Working on nature conservation issues in New Brunswick can be challenging, but also rewarding. Over this past year the staff and volunteers of CPAWS NB have been quite busy, and we expect to be just as busy in the year(s) to come. As the new year is about to dawn we thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of the highlights of our work.
One exciting area of work has been on the topic of
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Following the last federal election, the government made a commitment to reach a target of protecting 10 percent of Canada’s oceans by 2020. We have been involved in meetings with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, environment supporters and people in the fishing community and the towns around the Bay of Fundy, and we anticipate many, many more. We will not be content until MPAs are brought to the Bay of Fundy, protecting its many important ecosystems and species. For more about this, see http://www.protectbayoffundy.ca/ and add your voice at the bottom of the page.
You might have seen in the news this year many stories about the development of snowmobile trails in and around Mount Carleton Provincial Park. When we learned about it we became quite concerned, and worked with the Friends of Mount Carleton to bring a temporary halt to plans to develop a trail up Mount Carleton itself. We are now in the middle of an Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed work – the proponents of the plan have submitted their plans and report, we have submitted our comments, and soon it will go to the Department of Environment for a full analysis. We feel that the mountain is no place for motorized vehicles, so we intend to stay on top of this issue. Stay tuned to our website for updates, and please let the government know how you feel about it.
This past year the provincial government put together a committee to receive input from the public on climate change and what New Brunswick should be doing about it. Roberta Clowater, our executive director, made a presentation to the committee, emphasizing the importance that the conservation of natural areas in and around our communities can play in buffering us from the effects of climate change. The government has now released its action plan on climate change, and it is very promising. The plan recognizes the importance of nature, of working with NGOs and communities to develop local and regional plans, and of taking climate change into consideration for all decisions about activity in this province (including forestry!). We can see that this file is going to keep us very busy.
Along with the above, we have also continued our school program, Watch Your Paws, educating our youth about the importance of nature. We held a number of outings with citizens of all ages in different areas of the province. We have participated in the Get Outside NB program, placing young Park Leaders in provincial parks in the summer to guide activities and increase nature interpretation for our visitors. We have worked with community leaders on developing climate change adaptation plans. We have continued to advocate for the conservation of nature in our province at every available opportunity. (Information about these things and many more are found throughout our website.)
And in the coming year, we are going to continue to do all this and more! That is why it is important to us to have the support of citizens of New Brunswick, who provide us with the encouragement to continue this work. We also rely on donations to pay for this work, so if you can, take a moment to donate to us this year. You can do that online or by contacting our office. The nature of New Brunswick is important to all of us, and together we can make sure it is here for future generations to experience.
Happy New Year, everybody, and be sure to keep in touch!