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.

Advertisements

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

Nova Scotia Nature Trust – Volunteer Opportunities

Nova Scotia Nature Trust is currently in need of volunteers to help with the following:

Fundraising Assistants – We are looking for volunteers to help with donor calls. This can be done from our office, or remotely from home.

Writers – We are looking for volunteers to help write donor stories, blog posts and other content (maybe you want to write a piece for Landlines!?!). If you have a knack for the written word, this is a great opportunity for you.

Office Assistants – we are looking for volunteers who can contribute regular weekly hours to assist with organization and research.

25th Anniversary Volunteer Team- we are looking for creative individuals with a PR or marketing background to lead special activities to celebrate the Nature Trust’s 25th Anniversary.

Property Guardians – Even though the wintery weather is upon us, we are looking ahead to our next field season. We are continuously recruiting property guardians and plan to have a team of new guardians ready to go in the spring! If you love exploring the outdoors, this may be a perfect fit for you!

Attention experienced birders! If you have a passion for our avian friends and want to contribute to the Nature Trust, let us know. Our Bird’s Eye View (BEV) program offers you the chance to enjoy one of your favourite pastimes, while contributing to our conservation efforts!

Should you be interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact Ryan at ryan@nsnt.ca or by calling (902) 425-5263.

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch on Friday, February 22 at 7:00pm at Central United Church, Lunenburg.

The South Shore Chapter of the Council of Canadians is pleased to present the screening of the film:
Anthropocene:  The Human Epoch on Friday, February 22 at 7:00pm at Central United Church, Lunenburg.

A cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch is a four years in the making feature documentary film from the multiple-award-winning team of Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky.

The film follows the research of an international body of scientists, the Anthropocene Working Group who, after nearly 10 years of research, are arguing that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century, because of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth.

From concrete seawalls in China that now cover 60% of the mainland coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to metal festivals in the closed city of Norilsk, to the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia and massive marble quarries in Carrara, the filmmakers  have traversed the globe using high end production values and state of the art camera techniques to document evidence and experience of human planetary domination.

At the intersection of art and science, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch witnesses in an experiential and non-didactic sense a critical moment in geological history — bringing a provocative and unforgettable experience of our species’ breadth and impact.

A moderated discussion will follow the screening.  All welcome. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to cover costs.

Film Screening:  Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

Friday, February 22nd, 7pm-9pm

For more info:  902.527.2928 or southshore.coc@gmail.com 

Let’s Talk Tidal Power: What’s Happening in the Bay of Fundy?

NSEN Tidal Event Photo.pngAs the world moves to replace fossil fuels with clean renewable energy, Nova Scotia finds itself with some of the world’s greatest tidal power resources in the iconic Bay of Fundy. After decades of research and pilot projects, however, some people are growing concerned that the present course of development will have negative consequences for the natural systems of the Bay and the livelihoods and cultures that are tied to it. So, what’s happening in the Bay of Fundy?

The Nova Scotia Environmental Network and the Halifax Central Library are proud to present this panel discussion to help the public understand who is who in the tidal energy sector, the history of development, where things stand today, what is at stake, and how the future could unfold. 

Moderated by Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University, the panel will include tidal researchers, developers, regulators, First Nations, and fishers, bringing together a diverse set of perspectives for a balanced discussion and Q&A period.


Funding for this program is provided by the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation and Global Affairs Canada.

Click attending and share our Facebook event here!

Lawsuit against the Dept. of Lands & Forestry for alleged failure to meet obligations of endangered species act

Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and nature organizations launch legal action for Nova Scotia’s species at risk

Mr. Bob Bancroft and three of Nova Scotia’s naturalists’ societies say it is time to ask the courts to intervene on behalf of Nova Scotia’s most at-risk wildlife and plants.

“The Department of Lands and Forestry has mandatory legal obligations under the Endangered Species Act that have not been fulfilled,” explains retired Acadia University biology professor Dr. Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, president of Blomidon Naturalists Society, one of the parties to the legal proceedings. “We’re simply asking the Court to tell our government to do what it is already required to do by law.”

In court documents filed today, the applicants allege that the Department of Lands and Forestry (formerly the Department of Natural Resources) has failed to meet its legal obligations with respect to 34 species, including mainland moose, wood turtle, bank swallow, and a host of other species designated at risk in Nova Scotia.

“The Department has not yet identified core habitat for our mainland moose, a requirement that is now over-due by more than a decade,” says wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft, president of the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists (also known as Nature Nova Scotia).

The legal documents allege that the Department of Lands and Forestry has not yet identified a single acre of core habitat of threatened and endangered species, despite the legal requirement to do so under the Endangered Species Act.

Other short-comings noted in the documents include failures to appoint recovery teams and create recovery plans within the time-frames required under the Act.

“This is a rule of law case,” notes Jamie Simpson, lawyer for the applicants. “The Act requires the Minister of Lands and Forestry to do certain things towards the recovery of species at risk in Nova Scotia. We are asking the Court to uphold the rule of law and require the Department to abide by the Act.”

The Department’s short-comings with respect to species at risk has been reported several times. In 2015, the East Coast Environmental Law Association published a report calling on the Department to address the alleged violations of the Species at Risk Act. In 2016, the Office of the Auditor General of Nova Scotia published a review of the Department’s track-record on species at risk, noting the alleged failure to fulfil mandatory requirements under the Act.