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Mar 30 07

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No Time to Lose, Extinction is Forever
All political parties urged to put aside politics and ensure Bill passes by summer

Toronto, Ontario - Ontario\'s revised Endangered Species Act proceeded to second reading yesterday. Bill 184 is the result of extensive public and industry consultations carried out by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). With opposition parties now calling for even more delay, Ontario\'s leading environmental groups today are underlining the necessity for quick action.

"It\'s obvious that some special interests want to slow or stop this Bill. This is a win-win piece of legislation for the people of Ontario and its wildlife. If this Bill isn\'t passed in this legislative session, it will likely become extinct, just like many of our treasured species of plants and animals," says Aaron Freeman, Policy Director for Environmental Defence.

The proposed package of new legislation and programs, which includes a new $18 million stewardship fund to assist landowners in protecting wildlife habitat, is intended to provide effective protection for Ontario\'s approximately 200 endangered species and their habitats. Action is urgently needed, say the groups, because for those plants and animals for which trends are known, over 75% are either already gone from Ontario or are on their way to disappearing.

"We have no time to lose," explains Wendy Francis, Director of Conservation and Science for Ontario Nature. "There are about 200 endangered plants and animals in Ontario, which is nearly 40% of all of the endangered species across Canada. In other words, we have the dubious distinction of having the most work to do to protect and recover endangered species. Let\'s get on with it!"

"Politicians come and go, but extinction is forever," adds Janet Sumner, Executive Director of CPAWS-Wildlands League. "Every day that we delay, species like the Woodland Caribou lose more and more of the forests upon which they depend for survival. If certain politicians and interest groups succeed in delaying effective legislation, the public will hold them accountable for exacerbating Ontario\'s endangered species crisis."

The groups point out that the calls for more consultation lack substance. Pre-bill consultation began in May 2006 with a detailed discussion paper distributed to all interested stakeholders. This was followed by a two-month public consultation period required by Ontario\'s Environmental Bill of Rights. Then a nine-member government-appointed panel of scientists and legal experts was struck to identify the best options for a revised Endangered Species Act. It produced a report, which was released to the public for comment in November 2006. Further stakeholder input sessions were then convened, followed by another 30-day public consultation period under the Environmental Bill of Rights in December 2006 and January 2007. Meanwhile, the MNR carried out a separate Aboriginal community consultation process. After all of this, Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay tabled the revisions to the Endangered Species Act on March 20, 2007. (The details of the public consultation to date, including a summary of the hundreds of public comments received, is found at: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr/speciesatrisk/input.html and in Environmental Bill of Rights File# AB06E6001 at http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca).

The Bill will soon proceed to Legislative Committee hearings where further public input can be provided.

"We strongly support public consultation and congratulate Minister Ramsay for having done extensive consultation even before the Bill was introduced," says Rob Wright, Counsel for Sierra Legal.  "The Premier and the Minister listened to input from all stakeholders and the advice of the Panel. We look forward to the committee hearings to fine-tune the Bill before it is passed."

"We call on all parties to support Bill 184 - a lifeline desperately needed by Ontario\'s nearly 200 endangered plants and animals," says Rachel Plotkin, Policy Analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation.
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)
Wendy Francis, Ontario Nature, (416) 846-2404
Janet Sumner, CPAWS Wildlands League, (416) 971-9453, ext. 39
Robert Wright, Sierra Legal, (416) 368-7533 ext. 31
Rachel Plotkin, David Suzuki Foundation, (613) 796-7999

About Save Ontario\'s Species (http://www.saveontariospecies.ca): S.O.S. is a collaboration among CPAWS Wildlands League, Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature, Sierra Legal and the David Suzuki Foundation. ForestEthics and Western Canada Wilderness Committee also support the S.O.S. Campaign.

