Halifax, NS – The Ecology Action Centre wants to know what is hampering the announcement of the province’s no-net-loss of wetland policy. The provincial government promised to deliver a wetland conservation policy by December 2009, as a key goal within the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act (EGSPA).
The new wetland conservation policy will create a consistent science-based approach to prevent the net loss of wetland area and function in the province. Wetlands are critical for purifying drinking water, flood protection, erosion control, as well as providing habitat and nursery areas for many types of birds and fish. Up to 65% of the province’s original salt marshes have been lost due to human activities such as dyking, road construction, and development.
“The wetland policy is now almost a year overdue. I can’t believe it’s not out yet”, says Jennifer Graham, Coastal Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, This delay is grossly unfair to the many stakeholders who participated in good faith in the policy development process. We are wondering what is stalling approval of the wetland policy and who is benefiting from the delay?”
The draft Wetland Conservation Policy was circulated for public and stakeholder feedback in the fall of 2009. The Policy features a number of goals, including preventing further loss of salt marshes and other ecologically significant wetlands, and specifying that wetlands over 100 square metres cannot be altered without an alteration permit.
“Let’s just get on with it” says Graham. “The document we commented on in November 2009 was decent. There were some things in it we liked and some we were not so fond of, but once implemented, it will get the job done in terms of preventing wetland loss. We want to see this move forward and we don’t want anyone to muck with the contents of the document we say almost a year ago”