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.
Owls Head has long been surrounded and shaped by the ocean. The rugged landscape reflects the legacy of the ice age, and the hardy ecosystems that developed after the ice retreated mirror the unique environment in which rare plant communities now thrive.
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.
Eastern Shore resident Susan Vickery sent us this video footage of eider ducks at Owls Head Provincial Park. Susan points out that salt marshes, including at Owls Head Provincial Park, are “unique and vital habitats for millions of migrating birds. They are a protective feeding and rest area for many shorebirds and seabirds.”
Owls Head Provincial Park is part of Halifax’s Green Network Plan. The plan has identified an “essential ecological corridor” between Owls Head Provincial Park and Tangier Grand Lake Wilderness Area. Also known as a green corridor or wildlife corridor, these connecting spaces are essential for our wildlife and biodiversity.
Owls Head is a coastal headland on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia/Mi’kmaqi. A portion of the headland (268 hectares/ 662 acres) is provincial Crown Land and has been managed as a provincial park since the 1970s. Though Owls Head Provincial Park was never legally designated as a protected area, it has been proposed for designation in the Nova Scotia’s 2013 Parks and Protected Areas Plan (site #694).
Because of investigative reporting and freedom of information requests, we all learned of the backdoor deal to sell Owls Head Provincial Park to a private developer, for conversion into golf courses. The secret actions of the Department of Lands and Forestry staff, past and current Ministers, and Cabinet to dispose of a rare ecosystem home to a number of endangered species without public consultation are deplorable.