Atlantic Canada’s first community forest and a new Mineral Resources Act are just two of the achievements outlined in a progress report on the province’s 10-year natural resources strategy.
The progress report, released today, Aug. 16, on the fifth anniversary of the Path We Share, A Natural Resources Strategy for Nova Scotia, provides an update on all 23 goals and 91 actions.
“We have made great progress and we are marking only the half-way point,” said Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines. “This is an on-going process and we will continue to adapt and improve the way we manage our biodiversity, forests, geological resources and parks.
“In the meantime, we have built great partnerships across government, with non-government organizations, and with the Mi’kmaq. And we are encouraging an even stronger culture of shared stewardship with industry and Nova Scotians.”
The plan identified four goals from consultations with Nova Scotians: collaborative leadership, sustainable resource development, research and knowledge sharing, and good governance. The vision was to bring together individuals and groups interested in the province’s natural resources and work with them to manage those resources for the benefit of all Nova Scotians.
Ducks Unlimited is one of those interested groups. The organization has worked with the Department of Natural Resources to secure and manage wetlands across the province and to deliver environmental education and awareness programs through schools and the provincial wildlife park in Shubenacadie.
“Conservation of our wetlands and natural areas in Nova Scotia is best achieved through collaboration of conservation organizations, landowners, industry and government,” said Tom Duffy, manager of Atlantic operations.
As a result of the Natural Resources Strategy, the province has developed:
— Atlantic Canada’s first Community Forest, a Crown land forest managed by local people to benefit the local economy
— a Parks and Protected Areas Plan to secure and strengthen the province’s park system and to legally protect land for conservation
— an updated Mineral Resources Act, which reduces red tape, streamlines processes, and also helps ensure the sustainability of our land
— a government-supported Cape Breton Privateland Partnership, which helps landowners and forest-management contractors share best forest management practices
— with the help of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, a tracking program for the province’s endangered bat species, which is at risk due to white-nose syndrome
— greater transparency by sharing natural resources data on publicly accessible websites
— a mineral incentive grant program that is stimulating exploration across Nova Scotia
“The strategy makes it clear that the general public and stakeholder groups want more say in the management of Nova Scotia’s natural resources,” said Will Martin, co-chair of the Medway Community Forest Co-op. “By supporting the development of the Medway Community Forest, government took a bold step to open the opportunity for a diversity of interests to work together and lead the decisions that affect their communities. The courage to pilot new ideas like this, experimenting and learning as we go, is vital to building a sustainable future for Nova Scotia.”
Upcoming initiatives include a new forest operating agreement with Mi’kmaq, a report on the state of the forests, and a new Crown Land Forest Resource Management Policy.
To read the progress report, visit http://novascotia.ca/natr/strategy/ .