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AGM 2004

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The 2004 Annual General Meeting of Nature Canada was held on May 28, 2004 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Nature Canada Board of Directors

The following individuals were elected as returning or new directors to the Board.

  • John Pratt
  • Louise Gratton
  • Ken Thorpe
  • Anne Murray
  • Peter Lee
  • Mark Dorfman
  • Doug Schmeiser

Nature Canada Awards

Nature Canada is proud to celebrate the achievements of the following recipients of  the Nature Canada Awards.

  • Colin Stewart, recipient of the Douglas H. Pimlott Award
  • Pomquet Coastal Guardians and Gart Bishop and Martin Wilson, recipients of the Conservation Partner Award

Nature Canada Resolutions

The following resolutions were adopted at the 2004 AGM.

Resolution 2004-1: Nature Canada Resolution – Establishment of Manitoba Lowlands National Park

WHEREAS the establishment of Manitoba Lowlands National Park is a key element of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan to create ten new national parks and five new national marine conservation areas by 2008; WHEREASon March 19, 2004 the governments of Canada and Manitoba signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) respecting the establishment of a national park in the Manitoba Lowlands region of Manitoba, and committing them to work together to conclude consultations and negotiations for a national park establishment agreement by May 2005; WHEREAS Manitoba’s Interlake region is home to boreal forest, shoreline and wetlands along Lake Winnipeg, important habitat for species such as woodland caribou, migratory birds, elk and moose, brown bats, critical fish spawning areas, and karst landforms; WHEREAS the CNF passed a resolution in 1996 expressing support for protecting four component areas within the National Park, namely Long Point, Little Limestone, Hecla-Grindstone, and Deere and Black Islands; WHEREAS the province of Manitoba provided regulatory protection for Hecla-Grindstone, and Deere and Black Islands in spring 1997; WHEREAS the Manitoba Lowlands region is among the most altered and threatened landscapes in the country, the proposed national park lands are under intense pressure from development, and there are no formal legal interim protection measures in place. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the CNF congratulate the Governments of Manitoba and Canada on the signing of the Manitoba Lowlands National Park MOU; AND that the CNF call upon the governments to ensure that the boundaries of the park are such that they protect the representative and unique natural features of the region; ANDthat the CNF call upon the governments to initiate planning in the area surrounding the park to identify measures that will maintain ecological integrity for the Manitoba Lowlands National Park, particularly given that the various Park components are not contiguous; AND that the CNF call on the Manitoba Government to ensure that no development licenses, permits or leases are issued within the boundary of the Manitoba Lowlands National Park Area of Interest prior to the establishment of the Park.

Resolution 2004-2: Resolution on the Trans Labrador Highway Project (Phase III)

WHEREAS the proposed completion phase of the Trans Labrador Highway will require transiting one of the last remaining undisturbed areas of south-central Labrador, which includes the Mealy Mountains and the Eagle River watershed; WHEREAS the Mealy Mountains and adjacent areas have been proposed by Parks Canada for a new national park; WHEREAS the Mealy Mountains is home to a population of woodland caribou that is in decline and is listed as threatened; WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has decided upon a more southerly route for the highway that avoids the central Mealy Mountains and the headwaters of the Eagle River; WHEREAS experience in Labrador and elsewhere has shown that the penetration of a highway into a wilderness area previously protected by its relative inaccessibility greatly increases the potential for the disturbance and indiscriminate taking of wildlife – the most recent example being the illegal killing of caribou in the range of another threatened population, the Red Wine herd, where access was gained by means of an existing section of the Trans Labrador Highway; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Nature Federation commend the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for its choice of a route for the Trans Labrador Highway that avoids the central part of the study area for the proposed Mealy Mountains / Akamiuapishku National Park. AND the Canadian Nature Federation recommend to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that they: With First Nations and other interested groups, develop a management plan and public education strategy that will ensure protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat in the areas being opened up by the Trans Labrador Highway; and In cooperation with federal agencies, provide the resources necessary to enforce compliance with legislation respecting wildlife and the environment.

