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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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.

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Seagrass beds off our coast could be some of the world’s heaviest and oldest organisms

CBC Radio
Mainstreet Nova Scotia
February 12, 2020

Not only seagrasses the only type of plants that flower underwater, but they could be the oldest known organisms on our planet. “The value generated by seagrass is among the highest of any habitat in the world,” explains Worm. The ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows (such as nursery habitat, spawning habitat, and carbon sequestration) are so valuable that they are valued “in excess of $20,000 per hectare, per year.

In terms of Owls Head Park Reserve, Worm says”[w]hen we think about doing something to that protected land it’s not just about the land, it’s also very strongly connected to the underwater habitat nearby” which could be “very harmful for the seagrass that lives there.”

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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.

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