dalhousie University in the Urban & Rural Planning Studio. She has worked collaboratively with the Cities & Environment Unit, Dalhousie University, under the Direction of Frank Palermo to help write the First Nations Community Planning Model, which received:

2001 Dr. L. Gertler Award for Planning Excellence
This is the highest award in Canadian planning. Grand Prize by the Canadian Institute of Planners for the development of the First Nations Community Planning Model.

2002 2003 EDRA/Places & Planning Award
For Places by the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) out of Berkeley, California and the internationally circulated journal Places.

2004 Dubai International Best Practices Award to Improve the Living Environment
This award was won in conjunction with The First Nations Community Planning Project consists of community-based plans and capacity development in seventeen First Nations communities in Atlantic Canada. It was selected as one of 10 award winners from 680 submissions worldwide.

Sara was also recognized and awarded the 2005 Deputy Ministers Pride and Recognition Award. This award recognized excellence, professionalism, and dedication in achieving honours in the Indian Lands & Trusts Certification Program.

Sara has worked for the Confederacy Mainland Mi’kmaq as a specific land claims researcher. She has also worked at L’sitkuk Environment to promote climate change and species at risk education.  In 2016 Sara, who was volunteering for the Marine Animal Response Society, took the call for action to investigate a beached whale in Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia. During the weeks that followed the whale stranding’s a massive fish kill occurred on the shores of the St. Mary Bay and other parts of the Bay of Fundy.  As a response to gaps in Provincial and Federal response and reporting, Sara created the Bay of Fundy Water Protectors; a nonviolent social media action group whose mission is to protect, restore and preserve. She is a water protector, land defender, and human rights activist always on the lookout to advocate for peace, truth and justice.

 

Mike Wambolt, Fisheries Biologist  

Mike Wambolt is an environmental professional with more than 16 years of experience in government and private industry. He holds a B.Sc. with a major in Aquaculture from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.
Over the past 11 years, Mike has been working as a Fisheries Biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) assessing the impacts of projects in freshwater and marine environments. Mike is currently working as the Section Head for Marine Developments in the Fisheries and Oceans, Fisheries Protection Program in the Maritimes Region providing oversight to a wide variety of regulatory project reviews.

Mike has been the lead on a number of project reviews for DFO including offshore oil and gas and marine renewable energy development with a focus on In-Stream Tidal projects since 2013 along with playing a key role on numerous other departmental programs such as environmental emergency response and project-specific compliance monitoring.

 

Colin Sproul, Vice-President Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association 

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Colin Sproul is Vice-President at the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association.
He is a board director at the Clean Ocean Action Committee, Southwest Lobster Science Society and Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution Ropeless Consortium.
He is also a member of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party’s Environment Committee.
Colin has spoken previously on tidal energy at Dalhousie University, The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs and the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

Colin helped lead his fishermen’s association through its protracted battle with Emera, Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy and Nova Scotia’s Department of Environment over tidal development in the Minas Passage.

His family has fished from Delap’s Cove in Annapolis County for 5 generations and he’s passionate about the people in his community carrying on their way of life.

 

Don’t miss it! Check out the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/415627352344466

Solar Nova Scotia offers practical courses on designing and building Solar Homes and Additions

The Passive Solar Home Design Course is intended for the general public and, for those in design and construction. The instructor is a 40 year experienced solar designer-builder, Don Roscoe.

1 SOLAR BASICS for electricity, for active thermal hot water and hot air, and for passive solar ( 3 1/2Hrs )
2 CLIMATE CONTROL for comfort and health, energy and the environment (5 1/2Hrs)
3 SITE DESIGNING, working with nature, creating microclimates and integrating the shelter (3Hrs )
4 SHELTER DESIGNING, bringing you, your needs and your site together (4 1/2Hrs)
5 MAKING IT HAPPEN, costing, controlling costs, contracting and doing it yourself (1 1/2Hrs )
This is offered as a six-evening course in Halifax, Chester or Bridgewater; Spring, Winter & Fall. With demand, locally organized weekend versions may be offered in other locations. Contact: solardon.ns@gmail.com
WINTER — at Bridgewater High School (541-4367 Diana.Johnson@bridgewater.ca)
COURSES or (the location with the most attendees)
— at Chester, Forest Heights High (275-2712 jconrad@chester.ca).