 


 


Mar 27 07

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Report reveals ecological crisis in Ontario’s Boreal Forest

Decades of logging and road building taking toll on intact forest and iconic caribou

TORONTO - Conservation groups are responding to an alarming report released today that highlights a growing ecological crisis in Ontario\'s Boreal Forest. The report, released by Global Forest Watch Canada, documents disturbing changes in Ontario\'s forests from years of destructive industrial activities which are pushing threatened species including the woodland caribou closer to extinction and setting Ontario on a precariously, unsustainable path. The groups urge Premier McGuinty to heed these warnings and bolster his government\'s much anticipated climate change plan with protection of Ontario\'s intact Boreal Forest.

"This report is a clarion call," says Anna Baggio, Director Conservation Land Use Planning of CPAWS Wildlands League, "Here is our opportunity to protect the remaining intact Boreal Forest for caribou and for our grandchildren."

The report follows an urgent call from a long list of celebrities and conservation groups to protect Ontario\'s Boreal Forest to save species and mitigate global warming.

"Protecting the carbon stored in intact Boreal ecosystems must be an important part of any government\'s response to global warming," says Wendy Francis, Director of Conservation and Science for Ontario Nature. "This report warns us that our remaining intact forests -- one of our best hopes for fighting global warming---are clearly under threat."

It is estimated that more than 200,000 hectares of Ontario\'s public forests are logged each year - an area more than three times the size of the entire City of Toronto. By removing the vast amounts of carbon stored in these trees, scientific estimates suggest that these logging activities release the equivalent of 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

"Today\'s report underlines the urgent need for an innovative plan for Ontario\'s Boreal Forest," said Sierra Legal Lawyer & Economist, Dr. Anastasia Lintner. "Create sustainable northern economies. Capture carbon. Protect caribou habitat. Require state-of-the-art forest certification.  These are the cornerstones to economically sound global warming solutions."

"Protecting our Boreal Forests must be a key component of any government climate plan," said ForestEthics\' Boreal Campaigner, Leah Henderson. "Through strong environmental leadership we can capture growing green markets for forest products and protect the earth\'s basic ecosystem services - the air we breathe and the water that we drink."

The following groups support the call for Boreal Forest protection in Ontario: ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Markets Initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ontario Nature, Sierra Legal and CPAWS Wildlands League.

For more information, please visit www.savetheboreal.ca or contact:
Anna Baggio, Director, CPAWS Wildlands League
(416) 453-3285 (cell)
Wendy Francis, Director of Conservation and Science, Ontario Nature
(416) 846-2404
Leah Henderson, Boreal Campaigner, ForestEthics
(647) 883-5983 (cell)
Dr. Anastasia Lintner, Staff Lawyer & Economist, Sierra Legal
(416) 368-7533 ext 25
Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director, Markets Initiative
(250) 725-8050 (cell)


Mar 23 07

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CPAWS-Nova Scotia welcomes provincial action on protected areas

The Nova Scotia government announced Monday that it has acquired $27 million worth of private lands from Bowater Mersey Paper Co. Ltd. in southwestern Nova Scotia for conservation purposes. This transaction represents the largest single purchase of conservation lands in Nova Scotia history.

CPAWS-NS worked to ensure that the acquisitions included the most significant ecological features, especially old growth forest sites, rare species habitat (e.g. Blandings Turtle, coastal plain flora), significant wetlands, coastal areas, frontage on significant waterways, sites adjacent to existing protected areas, and sites important for landscape connectivity.

A total of 29 parcels of high-value conservation lands were acquired, with a commitment from the Premier of Nova Scotia to quickly designate the "significant majority" of these acquisitions as protected wilderness areas or nature reserves. The Premier also announced for the first time that the province would pursue a 12% target for protected areas – a major victory in itself!

This announcement follows almost a year’s worth of work by CPAWS-NS to engage the forest industry directly to expand Nova Scotia’s system of protected areas.

Read the press release on the Government of Nova Scotia\'s site.


Mar 22 07

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Federal budget a step forward for nature conservation: CPAWS

CPAWS, Canada’s only national organization dedicated solely to the protection of public wilderness and natural parks, welcomes recent statements by the Prime Minister and other members of his cabinet that protecting Canada’s natural heritage is an important public duty. We view this week’s federal budget commitments for new protected land and marine areas as a positive step towards establishing a long term federal vision and funding commitment for large-scale wilderness conservation.  

