A distinctly under-the-weather Iain Rankin, Minister for Lands and Forestry, rises to announce the Biodiversity Act in yesterday’s media briefing.
I enjoyed visiting Province House yesterday for the media briefing around the province’s new Biodiversity Act. As one of the three-member Biodiversity Council that has acted as advisors to the process since last year, it was very satisfying to join the Minister and Deputy Minister, as well as other staffers at Lands and Forestry. Nice also to get the support of Nature Conservancy Canada and the Ecology Action Centre. This Act fills critical gaps in our capacity to protect Nova Scotia’s ecosystems against known and as-yet-unknown challenges.
I faced my first media scrum after the briefing. I’m weighing up how to rank it on discomfort in comparison with the mammogram I had immediately before. Some of the press from that scrum appeared on CBC and the Chronicle Herald (though the latter misspelled my surname), and since then I have done a little more (News 95.7 live interview). We missed the tabling of the Act yesterday, thanks to slow service at The Old Triangle, but this morning it had its second reading in the House. Minister Rankin included some of my comments in his address (see Hansard):
Mr. Speaker, I heard strong support for our bill from several key players in biodiversity. Dr. Kate Sherren, of Dalhousie University and a Biodiversity Council member, spoke yesterday during the bill briefing. She said the priority is to address current issues where there are gaps and to have a tool kit ready when they are needed. As she said, biodiversity is an engine of the ecosystem. We don’t know what we’ll be up against and we will need legislation to manage it.
I look forward to continuing with the Council as we hit the ground with regulatory priorities if this goes through.
Craig Smith from NCC enters the scrum I just left, March 14, 2019.
Quick Takes coverage of Space to Roost in the Nov/Dec 2018 issue of Bird Water’s Digest.
Congratulations to MES candidate Jaya Fahey, and collaborators from her MES sponsors and Mitacs host, Bird Studies Canada, for the coverage of Space to Roost in the recent issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest. Our innovative approach to negotiating and motivating high-tide beach sharing for migrating shorebirds has received interest from places like Newfoundland and Georgia and we hope to see more examples of this kind of collaborative conservation in future as a result.
MES student Jaya Fahey talks about shorebirds at the WHSRN 30 year celebration today at Evangeline Beach (photo: Richard Stern)
Meanwhile, the signs have gone up at Avonport Beach for year three of Space to Roost.
Colleagues at Bird Studies Canada and Nature Conservancy Canada joined with other conservation groups today at Evangeline Beach at Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, to celebrate 30 years that the Minas Basin has been recognized by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) as a globally significant bird habitat. MES student and BSC intern Jaya Fahey was interviewed for local media. The timing is significant: it is the leading edge of the time that the area hosts millions of shorebirds migrating south from the Arctic. These birds need to eat and gain weight and above all rest, because the next step is a big one: three days swim over the ocean non-stop to South America … and they can’t swim! The signs have already gone up at Avonport (left) to recruit beach users to help us set aside high-tide resting beaches while the birds are here. This is year three of Space to Roost, the second using resting beaches. We have some indication already that these resting beaches reduce human disturbance; this year should help us fully understand their effectiveness.
St. Andrews Marsh, May 21, 2018.
Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity, and I’m pleased to announce I was appointed to the new Biodiversity Council for Nova Scotia. The other members are Dr Donna Hurlburt (Aboriginal Advisor at Acadia University, Mi’kmaq ecologist, and conservation biologist), Dr. Graham Forbes (Professor at UNB), and Peter Oram (Senior Environmental Specialist at GHD). From the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announcement press release:
The goals of the Council are:
- Identify strategic priorities for work, including regulations, under a Biodiversity Act,
- Identify knowledge gaps and provide advice on using the ecosystem approach to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use,
- Advise on approaches and priorities for research, data gathering, and management,
- Make recommendations to the Minister on emerging and evolving biodiversity issues.
The Council’s work will include supporting the development of a Biodiversity Act, a project under the strategic priority “Our Natural Resources.” The purpose of the Act is to further enable Nova Scotia to improve the conservation and sustainable use of wild species and ecosystems in flexible and adaptive ways, address legislative gaps and manage emerging risks.
I’ve been working with DNR folks like Glen Parsons and John Brazner for years on social science about biodiversity conservation on farms, coasts and wetlands, and will be pleased to be of service.
Reg Newell receives the NSIA Honorary Member Award from NSFA’s Kathryn Bremner, Truro, April 25, 2018. Photo Glen Parsons
Quick note to say congratulations to Reg Newell, recently retired as the Nova Scotia – Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Stewardship Coordinator at NS Department of Natural Resources, for his Honorary Member Award from the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists. Lovely that the award was presented by another one of our favourite people in my lab, Kathryn Bremner (NS Environmental Farm Planner) of the NS Federation of Agriculture. Reg and Kathryn have been critical to our work on biodiversity-friendly farming, including our assessment of the Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation program, the BioLOG website that came out of it, and Wood Turtle Strides that came out of that. Bravo, Reg!