How Golf Courses Would Jeopardize Important Marine Ecosystems

Cover Photo courtesy of Nick Hawkins Photography

In Short:

  1. The proposed development would require large amounts of fill. Therefore, sediments would run into the marine areas, negatively affecting sensitive eelgrass beds and salt marsh habitats.
  2. Once established as golf courses, the use of pesticides and the threat of runoff of toxic chemicals (during rainfall events or through the site’s interconnected hydrology) would threaten these same marine areas.

“For a large development such as golf courses, the construction and subsequent run-off from the land as well as increased nutrient loads all have the potential to negatively impact these ecosystems.”

Marine Biologist Dr. Kristina Boerder
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Wetlands: Why We Need Them

“Owls Head is characterized by repeating bedrock ridges that support a coastal barrens ecosystem. A globally rare heathland plant community occurs on the crests of the ridges and biodiverse bog wetlands predominate in the depressions between the ridges. This landscape pattern on the coast is only otherwise known from Blue Rocks, Lunenburg County, amidst residential developments with no conservation protection.”

– Biologists Caitlin Porter & Dr. Jeremy Lundholm
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Meet the super-plant from Nova Scotia’s shorelines: eelgrass

The carbon converter found by Owls Head protects against storms and gives fish and lobster a safe place to grow up

Mira Dietz Chiasson
The Coast
February 27, 2020

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Dive below the waves somewhere along Nova Scotia’s coastline and you might encounter a thriving ecosystem that is vitally important to our fisheries, our ways of life and our climate: An underwater eelgrass meadow.

See the play of sunlight in the meadow’s swaying underwater forest, fish darting between the blades of grass and discover other creatures feeding and clinging to the vegetation. Eelgrass may resemble a seaweed, but it’s actually a plant, complete with flowers and roots, that spends its life under the waves.

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Protecting Canada’s Hidden “Meadows of the Sea”

Collaborative research is uncovering the secrets of coastal seagrass beds to help keep them healthy

Sarah Joy Bittick 
Canadian Geographic
Published: October 30, 2019

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People Benefit From Seagrass Meadows

All people living on the coasts of Canada have a close relationship with seagrasses, even if it’s not immediately apparent […] Besides their role as habitat for important food fish, seagrass meadows protect our coasts from high-energy waves from the ocean. This protection is especially important during storms; without it, our coastal towns and cities would not exist. Large seagrass meadows also absorb carbon through photosynthesis and store it in their tissues, which can help slow climate change. We certainly owe a lot to these meadows of the sea.

Keep Reading

Protecting Canada’s Carbon Sinks

Back Road Bog

A short but beautiful video and article from WWF-Canada explains the value of carbon sinks, and protecting sites like Owls Head, Nova Scotia.

World Wildlife Federation – Canada

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In the face of widespread wildlife loss and climate change, WWF-Canada’s new nation-wide assessment maps gaps in essential wildlife habitat protection and opportunities to protect areas that benefit biodiversity while slowing climate change.

A national habitat crisis

Just as we need housing, wildlife need somewhere to live. Half of Canada’s monitored species are in decline, by a staggering 83 per cent, and even wildlife protected under Canada’s Species at Risk Act are failing to recover. Wildlife simply can’t survive with increasingly degraded or destroyed habitats. They need to find food, mate, migrate and raise their young. Climate change only makes matters worse.

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Letter from World Wildlife Fund – Delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve

Dear Premier Stephen McNeil,

WWF-Canada is concerned with the delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve and calls on the provincial government to stop the sale of public lands at Owls Head and to honour the commitment to Nova Scotians to legally protect this ecologically significant wilderness area.

Continue reading “Letter from World Wildlife Fund – Delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve”