Today, Oct. 31, government asked the Mersey Woodlands Advisory Committee to review a recent forest harvest near Lake Panuke, Hants Co.
The advisory committee represents interest groups such as forest contractors, fish and game associations, municipalities, paddlers, conservationists, off-highway vehicle operators and other outdoor enthusiasts.
In late August, a mill was working near Lake Panuke with a licence from the Natural Resources Department. Special forestry practices were required because the land is a travel corridor for wildlife, including the mainland moose. Since then, some environmental groups contend the land was improperly harvested.
“It’s important to ensure that best practices are being followed so I’ve asked for this review,” said Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill. “We want to ensure that Nova Scotians have a high level of trust and understanding of how the government manages its lands.”
Mersey Woodlands Advisory Committee chair Gordon Beanlands, member David Dagley and an independent professional forestry auditor will advise whether harvest practices used comply with provincial legislation, regulation and policies.
Mr. Beanlands has a doctorate in Ecology and was director of Environment Canada and Dalhousie University’s school for resource and environmental studies. He was senior vice-president, international, for Jacques Whitford Environment Ltd. and has authored several academic papers and industry guidelines used around the world.
David Dagley is the secretary of the Queens County Fish and Game Association and an affiliate director with the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters. He was a member of the Tobeatic Advisory Group, which helped develop a management plan for that wilderness area. He is also a director of the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association.
The committee is expected to report to government by the end of November.