Lobster Bay island/rare plants protected

Nature Conservancy of Canada protects Yarmouth County island

Habitat  protected for nationally-rare salt marsh species on World Wetlands Day

 YARMOUTH, NS (February 2, 2018) –The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing a significant conservation effort in Lobster Bay, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. The not-for-profit land trust has conserved a 25-hectare (61-acre) island that contains a plant that is rare in Canada and listed as threatened under the Canadian Species at Risk Act.

NCC’s newly protected island provides important salt marsh habitat for the eastern baccharis (pronounced BACK-are-is), a flowering shrub measuring about 3 metres tall that, in Canada, is found only in Nova Scotia.  Approximately 3,000 of these shrubs, the entire Canadian population, can be found in the marshes of Lobster Bay, Nova Scotia.  The eastern baccharis is at the northern tip of its range in Nova Scotia, and is more common on the east and southern coasts of the U.S.

NCC’s Lobster Bay island is a drumlin, a rich mound of soil and rocky debris formed thousands of years ago by retreating glaciers. Along with the eastern baccharis, the conservation area  supports a mix of black spruce, white spruce, red maple and aspen, and provides valuable salt marsh habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl, such as willets and American black ducks.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased the property from John Brett of Halifax, who wanted to see its rare salt marsh plants permanently protected. This conservation project was supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Legacy Trust and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

NCC has now completed two conservation projects in the Lobster Bay region, building on work by the Province of Nova Scotia to establish the Tusket Islands Wilderness Area.

Quotes

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to thank land owner John Brett, the Government of Canada, the Nova Scotia Land Legacy Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our individual donors for helping us conserve this nationally significant salt marsh habitat. NCC is very pleased to be able to have protected this habitat for the eastern baccharis, as part of our ongoing efforts to conserve coastal wilderness on the south shore of Nova Scotia.”Craig Smith, Nova Scotia Program Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada

 “On World Wetlands Day, the Government of Canada is pleased to partner with the Nature Conservancy of Canada through the Natural Areas Consevation Program to once again demonstrate our shared commitment to the protection of wetlands in southwest Nova Scotia. This initiative will benefit the many species of plants and animals that live there and conserve the natural heritage of the area.”The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

 “I am most gratified, and my late mother and father would also be most gratified to know that Tete a Millie is now protected for all time by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Unique to the area is the shrub eastern baccharis which I first noticed while walking the marshes on Tete a Millie shore back about 15 years ago. This presence was confirmed by Ray Fielding, author of Shrubs of Nova Scotia. As an amateur naturalist you can imagine how excited I was:  it’s not every day you come across a large, prominent shrub that turns out to be the only member of its genus to be found in the entire country!  And here it was, hiding in plain sight.” John Brett, former land owner

 Facts

  • Salt marshes are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world and are a major priority for conservation in the Maritimes. An estimated 50 to 60 per cent of the pre-European settlement marshes have been lost to draining or development.
  • Canada is a signatory to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, also called the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2 to mark the 1971 adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran; the majority of United Nations’ member states have become contracting parties to the Convention on Wetlands.
  • Under the Ramsar Convention, countries designate wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites). Nova Scotia has three of Canada’s 37 Ramsar sites.

 The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 29,000 hectares (74,000 acres) in the Atlantic provinces.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. Federal funds are matched by contributions raised by NCC and its partners. Habitat conserved under the NACP enhances natural corridors and other protected areas.

                                                                                                                                                

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Time to Renew + Lobster Draw

Hi All:

It is that time of year again to renew your support of TREPA and its mission. Your support is just $10 each a year. Please send your dues to: TREPA, Box 103, Tusket NS, B0W3M0.

We also are in the Lobster Draw season. Below is a page of tickets which you may move to your desktop and print, use, copy and distribute to others:

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Special Appeal: Attend the Forest Funeral if you can

— John Sollows

If you are free Thursday, October 19 and care about the future of our forest ecosystem, please make it to the Grand Parade in Halifax for 1 P.M. to encourage the government to take sustainable forest management more seriously. Just received the following from one of the organizers:

“Might we see you at the funeral? I know it’s a dreadfully long way to come. I have managed to make it multi-cultural and quite a few Mi’kmaq people are participating. That helps the politicians realize that their poor practices are making everyone angry, not just some small groups. We need everyone there, however. If you can convince others to go, please do. We need you. We need everyone. It is ineffective if only 100 people show up.

