Public workshop announced

poster

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Birding Volunteers Needed!

In 2014, NSDNR initiated a pilot study to assess the ecological integrity of forested wetlands in western Nova Scotia using bird communities. The overall goals of the project are to identify the best biotic indicators of forested wetland integrity, improve knowledge of forested wetland species‐habitat associations, develop an Index of Ecological Condition for forested wetlands and refine priorities for conservation and forest management.

Thanks to the help of six volunteer birders, 86 sites were surveyed in 2015. Laura Achenbach will begin working on the project this year as part of her new Master’s program at Acadia University. With Laura’s help and efforts from more volunteer birders, we hope to survey around 150 more sites in 2016.

That’s where YOU come in. If you are capable of identifying the songs of forested wetland breeding birds by ear and able to tromp back into forested wetlands (treed swamps, shrub swamps, tall shrub or treed bogs and fens) in the western part of the province, we’d love to have you join us. We need all the help we can get because the analyses we want to complete require a lot of sites (~250-300) to be effective.

Please contact John Brazner at braznejc@gov.ns.ca or (902)679-6247 for more details.

If you have birdwatching friends, please let them know!

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Argyle Municipal Garbage Cleanup 2016 is now History

Margrit, Tracy, and Roy at the end on the 2016 Mecoque saga

Margrit, Tracy, and Roy at the end of the 2016 Mecoque saga

The morning of Saturday, April 23, our intrepid team of four (Roy Fudge, Tracy Hatfield, Margrit Robinson, and Stephen Sollows) descended on the 3 – Km. Chemin de Mecoque, which runs from Hubbards Point to Abrams River. The weather cooperated, over three hoursand the team collected thirty bags of garbage, and one bag of recyclables, which have gone to one of our town refundable collectors. A propane tank, three tar buckets, and a few other assorted bits of stuff also got collected and deposited at the entrance to the former burn site on the road. Besides this, there was a large dump of construction waste deposited on the north side of the road.

Many thanks to all who did the job; it should net TREPA $525 dollars.

This may be a good time to share a thought with decision-makers. A couple of years back, video cameras mounted on our C.R.K. Allen Nature Reserve caught three ATV’s crossing a stream and romping along our shoreline. The culprits were identified and paid substantial fines, and last year, incursions were substantially down.

Could something similar help combat roadside littering?

 

 

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TREPA 2015 accomplishments

The article below is the report of the Executive Director, John Sollows, on our activities during the past year.

TREPA Activities in 2015-2016:

Our activities vary from year to year, depending on the issues which arise and our own capacity.  Our fundraising activities, however, tend to be insufficient to cover our expenses, and partnerships with municipal governments have proven to be mutually beneficial.

(a) has continued to work with government, community groups, and NGO’s to address pollution issues in the Carleton catchment area,

(b) With the support of Nova Scotia Environment, Adopt-a-Stream and MTRI, collected water quality data on twenty lakes in Clare and the Yarmouth County Tusket catchment and prepared a report

(c) Worked with N.S. Environment, the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, and other provincial organs and municipalities, the N.S. Federation of Agriculture, and the N. S. Mink Breeders’ Association to establish the Carleton River Watershed Area Water Quality Steering Committee

(d) Collected data on concentration of various metal ions to assess the Tusket system’s suitability for salmonids

(e) Contributed towards purchase of the Ahlgren property on Roberts Island (Eastern Baccaris habitat)

(f) Works with N.S. Nature Trust and Nature Conservancy of Canada to monitor their properties

(g) continues to monitor Broad Brook

(h) organized a spring “Freecycle” at Beacon for people to drop off old, functional electronic equipment, which others could acquire at no cost

(i) produces an interactive website with regular environmental news, especially concerning regional and provincial issues.

