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Tues Sep 24 2019 at 6PM at Halifax City Hall: Important Public Hearing on Green Network Plan – re Wildlife Corridors

UPDATE Wed Sep 25, 2019: The Amendment “to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5)”  received unanimous approval at yesterdays meeting of Halifax Regional Council.


Map 5 in the Halifax Green Network Plan
Click on image for larger version and legend

Halifax (HRM) is blessed with phenomenal natural assets. In June of 2018, Regional Council tabled the Final Draft of the The Halifax Green Network Plan  which “provides land management and community design direction to:
– maintain ecologically and culturally important land and aquatic systems;
– promote the sustainable use of natural resources and economically important open spaces; and
– identify, define and plan land suited for parks and corridors”

The Essential and Important Corridors shown in Map 5 above allow movement genetic exchange of plants and animals, large and small, between otherwise isolated patches of natural habitat within HRM and across the boundaries of HRM. Without those corridors, biodiversity and ecosystems services provided by our natural spaces will inevitably decline – such habitat fragmentation and isolation is a major driver of the massive species losses currently in progress globally and locally.

Legislative followup to the HGNP is required to actually protect those corridors and  is urgent as some development has already occurred or been approved within those corridors,

“Consequently, to avoid potential conflicts in the near term, staff recommend a narrowly focused amendment to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5, Green Network Ecology Map, contained in the HGNP. This will provide a clearer, more up-to-date basis for municipal staff and developers to consider such corridors as part of the conservation design development agreement process.”

HRM is only considering this change – it hasn’t happened yet. We need your help to ensure that they amend the Regional Plan to require all conservation design (rural residential development) to plan based on the ecological findings of the Green Network Plan.

What you can do: attend the hearing or write in advance (by 3 pm Monday, Sep 23 see below for venues) to support the amendment, asking HRM to not allow development to compromise connectivity or the ecological network in any way.

Even a few words to your  Councillor and Mayor Savage will help e.g., to  say you are strongly in support of an amendment to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5 .
Read more »

Tree culling at Point Pleasant Park to be discussed on Rick Howe Show Tues 21 May 2019 at 11 am

A wild cherry in bloom at PPP May 19, 2019. What will change at this site, and others, after the cull?

UPDATE: Advocacy group concerned about culling of trees in Point Pleasant
by: Victoria Walton FOR “The Friends of Point Pleasant Park group wants more information on the proposed cull of 80,000 non-native trees in the park”. The 95.7 Interview with Stephanie Robertson can be accessed for a limited time under past episodes. The Rick Howe Show – 9 a.m. for May 21, 2019; The interview begins at ~9:45.

The tree cull planned for Point Pleasant Park is raising some alarms, view links below.

Stephanie Robertson of the Halifax Field Naturalists will be talking about it on Tues 21 May 2019 at 11 am on The Rick Howe Show.

If you miss it, you can catch the audio recording for a couple of days here. Stay Tuned!

More on the Cull

Forestry expert advises caution in Point Pleasant Park tree cull
Pam Berman · CBC News · Posted: May 13, 2019

Massive tree cull in Point Pleasant Park planned for this summer
Paul Palmeter · CBC News · Posted: May 07, 2019
Read more »

Nature Trust’s Historic Land Campaign include two new properties, donations now matched 4:1 until April 5, 2019

From Nova Scotia Nature Trust: “Our Lasting Landscapes campaign was already on track for historic land conservation achievements. Now, an unexpected $400,000 top-up in matching funds means even greater biodiversity wins can be leveraged for Nova Scotia. We just added 2 more potential conservation sites to the 15 already being protected across the province. But to seize this new opportunity, we need to raise another $100,000, and secure both new conservation sites, by April 5, 2019.

“…Bolstered by the outpouring of support to date, we’ve seized this opportunity and signed offers to acquire the two additional properties: one in the Mabou Highlands and another in a popular near-urban wildland just minutes outside of Halifax.

“…All donations will be matched 4 to 1, but only until the April 5 deadline. Please help us save even more land through our Lasting Landscapes Campaign – now up to 17 sites – by donating today!”

