NSE issues clarification on Protected Areas target

Francis Martin, Deputy Minister Nova Scotia Environment sent this message out on July 19, 2018 (I happened to be on the mailing list):

Regarding the recent CBC reporting on protected areas and to clarify, there has been no change of direction by government. Nova Scotia remains focused on achieving our provincial goal of 13 per cent protected land. No decision has been made by government – positive or negative – with respect to protecting additional lands from the plan once the 13% goal has been reached. We will look at next steps once we reach the 13% goal. Also, all lands identified in the plan for which a protection decision has not been made will remain under the current interim management policy until a decision is made by government on these sites.

The CBC story she referenced: Nova Scotia government has no timeline for completing its protected land goal
Michael Gorman · CBC News · Posted: Jul 18, 2018

View also
What’s Next: Parks and Protected Areas to 2020 and Beyond
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society July 2018

From page 33 on Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia has made reasonably good progress in recent years creating new protected areas. The Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan was a big step in the right direction and, when fully implemented, will legally protect about 14% of the provincial landmass. The full implementation of the Plan is the most important thing that the Nova Scotia government can do in the short term to improve Nova Scotia’s performance on protected areas. Although the final version of the plan was approved almost 5 years ago, only half of the sites have been officially implemented. Those sites need to be designated without delay.

Even when the Plan is fully implemented, significant gaps will still remain in the protected areas system in Nova Scotia and the province will still fall short of the national 17% protected areas target. To address this shortcoming, the provincial government should initiate a province-wide conservation assessment to identify opportunities to fill gaps and to establish better connectivity between existing protected sites.

Another challenge for the Nova Scotia government is the overall lack of public land in the province. Funds dedicated to the purchase of private lands for protected areas need to be re-established by the provincial government, which also needs to work collaboratively with the federal government to access the new “Nature Fund” to help with protected area establishment and planning.

This statement is followed by 5 recommendations.

Given the campaign of MANS to open up protected areas for mining, the recent elevation of mining to a separate dept in the NS government, the movement in the US under Trump to open up protected forests to mining and logging and the recent election of Trump-emulating Doug Ford in Ontario*, it’s not surprising that many Nova Scotians are nervous about our Protected Areas.
*See, e.g., Walsh and Gibbs: Why Doug Ford’s science cuts could hurt Ontario
Katie Gibbs & Kathleen Walsh in the Ottawa Citizen, July 20, 2018

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