(j) serves on Waste Check steering committee,

(k) Participates in activities of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network, and serves on the Board of the South West Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve

(l) Serves on the East Tusket River Monitoring Committee

(m) Is in touch with the proponents of new mining activities at the tin mine site

(n) Serves on and helps organize and implement the annual Gulf of Maine Institute Canadian mini-conference and plenary conference, wherein interested young people from two provinces and three states around the Gulf of Maine catchment meet to present and discuss environmental issues of common concern;

(o) Maintains and monitors the  C. R. K. Allen Nature Reserve, primarily for plant species at risk,  on Gilfillan Lake, East Quinan (The reserve is open to the non-motorized public!), and worked with DNR to develop improved surveillance and enforcement (This led to heavy fines for  three trespassing individuals.),

(p) Developed and circulated a brochure on the C.R.K. Allen Nature Reserve to develop public awareness about its importance,

(q) Worked with NS Power and DFO to monitor gaspereau migration on the Tusket and Carleton

(r) Employed a summer student  to do water quality sampling in selected lakes and streams of the Tusket catchment; help with maintaining the C. R. K. Allen Nature Reserve and with carrying out the rare plant count there; literature searches and reporting  on the regulatory framework around protection of riparian buffer zones, and on the effects of clearcutting on surface and ground water quality and quantity; assistance in selecting and delivering TREPA documents to the Argyle Archives; practical assistance of various sorts to Waste Check; assistance to the Clean Foundation’s Rainyard Project in public outreach and in preparing for and delivering a public workshop on rain barrel preparation and use; meeting the public and distributing brochures on  behalf of TREPA at farmers’ markets, Seafest, and the Exhibition; assistance to DNR in public outreach and rare plant monitoring; and preparation of interim and final reports.  Public education included participation at Farmers’ Markets, and various letters to newspapers, and interviews and in The Vanguard

(s) Is in continuous touch with the Municipality and Planning Advisory committee on issues relevant to environmental concerns,

(t) Public education included participation at Farmers’ Markets, presentations to a high school class, various letters to newspapers, and interviews in The Vanguard

(u) Works with and supports the Yarmouth Environmental Think Tank

(v) Participated in various policy consultations and shared thoughts with all relevant government levels.  Specific this year included support for stronger provincial protection of riparian buffer zones, work with various government levels regarding the Golden Forest mess, comments to the Town on plans to manage floods in the Broad Brook catchment, expressed concern over a potential plan to open gates in the Rossignol area to ATV’s, expressed concerns to various ministers over offshore fuel development plans, expressed concerns to various government levels re. offshore wind development, and expressed concern to provincial ministers re. development of biomass burning for electricity generation, and relinquishing of Forestry Stewardship Council standards in the Medway lands.

(w) Works with the town on active transportation issues

(x) Worked with the Massachusetts Audubon Society to receive a parcel of land south of Little Madashack Lake

(y) Garbage cleanups:  Argyle Municipality,

(z) Supports and encourages sustainable management initiatives by all municipal partners.

In general, TREPA’s main service lies in promoting environmental awareness and sustainable life styles.

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TREPA learns about digesters

The high light of the TREPA AGM was the talk by Eric Barr of Southwest Eco Energy, a hereditary  mink rancher who is part of a consortium trying to make a difference.

He and his partners started Southwest Eco Energy to take care of bio-waste from mink farms and other sources. Basically, they built a “digester” that takes any organic matter and coverts it to methane gas which fuels a generator to produce power for the NSP grid. A side product is organic liquid fertilizer. There is also side waste of plastic and other non digestible material that, for now, still end up in the land fills.

Digesters in Germany provide over 30 percent of the electricity use of the county. Additional digesters in Nova Scotia could replace the need for generation by coal and resolve most of our need for disposal of organic material.

We also learned that our governmental agencies are ill prepared to dealing with advanced technologies such as this. It is hard to get decisions made because staff workers don’t know how to interpret regulations that may or may not apply and are afraid to make decisions.

He recounted one meeting with three agencies represented. Each was willing to approve a change if one of the others would say okay. None, however, would say okay.

He also said that NSP is not all that cooperative in approving or helping with input of power to their system. In one instance a digester could not be built because NSP would not provide transmission lines because of a conflict with local wind generation goals in which they had an interest.

We came away with the impression that the technology that is being used by Southwest Eco Energy is potentially a win-win approach. It takes any organic material (mink waste, deer carcasses, food from supermarkets, yard material, etc.) and changes it into methane for energy production and liquid fertilizer. There is additional technology to turn the plastics and other non-organic material into glass. Thus, all of our “waste” gets recycled into useful product.

Thanks to Eric for a most enlightening talk.

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