April 26 to April 29, 2019: City Nature Challenge – Halifax

Monday Feb 4, 2019: Zoe Lucas at NSIS on Sable Island, A Monitoring Platform for Marine Pollutants

Click on image for full version

Thurs Feb 7, 2019: Nova Scotia Nature Trust Volunteer Coordinator

Ryan MacLean, Volunteer Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, is delighted to join the HFN to talk about her work with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. Ryan will share her personal journey of how she came to work in conservation and discuss her mission to increase engagement in land stewardship initiatives in Nova Scotia. She is passionate about our beautiful province and wants others to explore the wonders of Nova Scotia while being conscious of their impact on the environment. Working in conservation and stewardship has been a lifelong dream and something she truly believes is her life’s work. Come hear from Ryan herself about what lights her fire when it comes to conservation and land stewardship in Nova Scotia. 7:30 p.m. at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History (lower entrance).

Thurs Jan 31, 2019: The Possibility of Gaia

What: “The Possibility of Gaia”, a discussion with Frederic Bouchard (Universite de Montreal), Tim Lenton (University of Exeter), Ford Doolittle (Dalhousie) and Joe Bielawski (Dalhousie).
Read more »

HFN co-litigant in legal action for Nova Scotia’s species at risk

Click on image for source page

“After intense deliberation, the board of the Halifax Field Naturalists has decided to support the lawsuit by becoming co-litigants, as has the Blomidon Naturalists Society.”

Jan 14, 2019 Press Release

Mr. Bob Bancroft and three of Nova Scotia’s naturalists’ societies say it is time to ask the courts to intervene on behalf of Nova Scotia’s most at-risk wildlife and plants.
Read more »

Insect Apocalypse & Some Observations on Moths in Nova Scotia

White-spotted Sable moth, spotted on Round Hill , Nova Scotia by Bev Wigney

Writing in Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology, a public Facebook group, Connie A. posted a link to a NY Times article, The Insect Apocalypse is Here (subtitle; “What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?”).

That prompted area resident Bev W. to comment on some of her observations in Ontario and N.S., and share a photo album of Moths of Round Hill, Nova Scotia. Bev has many more files to add to that, she notes.

Writes Bev:

I’ve been setting up moth lamps and photographing moths here at Round Hill since I bought my land in 2010. There have been changes in the moths in that time — I rarely see the large moths — Luna, Cecropia, and all the Sphinx moths anymore. When I first arrived in 2010, they were quite impressive. I used to set up moth lamps at my farm in Ontario beginning in 2003, and by 2008 when I sold the place, the moth population there had taken a real nose dive. There was a lot of spraying on land close to my property — a 500 acre nursery sod across the road that sprayed and sprayed all summer long — probably herbicides, but also most likely something to kill grubs. I also photographed all kinds of insects and spiders at my farm — basically building a species record for the place — and saw the same decline in species — I would say 2005-2006 was some kind of tipping point. I think this is why we need to be doing bioblitzes — trying to determine base lines of species — not just insects — but amphibians, reptiles, birds, and so on — so that we have a handle on what’s going on — what factors may be behind sudden declines. That information will also be useful in devising recovery strategies — if we can figure out what is causing the decline, perhaps we can eliminate those causes.

The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail reveals ‘new branch’ of evolutionary tree of life

Bluff Trail“It all started when [researcher] Eglit scooped a small amount of soil, from the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail, near Halifax.”
Read more by Ken Doucette in Halifax researchers say newly discovered microbe reveals ‘new branch’ of evolutionary tree of life (The Canadian Press in Global News, Nov 14, 2018)

Will we still have coral reefs 100 years from now?

Since 1980, most coral reefs have experienced at least three episodes of coral bleaching, triggered by global warming. Mass mortality of corals due to bleaching represents a radical shift in the disturbance of tropical reefs, representing a fundamental challenge to the long-term future of these iconic ecosystems. In this talk, Professor Terry Hughes — this year’s A.G. Huntsman Award recipient for Excellence in Marine Sciences — will answer that question during a special, free lecture:
· Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, 7 pm
· Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue, Halifax
· Wine and cheese reception to follow
· All are welcome

Wed Nov 7, 2018: Documentary & Discussion on Forest Bioenergy

The Halifax Field Naturalists Club is one of the partners in showing the film ““Burned – Are Trees the New Coal?” on
November 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

There will be a panel discussion following the film.