“There is no point in rallying anymore after the Independent Review. Our forests will be pretty well gone in a few years in the southwest.”

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Forest Funeral Event

With the funeral for the Acadian Forest just a week away now (see attached poster below), Peter Ritchie would like to offer the following eulogy for publication…

As we witness the demise of Nova Scotia’s mixed Acadian Forest, I would like to reflect upon just a few, particular aspects of this once majestic ecosystem.  I first became familiar with the Acadian Forest less than fifty years ago, a length of time on the order currently allowed for a forest ‘crop’ to ‘mature’ in this province.  My acquaintance is a mere snapshot on a life line that stretches back thousands and thousands of years, long before European colonization of this land.

Having known Nova Scotia’s native ecosystem for such a short time, I don’t feel I have had the opportunity to truly appreciate and understand this unique and complex environment, before having it taken away.  Such is the way with death, I suppose.  You often don’t realize what you have, until it is gone; all too often taken away too early, by senseless tragedy.  Under decades upon decades of government mis-management and industry greed, this was the fate of the Acadian Forest in this province.
So what have I come to understand about Nova Scotia’s natural habitat, in the brief time I have known it?
1.)  I have learned where it came from, in the most literal sense:
It turns out that, contrary to common belief, trees do not grow out of the ground!  In fact, about 95% of a tree’s dry mass comes directly from CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere.  Try to carefully consider this fact for a moment.  Think of the thousands of tonnes of carbon capture capability destroyed, every year, under the negligent stewardship of Nova Scotia’s government.  This at a time when the same government cannot even clearly articulate and adopt the simplest of carbon pricing mechanisms, in the face of impending, catastrophic climate change.
2.)  I have determined where the Acadian Forest has gone:
Once old growth forests, present at colonization, were razed for agriculture, timber harvest and general empire-building, the leavings were regularly ‘harvested’, on ever-shortening crop cycles, using increasingly destructive methods.  By the latter half of the last century, the pulp and paper industry, consistently subsidized by government, had its boot firmly on the throat of the Acadian Forest in this province.  The diversity of native species was being replaced by herbicide-sprayed mono-cultures.  Clear cutting had increasingly become the harvest method of choice – as it was just this past year, with almost 90% of all trees harvested in this province coming from clear cuts.  It’s not just the paper industry and low-value lumber market that have become the final resting places for the Acadian Forest.  Annually now, Nova Scotia sends tens of thousands of tonnes of wood pellets to Europe to be burned in funeral pyres, producing some of the dirtiest electricity ever made.  Even our own province uses the shredded corpses of the Acadian Forest to make some of our own ‘green’ electricity, again, subsidized by the Nova Scotia Government.
3.)  Finally, I have come to understand that the Acadian Forest is so much more than trees:
With the demise of the Acadian Forest, we mourn the loss of countless animal and plant species, both terrestrial and aquatic, that have evolved, literally over eons, to be complexly intertwined and interdependent on one another.  An ecosystem like the Acadian Forest is one of the most complex living entities on this planet.  Deforestation, especially by means of clear cutting, destroys myriad habitats (often permanently), causes soil degradation and acidification, drives eutrophication of water ways and wetlands, and eradicates endangered species, to mention but a few outcomes.  Depraved indifference to the ‘life’ of the Acadian Forest is leading to the demise of so many more living things than trees.  It is a sad time, indeed.
In conclusion, as we bear witness to the death of the Acadian Forest in Nova Scotia, I would like to offer some sage words from poet Jack Johnson.  To be certain, both government and corporate interests have mediated this untimely demise, but we all, as a society, must acknowledge our role in the matter.
“It was you, it was me, it was every man,
We’ve all got the blood on our hands
We only receive what we demand,
If we want hell, then hell’s what we’ll have…”
from Cookie Jar, by Jack Johnson
 
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John Linder on Aquatic Entomology

TREPA (Tusket River Environmental Protection Association) is sponsoring a video presentation and discussion by John Linder on aquatic entomology ie water bugs and flies. He will outline how water bugs can indicate water quality and offer advice on chosing the right fly for fly fishermen. Session set for September 27, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the parlour,  at Beacon United Church, Yarmouth.

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