Michael Gorman
CBC News
January 21, 2020 6:00 AM AT

Scientists at Saint Mary’s University join residents calling on government to abandon plan to sell park.

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Several scientists at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax are adding their names to the growing list of people who want the Nova Scotia government to abandon plans to pursue a sale of Owls Head provincial park.

Caitlin Porter, a biologist in the Saint Mary’s University ecology of plants and communities lab, has been doing field work at Owls Head since 2011 as part of a study examining biodiversity in coastal barrens, or heathlands, across the province.

Development “would completely alter the site”

Caitlin Porter

Because the area is so rocky and has so much wetland, Porter said a massive amount of fill would have to be trucked in as part of any development at Owls Head.

“It would completely alter the site,” she said. “There’s no way to minimize that or mitigate that. It’s just the way that the land is shaped. And so impacts would be complete destruction of those important ecological features.”

Those effects could also spread to the marine environment, she said, where any runoff would likely affect eelgrass beds surrounding the headland.

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