CPAWS has urged adoption of a new federal nature conservation action plan that would place Canada at the forefront in protecting intact wilderness – and form a critical part of our country’s response to climate change. 

The 2007 federal budget provides two year funding commitments for several of the conservation priorities CPAWS has identified for federal action, including $10M over two years to establish protected areas in the Northwest Territories; $19M over two years for oceans management; and $110M over two years to implement the Species at Risk Act. 

“We’re pleased that there is some funding in the budget to advance protection of public wilderness lands and waters. Now the federal government needs to develop a long term wilderness conservation program and provide substantial long term funding to implement it,” said Anne Levesque, National Executive Director.  “For Canada to become a world leader in nature conservation we need to protect much greater swathes of our remaining wilderness than we’ve ever done before. It’s going to take a will to act and funding on a larger scale and over a longer time frame.”  

The $10 million over two years announced for NWT protected areas will support important progress on conserving boreal forest in the Northwest Territories, including the protection of sites such as Sahoyúé ehdacho National Historic Site on Great Bear Lake (for which the federal government announced long term funding on March 11), the Nahanni National Park expansion, the Ramparts wetlands (Ts’ude niline Tu’eyeta), the Horn Plateau (Edéhzhie), and a proposed national park on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake.  CPAWS will be looking for continued progress on protected areas and land use planning in the NWT in the coming weeks and months as well as confirmation of long-term funding to support conservation in the long run. 

For marine conservation, the commitment to establish nine new marine protected areas is a step forward, but the $19 million committed over two years is not nearly enough to achieve this commitment, let alone the overall sustainable development, management, and protection of ocean resources outlined in the budget document. 

“This funding is just a drop in the ocean compared to what’s required. To tackle the ecological crisis facing our oceans requires a large scale, long term vision and funding commitment by the federal government.  We recommended that the federal government invest $600 million over five years to achieve this goal.  We will continue to work to get this level of commitment,” said Sabine Jessen, National Manager, CPAWS Oceans and Great Lakes program.  

The $110 million over two years for implementing the Species at Risk Act is a positive step towards effectively protecting species at risk in Canada. CPAWS recommends that this funding focus on developing and implementing effective recovery strategies that identify critical habitat. 

While CPAWS focuses on public land conservation, we also acknowledge the important contribution that the $225 million federal budget investment in private land conservation will make to protecting species at risk and restoring ecological connections between protected areas in southern Canada. 

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For more information:

Ellen Adelberg

Director of Communications

(613) 569-7226 ext 234 

View CPAWS’ recommendations for a Federal Nature Conservation Action Plan at

www.cpaws.org


Mar 22 07

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Nova Scotia makes largest single purchase of conservation lands in provincial history
The Nova Scotia government announced Monday that it has acquired $27 million worth of private lands from Bowater Mersey Paper Co. Ltd. in southwestern Nova Scotia for conservation purposes. This transaction represents the largest single purchase of conservation lands in Nova Scotia history.

CPAWS Nova Scotia worked to ensure that the acquisitions included the most significant ecological features, especially old growth forest sites, rare species habitat (e.g. Blandings Turtle, coastal plain flora), significant wetlands, coastal areas, frontage on significant waterways, sites adjacent to existing protected areas, and sites important for landscape connectivity.

A total of 29 parcels of high-value conservation lands were acquired, with a commitment from the Premier of Nova Scotia to quickly designate the "significant majority" of these acquisitions as protected wilderness areas or nature reserves. The Premier also announced for the first time that the province would pursue a 12% target for protected areas - a major victory in itself!

This announcement follows almost a year\'s worth of work by CPAWS-NS to engage the forest industry directly to expand Nova Scotia\'s system of protected areas.