Tuesdays 6:45-9:45PM January 22 > February 26.
— at Nova Scotia Institute of Technology, Leeds St., Halifax, Thursdays 7pm-10pm: January 24 > February 28

Information at SolarNS.ca
Registration at (852-4758 / solardon.ns@gmail.com)
Fees: $80 students, $90 single, $150 couples; with handouts. Optional textbooks($20/$40)
On demand, a one-day PASSIVE SOLAR CONSTRUCTION COURSE will be offered mid-winter at Halifax & at other locally organized locations. This course is intended for those wishing to design and build a PASSIVE SOLAR HOME with an air recirculated heat storage slab.
1 PASSIVE SOLAR BASICS
2 GROUND INSULATION instead of frost walls
3 HEAT STORAGE SLAB construction techniques and details
4 AIR RECIRCULATION and FILTRATION SYSTEM design and components
5 SYSTEM BALANCING and CONTROLS
Fee $60 & $50 students: with construction detail sheets & CD of the course visuals.
Info. & Registration: solardon.ns@gmail.com

Update on Canada’s Chemical Management Plan

Sheila Cole, NSEN Environmental Policy Advisor shares her update on Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan. The report from meetings in Ottawa in November 2018, is written to brief members who want an overview on this subject and includes Cole’s opinions on where Canada can and should lead in the global arena of chemicals management and also where improvement is needed.

Chemicals Management Plan & Stakeholder Advisory Council 2018

We Must Build Community and Food Security

As Karen Theriault stated, in a recent article, “Healthy Diet too Costly for Some: Expert,” in the Chronicle Herald publication, “We know that Nova Scotia has a particularly high rate of food insecurity with about one in six households experiencing this.” We know from farmers locally that growing food is getting more and more difficult. In fact, even mid-income households report that a lot of the vegetables and fruits are unaffordable now that drought and other factors of the climate change crisis that have driven up the prices for imported produce as well, all which spell more food insecurity in Nova Scotia.
People struggling without property or capacity to profit, even the working poor and the lower middle class, who are also MORE insecure than if they were working communally, building more resilient communities, have to face the runaway climate emergency without the cushion of “means,” [though, as the difficult-to-attribute (Alanis Obamsawin is one source) quote, “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” points to], we need new, radical strategies to secure food for everyone.
 
Before the notion of private property and profit, was that of the “Common,” by which all indigenous and pockets of other cultures (including in Nova Scotia in my grandmother’s era) shared resources sustainably. An example of this in present-day has occurred, for the last five years, on the Halifax Peninsula, on land that belongs to the people–the Halifax Commons. This movement is called the Common Roots Urban Farm which catalyzed and enriched food production capacity for food banks and any citizens who paid the $40 fee for a growing plot at the now demolished Queen Elizabeth High School site. Now this vital development has been forced to move to make way for a new hospital (where many of the diseases being treated are largely as a result of poor nutrition and lifestyle choices (of which the sufferers of them have few) . The “irony loop” never ends.)
 
Apparently, no socially-minded citizen with fallow land has offered to lease to this vital health movement of urban farming. But, wait! Directly across the street from that site is another parcel of “Common” land, the site of the now demolished Saint Patrick’s High School. A citizens’ group has collected over seven thousand signatures for the municipal council imploring them to allow the Common Roots Urban Farm, a movement, the like which we will need more and more, as produce becomes too expensive to buy and too hard to grow.
 

