Nova Scotia needs to pick up the pace on protected areas
Published on Jul 17 2018
HALIFAX – Today, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) released its annual “Parks Report” examining progress creating protected areas in Canada. The report examines opportunities for Canada to achieve its international commitment of protecting at least 17% of its landmass by the year 2020.
Although Nova Scotia has made good progress in recent years creating new protected areas, that progress has now stalled. There are still approximately 100 pending sites from the “Nova Scotia Parks and Protected Areas Plan” still awaiting official designation by the Nova Scotia government and it’s been more than a year since the last batch of new protected areas was announced.
At the moment, only about half of the sites from the Nova Scotia Parks and Protected Areas Plan have been officially designated. Sites still awaiting legal protection include: Wentworth Valley Wilderness Area, St. Mary’s River Conservation Lands, Cape Mabou Wilderness Area, Sackville River Nature Reserve, and sites in southwestern Nova Scotia containing some of the rarest species in Canada.
The specific Nova Scotia recommendations from the CPAWS report include:
1) Complete the full implementation of the Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan.
2) Undertake a province-wide gap analysis to identify priority conservation sites and opportunities for improving connectivity between protected areas.
3) Initiate a wilderness area assessment for the Ingram River watershed on the former Bowater lands.
4) Seek matching funding from the new federal “Nature Fund” for protected area establishment and conservation planning.
5) Re-establish a land acquisition budget for the Nova Scotia Department of Environment so that key private lands can be purchased for conservation.
“The Nova Scotia government must pick up the pace,” says Chris Miller, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “Five years have now passed since the protected areas plan was finalized, yet we are still awaiting nearly one hundred sites from this plan to receive official designation by the Nova Scotia government.”
“Our report identifies that the full implementation of the Nova Scotia Parks and Protected Areas Plan is the best way for the Nova Scotia government to make progress toward the national protected areas target,” says Miller. “That plan includes some of the best remaining natural areas in the province, including places such as Wentworth Valley, St. Mary’s River, Mabou Highlands, Sackville River, and ecological hotspots in southwestern Nova Scotia.”
Chris Miller, Ph.D.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Nova Scotia Chapter
High-resolution images and maps available