Mar 21 07

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Orford : Le Dr. Bowen renait pour la manifestation conjointe du 1er anniversaire
Orford, 21 mars 2007 - Dans le cadre du triste premier anniversaire de la mise en vente d\'une partie du Parc national du Mont-Orford, la coalition SOS Parc Orford et la Coopérative de solidarité du Mont-Orford unissent leurs voix pour organiser un rassemblement populaire conjoint. Cet événement aura lieu le 25 mars à midi, soit presqu\'un an jour pour jour après le premier rassemblement populaire tenu à Cherry River en 2006 (Orford). Le Docteur Bowen sera l\'invité spécial de l\'événement, alors qu\'il viendra nous parler de son propre combat lorsqu\'il a participé à la création du Parc national du Mont-Orford il y a de ça plus de 70 ans. De plus, des représentants apolitiques prendront parole devant la mairie d\'Orford pour rappeler aux aspirants dirigeants que la bataille pour sauver le Parc national du Mont-Orford n\'est pas terminée. Sous une ambiance festive et familiale, les deux groupes invitent les citoyens à venir brandir pancartes et clairons le 25 mars prochain à midi, au village de Cherry River (Orford).

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AU SUJET DE LA COALITION SOS PARC ORFORD
La coalition a été créée officiellement le 12 mars dernier afin de mettre fin aux démarches de vente d\'une partie du parc, menaçant l\'intégrité écologique et territoriale du Parc national du Mont-Orford, suite à une décision en ce sens du Gouvernement du Québec. Elle regroupe les partenaires principaux suivants : La société pour la nature et les parcs du Canada (SNAP), Nature Québec / UQCN, CREE, Regroupement Orford pour un parc sans condos auxquels s\'ajoutent en date de ce jour plus de 80 000 citoyens et citoyennes du Québec.

Claude Dallaire (819) 578-7083

AU SUJET DE LA COOPÉRATIVE DE SOLIDARITÉ MONT-ORFORD
La Coopérative de solidarité du mon-Orford regroupe des citoyens qui ont développé un concept quatre-saisons pour prendre la relève des opérations du mont-Orford. Les objectifs sont de préserver les écosystèmes, maintenir et développer des emplois de qualité et de proposer des activités de qualité aux usagers. Le projet est basé sur les besoins des citoyens dans une démarche participative et de développement durable. La coopérative reçoit l\'appui de nombreuses organisations et municipalités.

Michel Lafleur (819) 574-7220

Mar 21 07

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Projet de parc national de la Kuururjuaq

Mémoire présenté au Bureau d\'audiences publiques sur l\'environnement par la Société pour la nature et les parcs du Canada (SNAP).

http://www.snapqc.org/PDF/Kuururjuaq-Memoire (2007-03-12).pdf

RECOMMANDATIONS TIRÉES DU MÉMOIRE:

Recommandation 1 : Création du parc national de la Kuururjuaq
La SNAP appuie le projet de parc national de la Kuururjuaq et recommande qu\'il obtienne un statut permanent de protection dans les meilleurs délais.

Recommandation 2 : Tracé final des limites du parc national
La SNAP recommande de conserver une zone tampon dans les secteurs prisés par l\'industrie minière et d\'établir les limites du parc légèrement au-delà du bassin versant en calquant, lorsque c\'est possible, les limites du territoire mis en réserve en 1992.

Recommandation 3 : Aggrandissements dans les secteurs du lac Tasikallak et du mont Nuvialuk
La SNAP recommande de procéder aux deux agrandissements suggérés par l\'Administration régionale Kativik, soit les secteurs du lac Tasikallak et du mont Nuvulialuk. Dans cette optique, les titres miniers actuellement consentis ne seraient pas renouvelés lors de leur échéance en 2008.

Recommandation 4 : Agrandissement dans le secteur de l\'aire de mise bas du caribou de la rivière George.
La SNAP recommande d\'étudier la possibilité d\'agrandir le projet de parc national de la Kuururjuaq afin d\'inclure, en tout ou en partie, le territoire de l\'aire de mise bas du caribou de la rivière George.

Recommandation 5 : Zonage et acquisition de connaissances
La SNAP appuie la proposition de zonage du parc et recommande de poursuivre les travaux d\'acquisition des connaissances afin que tous les milieux sensibles et tous les éléments exceptionnels puissent être identifiés et éventuellement jouir d\'une protection accrue dans le cadre du plan de zonage.

