Endangered Species Act review could gut wildlife protections

suzuki turtleThe Government of Ontario has set its sights on “improving” Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, posting a discussion paper on the Environmental Registry. However, the paper makes it clear that the province’s primary objective in revisiting the act is not to ensure efficient recovery for Ontario’s at-risk species but, rather, to find even more efficiencies for industries that want to operate in the spaces that species depend upon to live.

Tell the Ontario government to keep species at risk safe

The primary cause of wildlife decline in Ontario (and nationally, and globally) is habitat loss and degradation, for which limits need to be set, not greater efficiencies created.

In 2013, the province passed an amendment that exempts a broad suite of industrial and development activities from the rules against harming endangered and threatened species and their habitats. In other words, the ESA is already failing to effectively safeguard the habitat that wildlife needs.

The provincial government touts itself as a government of the people. If measures to weaken the ESA are greeted with the same outrage that met the province’s proposal to gut protection measures for the Greenbelt, maybe the province will recognize that the people care about wildlife.

We need to ensure that the province upholds a piece of legislation intended to change business-as-usual activities that drive wildlife decline, not pave the way for them. Please send your message to the government now.

Thank you,

Rachel Plotkin

Boreal Program Manager

P.S. Join us for a free webinar on February 20th at 2pm EST to find out what’s at stake with the review of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and what you can do to help. Register here

Good News: Monarchs show signs of recovery

Monarch butterflies, Mexico

We recently received an email from Pete Ewins, Lead specialist, species conversation for the World Wildlife Fund – Canada:

“I wanted to share with you some fantastic news from our colleagues at WWF-Mexico. The area of mountain forest occupied by monarch butterflies this winter increased by 144 per cent over last year.

This is the biggest growth in 12 years and is a sign that the population of monarchs that migrate from Canada and the United States to Mexico may be on the rise, in part due to efforts of supporters like you.

Because we can’t count butterflies individually, scientists instead measure the area of forest the iconic butterfly occupies to get a sense of the overall population. The survey, conducted by WWF-Mexico and partners, found monarchs in 6.05 hectares of forest compared to 2.48 hectares during the same period in winter of 2017-2018.

This increase in butterflies is a testament to the power of conservation and the efforts of committed supporters like you across the continent.

Jorge Rickards, the general director of WWF-Mexico, attributed the increase in monarchs to better protection of the fir and pine forests monarchs hibernate in each winter and collective efforts to restore native plant habitat along the butterfly’s epic migratory route.

Here in Canada, more than 60 elementary and secondary schools have replaced monoculture schoolyards with vibrant pollinator gardens through our Living Planet @ School program. Through our In the Zone native plant gardening program, Go Wild grants and with the support of individuals like you, many more have transformed backyards and community spaces into vital habitat for wildlife.

While these results are to be celebrated, we cannot claim victory just yet. Monarch populations are still drastically lower than they were two decades ago. With you by our side, we’re taking steps in the right direction and will continue to address the threats monarchs face.

Let’s keep the momentum going for this iconic species! Together, we can reverse the decline of wildlife.”

The Countdown to Earth Hour is On!

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For the past 10 years, people around the world have come together for Earth Hour to support efforts to change climate change. Together, we have created a powerful movement that helped deliver strong global commitments to address this threat. Climate change remains a big challenge for us all. But another urgent threat now demands our attention: the loss of nature.

Join us on 30 March 2019, 8:30 pm your local time for Earth Hour. Switch off💡in solidarity with global efforts to secure nature and our home, and speak up on why nature matters to you.

This is our moment to #Connect2Earth.

For more information, visit https://www.earthhour.org/

Photos from Beachville Hike

IDNC enjoyed a great hike along The Thames River at Beachville on January 19th. Thanks to Ken Westcar, Oxford County Trails Council, for the guided tour, outlining work done by volunteers and future plans. Thanks, also, to Ingersoll’s Chocolatea for their delicious hot chocolate that warmed 18 hardy souls at the end!!! Best sighting of the day – a bald 🦅 eagle!

Photo credit – Bill Grant, Club Member
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Bill 66: Important Updates and Actions

Recently, we received an email from Ontario Nature, discussing Bill 66 (Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act):

Dear Carolinian West Nature Network Members,

As most of you are likely aware, Bill 66 (Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act) passed first reading on December 6th, 2018. If passed, this legislation would trump critical environmental protections for land, water and wildlife throughout Ontario. There is a serious misconception that the overriding of environmental protections that this Bill enables is confined largely to the Greater Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt and surrounding areas. This is not true. It affects all municipalities in Ontario and all of your communities.

There are some very important deadlines that you should be aware of:

•        January 20th: Deadline for comments on Bill 66 through the Environmental Registry for Ontario (ERO postings were previously referred to as EBR postings).

•        Bill 66 is on the order paper for second reading on February 19th when the Legislature returns.

•        After passing second reading, Bill 66 goes to committee. So the anticipated third reading and passage of the Bill is early March.

Further Action: Read Ontario Nature’s blog post which which explains the very serious environmental implications of Bill 66: What You Need to Know: (https://ontarionature.org/bill-66-facts/). Sign the online letter that is being sent to Premier Ford, Todd Smith (Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade) who introduced the Bill, Steve Clark (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) and Rod Phillips (Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks) and to share the blog with your networks.

IDNC Annual Christmas Bird Count at the Lawson Nature Reserve.

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Thanks are extended to the eight club members who participated in this year’s annual Christmas Bird Count, held on December 28. Sightings of 15 species from the two-hour walk are noted below along with count numbers from December 2017, for comparison.

Species

2018

2017

American Goldfinch

35

17

Northern Cardinal

13

9

Dark-Eyed Junco

7

36

American Tree Sparrow

0

1

Brown Creeper

0

2

White-breasted Nuthatch

11

9

Black-capped Chickadee

43

23

American Crow

5

3

Blue Jay

5

18

Mourning Dove

1

11

Canada Geese

45

22

Herring Gull

1

0

Hairy Woodpecker

1

0

Downy Woodpecker

12

9

Red-bellied Woodpecker

3

4

Ducks (unidentified)

15

0

Red-tailed Hawk

1

0