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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Yarmouth Municipal Shoreline Protection By-Law

— John Sollows

I have been reminded that too many shoreline property-owners in the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth still are unaware of the importance of leaving their shorelines wild and/or of the relevant Municipal by-law.

First of all, in ANY municipal unit, before you develop your property, go to the municipal office and DISCUSS YOUR PLANS WITH THE DEVELPMENT OFFICER! The officer is in the best position to tell you what you can and cannot do.

For those who want to do the research, the Yarmouth Municipal Land Use By-Law can be studied at https://www.district.yarmouth.ns.ca/images/stories/PDF/dev/LUB_MPS/MODY_LUB_June24_2015.pdf.

Clause 4.26 is the item of interest.

It says:

4.26.1 In all zones where development is undertaken on a lot which borders a watercourse an undisturbed buffer of 12 metres (40 ft) is required to be maintained between the high water mark on either side of a watercourse and any structure or developed portion of the lot. Infilling or removal of material is not permitted within the buffer
except for minimal disturbance incidental to a permitted undertaking. In the watercourse buffer area the natural flora and fauna is to remain substantially undisturbed except for penetrations for wharves and boat launches. Moderate thinning of tree cover in the buffer area to enable views is permitted and good ecological practices designed to minimize disturbance of natural shoreline areas are encouraged when undertaking all activities and developments within the buffer and
all developments on properties abutting watercourses in the Municipality. (see MPS Part 3 and Policy 3.1.9)
4.26.2 On any lot subject to the requirements of Section 4.26.1 of this by-law the required buffer supersedes any minimum yard requirement which may be less than the required buffer.”

Wild shorelines help protect lakes from turning muddy or green, neither of which does anything for property values. Also, some of that green stuff in the water can be hazardous to your health.

Respect nature. Respect the by-law.

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Summer Student Position Available

TREPA has received approval from Service Canada to hire one student. The job will run for nine weeks from June 26 to August 26, 2017. The student will work 35-hour weeks at a pay rate of $10.85 per hour.

We are looking for a university or college student pursuing studies in an environmentally-relevant field with (1) valid regular driver’s licence and access to a car at any time; (2) familiarity with standard computer use (writing, e-mail, internet, data management), (3) experience with canoe handling and transport, and (4) proficiency at swimming.
Applications are limited to Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, who were full-time student during the previous academic year, and who intend to return to school full-time for the next academic year and are between the ages of 15 and 30 at the start of the employment.

Job description follows:

(1) Assistance in collecting water quality data from selected sites throughout the Tusket catchment in
cooperation with Carleton River Watershed Area Water Quality Steering Committee; (2) Assistance to Municipality
of the District of Yarmouth in archiving existing water quality data in a more user-friendly format (3) Assistance in
maintaining and monitoring the C.R.K Allen Nature Reserve and newly-acquired lands on Great Pubnico Lake; (4)
Review environmental and health effects of tidal power projects, and summarize in a carefully-referenced report ;
(5) Review environmental, economic, and social effects of clearcutting and summarize in a carefully-referenced
report; (6) Review literature on the sources and health of ground water resources in mainland Nova Scotia. (7)
Subsequently, review provincial legislation and strategies related to management of ground water, and summarize
the findings in a carefully referenced report, which recommends how TREPA can proceed in encouraging
strengthened protection; (8) Miscellaneous tasks for Waste Check and other local environmental agencies; (9)
Assistance to CBDC and Southwest Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve Association with compiling soild and other
data for upcoming agricultural and science atlases (10) Public education in the need to protect riparian buffer
zones , and development of relevant materials (11) Promotion of exploration of national parks and other wilderness
areas (12) Work as possible with town and municipality to promote use of rain barrels (13) archiving of TREPA documents;
(14) Other tasks as specified by the TREPA Board

Resumes are to be attached to a letter of application, are to be in .rtf or .pdf format, and are to list all references together with their contact information. Applications are to be sent by e-mail to nhungjohn@eastlink.ca, and are due by Wednesday, June 21 at 6 P.M. Only those selected for interview will be contacted.

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