Recommandation 6 : Aires sacrées
La SNAP recommande d\'étudier, en collaboration avec les Inuits, la possibilité d\'établir une catégorie de zonage pour les aires sacrées, un peu à l\'image de ce qui a été proposé pour le projet de parc national Albanel-Témiscamie-Otish.

Recommandation 7 : Maintien de l\'intégrité du périmètre du projet
La SNAP recommande que le périmètre proposé pour le projet de la Kuururjuaq soit un minimum absolu et qu\'il ne soit en aucun cas modifié pour permettre une expansion des zones d\'exploration minière, par exemple par une Réserve à l\'État.

Recommandation 8 : Recherche scientifique et suivi
La SNAP recommande que les ressources humaines et monétaires adéquates soient consacrées à la connaissance scientifique du territoire et qu\'un véritable programme de suivi et de monitoring soit mis en place.

Recommandation 9 : Activités récréotouristiques
La SNAP recommande un encadrement strict des activités récréotouristiques afin qu\'elles ne menacent pas les ressources biologiques fragiles du territoire du projet de la Kuururjuaq.

Recommandation 10 : Processus de consultation publique
La SNAP recommande une révision du processus de consultation publique pour la création de parcs nationaux en s\'inspirant de la démarche développée pour la création des réserves aquatiques et de biodiversité dans le cadre de la Loi sur la conservation du patrimoine naturel.


Mar 21 07

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CPAWS Wildlands League applauds Ontario government for introducing strongest Endangered Species legi

Toronto, Ontario -- Today, CPAWS Wildlands League, along with Ontario\'s leading environmental groups, are welcoming the McGuinty Government\'s introduction of the new Endangered Species Act in the Legislature.

The introduction of the bill follows extensive public consultation exercises as well as the report of an Expert Panel. The proposed package of new legislation and programs is intended to provide effective protection for Ontario\'s approximately 200 endangered species and their habitats.

Learn more 


Mar 21 07

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Check out our CPAWS Education Awesome Action updates!
Students in southern Alberta are excellent environmental stewards.  Check out the terrific projects that schools have done as part of the education programs provided by CPAWS Calgary/Banff.

» Read more at CPAWS Calgary/Banff

Mar 12 07

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Group applauds establishment of Canada’s newest marine protected area
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is congratulating the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on officially designating New Brunswick\'s Musquash Estuary as Canada\'s sixth marine protected area (MPA) under the Oceans Act.

The Musquash Estuary, located 20 kilometres west of Saint John, is one of the last ecologically intact estuaries in the Bay of Fundy. It provides a rich habitat and a refuge for many species of wildlife.

"CPAWS is pleased to see Minister Hearn completing this long standing proposal for a marine protected area in the Musquash Estuary," says Sabine Jessen, national manager, CPAWS Oceans and Great Lakes Program. "We look forward to the completion of other proposed MPAs, including Bowie Seamount on Canada’s west coast, and to seeing concrete plans for how Canada will meet its international commitments to complete a national network of MPAs by 2012.”

Canada\'s Oceans Act gives DFO the ability to establish marine protected areas to conserve and protect unique habitats, endangered or threatened marine species, commercial and non-commercial fishery resources, marine areas of high biodiversity, and any other marine resource or habitat requiring special protection.

“The Musquash MPA is the result of years of hard work by local conservation groups and individuals and was only possible with cooperation between the municipal, provincial and federal governments,” says Roberta Clowater, executive director of the CPAWS New Brunswick chapter. “We congratulate Minister Hearn, Premier Graham and the Conservation Council of New Brunwick for making this happen.”

MPA designation will prevent further coastal development in this rural, relatively pristine area and aquaculture will not be allowed.

With 13 chapters across the country and over 40 years of experience, CPAWS is one of Canada\'s oldest and most respected, non-profit wilderness protection organization.

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Contact:
Sabine Jessen, 604-685-7445 or 604-657-2813 (cell)
Roberta Clowater, (506) 452-9902

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