Friday, September 22, 2017

Environment

Canada: Progress Made in Plans to Purchase 100 Islands for Nature Protection

More than 1,600 hectares of Crown Land along the coast of Nova Scotia have been designated as a so-called “wilderness area,” ensuring the conservation of valuable wetlands and islands.

  • Nova Scotia’s Government announced yesterday that over 1,600 hectares of Crown land has been designated as a so-called “wilderness area”
  • The designation forms an integral part of the “100 Wild Islands” campaign – a project which aims to transform 2,800 hectares of islands into a conservation site
  • The Crown is working alongside the Nova Scotia Nature Trust in order to protect the Province’s most ecologically-diverse islands
Middle and Outer Islands - Photo Courtesy of NS Nature Trust

Middle and Outer Islands – Photo Courtesy of NS Nature Trust

Exciting strides continue to be made as part of the 100 Wild Islands Legacy Campaign, with the recent announcement that more than 1,600 hectares of Nova Scotian Crown land has officially been designated as a wilderness area.

The announcement was made earlier this week by Environment Minister Randy Delorey as part of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust’s 2015 Conservation Showcase and Celebration.

100 Wild Islands Legacy Campaign

The designation of this latest Wilderness Area marks an important milestone in the Nova Scotia Nature Trusts 100 Wild Islands Legacy campaign, which aims to preserve a total of 2,800 hectares of islands on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore.

“[The designation] means that the land is no longer at risk of being sold off, logged, mined or anything like that,” explained Bonnie Sutherland, one of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust’s Executive Directors.

“It’s a really important conservation achievement for the province and an irreplaceable gift for all Nova Scotians.”

Still Work to Be Done

Despite only being launched last year, the 100 Wild Islands Legacy campaign has already made considerable progress, ensuring the protection of vast swathes of Crown land and re-claiming approximately 485 hectares of private land.

With another 715 hectares of private land still in the trust’s sights, however, it’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Indeed, the organization requires a further CAD 800,000 to meet its ambitious target.

“Something on this scale has never been done by a land trust before,” said Sutherland. “There’s still work to be done, and we still need Nova Scotians to come forward.”

Collaboration Needed between the Province & Private Owners

So far, Nova Scotia’s Government has designated 9.9% of the province as a wilderness area, placing it ever closer to its target of protecting of 12%, as promised under the 2007 Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.

With 85% of Nova Scotia’s coast in private ownership, however, there is an obvious need for closer collaboration between the Province and private landowners.

“Many of (the landowners) have expressed an interest; some of them are in process of working towards protection of them and other ones will probably be more long-term goals,” said Peter Green, the Nova Scotia Natural Trust’s conservation manager.

The trust is working through the deeds of the remaining properties and is confident of further successes. After all, as Sutherland explains: “There are few opportunities in the world, certainly in North America, to protect islands on that scale.” Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

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