How Do We Put a Value on Owls Head?

Corema - Broom Crowberry

How do we put a value on Owls Head Provincial Park?

There have been few valuations for rare plants, let alone globally rare plant communities. For example, a rare Shenzhen Nongke orchid is valued at $202,000 per plant. We would need to do a series of transects and plots at Owls Head Provincial Park to get an honest number of the rare plants and communities to put into the economic calculus of a ” balanced ” view.

“A mature tree can have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.” So let’s do a survey of all the ancient coastal white spruce stands at Owls head and put an average value of $2000 on the individual specimens, but let’s be fair and only value the trees that are 75-100+ years old, the ones impossible to replace in a lifetime.

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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 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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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.”

Listen Now

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