Beach Meadow

JIM VIBERT: Mother Nature’s on the run in Nova Scotia

Jim Vibert
The Chronicle Herald
October 2, 2020

Full Article Here >

As galling as the government’s bluster and bluff about protecting nature can be, more galling yet is the fact that much of the heavy lifting was done before they arrived in office. All they had to do was take credit for the work of previous governments, but when it comes to protecting nature they can’t, or won’t, even do that.

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Broom Crowberry (Corema conradii) Pistillate flowers by Green Optics Photography

Ecological Life Support

Why we need to preserve this biodiverse coastal headland

This article has since been republished with permission in the January edition of the Eastern Shore Cooperator.

Biodiversity (a contraction of “biological diversity”) comprises all life on Earth. Greater species diversity supports healthier ecosystems and even improved human health.

“We are in the midst of both climate and biological diversity (extinction) emergencies, wherein we are at or beyond planetary thresholds for being able to recover. Such intact ecosystems as Owls Head are our ecological life-support systems. We need them in order to survive as a species, as do the other species with which we share this land, many of which are endangered1.”

Dr. Karen Beazley

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“Back at Owls Head”

Photo courtesy of CPAWS NS

Statement from Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Nova Scotia Chapter

This summer, CPAWS-NS has visited Owls Head numerous times. Accompanied by a range of biodiversity experts, we have been completing a series of surveys to record the rich natural diversity of this coastal headland. 

Our team has identified over 75 species of birds that occur here, undertaking surveys from the land and on the water. Later this month, we’ll be out again with our snorkels, studying eelgrass beds in the area. 

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Broom Crowberry

Report on the Ecological Importance of Owls Head Crown land: More Findings

Today, we are sharing in-depth excerpts from the Report on the Ecological Importance of Owls Head Crown land. Dr. Jeremy Lundholm, PhD, and Caitlin Porter, MSc, voluntarily provided this information to the court and have subsequently given us permission to share it online. You can find their unabridged report at the bottom of this page. If you’d prefer, you can read the post of their conclusions instead.

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How Golf Courses Would Jeopardize Important Marine Ecosystems

Development on this particular site would cause irreparable harm to the unique geology, flora, and fauna that have developed over the past 10,000 years. It will also have adverse impacts on the offshore marine environment.

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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Letter from Dr. Karen Beazley

Dr. Karen Beazley
Dalhousie Institute for Resource and Environmental Studies

Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier,

Please do not sell public land. NS has very little public land. It should not be sold to or for private interests. The Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada are working hard to purchase and secure ecologically significant lands in NS, with substantial (several millions of dollars of) funding being provided by both private and public individuals and organizations in support of their efforts. They are focusing on connected ecological systems along the eastern shore and elsewhere to complement Provincial conservation efforts. There is strong public support of their efforts, providing solid evidence of public economic and ethical valuation of public and private land conservation in NS.

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