We need strategies to apply the new Canada’s Food Guide with its 50% vegetables and fruits at every meal. How else can most segments of the population begin to attain this standard if we don’t sometimes shift our thinking away from prioritizing a monetary tax base of “condos for the rich” to the basic needs of the majority? This requires politicians to be far-thinking in the service of survival for the many, instead of short-sighted in the service of covering our common lands with private enterprises for the recreational and pecunious obsession for power and luxury of the few. This part of the common should be available to all citizens who need to grow and supply food to themselves and the neediest. Otherwise, the new Canada’s Food Guide will only be for the few who can afford its platform.

 

By Joanne Light

Comments Needed: List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Atlantic Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada is inviting you to comment on the proposed amendment to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA): the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.

Of the 21 terrestrial species that are eligible to be added to Schedule 1 or to have their current status on Schedule 1 changed, four are known to occur in Atlantic Canada:

Taxon Proposed Schedule 1 status Species Range Consultation path
Reptiles Special Concern Eastern Painted Turtle QC NB NS Normal
Taxon Proposed change to Schedule 1 status Species Range Consultation path
Birds From Threatened to Special Concern Common Nighthawk YT NT NU BC AS SK MB ON QC NB PEI NS NL Extended
Birds From Threatened to Special Concern Olive-sided Flycatcher YT NT NU BC AB SK MB ON QC NB PEI NS NL Extended
Birds From Special Concern to Not at Risk Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundruis YT NT NU BC AS SK MB ON QC NB NS NL Extended

For further details about this consultation opportunity, please see the document “Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act – Terrestrial Species: January 2019″ which is posted on the SARA Public Registry at: https://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/document/default_e.cfm?documentID=3378.

Please submit your comments by May 13, 2019, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 14, 2019, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.

Nova Scotia Ministry of Energy and Mines Withholds Toxic Leak Information

“Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia (SuNNS) members, the 900 signatories to our petition opposing gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed and the population of Tatamagouche are shocked by the news that the Ministry of Energy and Mines has withheld information about a leaking exploration drill hole contaminating the French River Watershed area with arsenic and iron” says SuNNS spokesperson John Perkins.

“The government has been in conversation with Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia (SuNNS) many times since the polluting leak was discovered but not once has the leaking well been mentioned, risks explored or remediation efforts discussed. As I understand it the government has taken a hush- hush and wait and see approach” says Perkins. “It makes me wonder if the current governments open for business approach means open for business whatever the human or environmental cost” notes Perkins.

Nova Scotia already is known as a most mining – friendly place given its lax regulatory requirements and enforcement and it is this lax approach that has heightened the concerns of Tatamagouche area citizens. Minister Derek Mombourquette’s Op-Ed in January 2019 Tatamagouche Light assured residents that “ Communities have an opportunity to be involved in all stages of the exploration process” but SuNNS is now asking “how does Energy and Mines not telling Colchester County about a failed, leaking exploration drill site meet the Ministers promise?

Perkins also notes “this purposeful withholding of information – especially from the municipal water authority –about an ongoing leak adds to a complete lack of faith in the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Provincial Regulatory and enforcement frameworks”.
SuNNS demands the proper authority act to cap the contaminating drill hole!
SuNNS once again calls on the Ministry of Energy and Mines to withhold any issuing of a Request for Proposals for gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed and the six other watersheds in the current Enclosure Area. “ It never made sense before and less now; the Request for Proposals should be abandoned” says
Perkins.
SuNNS further supports the efforts of the Municipality of Colchester as it seeks “Protected “status for the French River Watershed under the Environmental Act given that the French River is the sole source of water for the Village of Tatamagouche.
SuNNS will make a formal request to meet the Premier regarding this serious threat to the Tatamagouche water
supply.
SuNNS spokesperson John Perkins concludes “I think it is fair to say that the government and any interested mining companies should expect a monumental increase in local citizen opposition to gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed.
Media Contact: John Perkins, Phone, 902-657-0406 or