Resolution 2004-3: Resolution on Proposed Logging Road Adjacent to Pukaskwa National Park

WHEREAS plans to build a network of logging roads in immediate proximity to the northern boundary of Pukaskwa National Park are contained in Domtar Forest Products’20-year Forest Management Plan for the White River Forest. WHEREAS the road network will help significantly isolate and fragment the habitat of Pukaskwa National Park from the surrounding landscape. WHEREAS Road 770 will bisect the territories of at least four of Pukaskwa’s seven known wolf packs, and wolf mortality for the Pukaskwa packs is already very high at 32% annually, with 47% due to human causes (shot, snared, hit by car, truck or train) WHEREAS there are no limits on the hunting or trapping of wolves in Ontario, and Pukaskwa National Park is one of only a few protected areas in Ontario that prohibits these activities and is large enough to sustain viable wolf populations. WHEREAS he Ontario Woodland Caribou Recovery Team has designated the area surrounding Pukaskwa National Park as a “caribou recovery zone” and has specifically recommended that all steps be taken to avoid isolating remaining populations in parks such as Pukaskwa. WHEREAS roads in wilderness areas are known to divide up intact habitat areas, interfere with the movement of wildlife, directly destroy habitat, and allow for increased legal and illegal access that can dramatically increase pressure on wildlife from hunting, fishing and poaching. WHEREAS the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Parks Canada have been unable to come to agreement on key siting, access, mitigation and closure issues on Road 770 through a formal Issues Resolution Process, and Parks Canada has subsequently requested an individual provincial environmental assessment be undertaken to address these outstanding issues. WHEREAS the Canadian Nature Federation together with a coalition of conservation organizations has separately petitioned the Ontario and federal governments to request that a full environmental assessment be undertaken with respect to Road 770 THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Nature Federation call upon the Ontario and federal governments to undertake, separately or jointly, a full environmental assessment of the proposed Road 770 adjacent to Pukaskwa National Park.

Resolution 2004-4: Resolution on the Cheviot Coal Mine and Jasper National Park

WHEREAS Cardinal River Coals Ltd. applied in 1996 to the Alberta and federal governments for approval to develop an open-pit coal mine and processing plant known as the Cheviot Coal Project less than 3 kilometers from the boundary of Jasper National Park and on lands zoned by the province as Critical Wildlife habitat and rated as an Environmentally Significant Area of national significance; WHEREAS the Canadian Nature Federation issued the attached resolution in 1997 calling on the federal and provincial authorities to withhold approval of the Cheviot Project and explore the alternatives proposed by the intervenors during the federal-provincial hearings, and calling on the federal government to uphold its responsibilities under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the World Heritage Convention to assure protection of Jasper National Park; WHEREAS Cardinal River Coals Ltd. received conditional approval in 2000 to proceed with the mine, but did not proceed at that time due to poor economic viability; WHEREAS a number of the conditions of the original approval have not been met, most notably the implementation of a framework for grizzly bear conservation in the region and the undertaking of base-line studies on wildlife movement; WHEREAS the federal court has ruled that the Project proposal to dump excavated rock on the nesting grounds of Harlequin duck would contravene the Migratory Birds Convention Act; WHEREAS the Fisheries Act authorization for the original project was struck down by the Federal Court; WHEREAS Elk Valley Coal Corporation (formerly Cardinal River Coals Ltd.) is now moving ahead with a new Cheviot Mine proposal that includes the construction and 24 hours-per-day use of a 22-kilometer haulroad roughly paralleling the eastern boundary of Jasper National Park and located in Harlequin duck habitat. WHEREAS no approval was sought for this haulroad during the 1997 and 2000 environmental reviews, in part because the haulroad was abandoned early on by the Project proponent due to the major technical, social and environmental implications; WHEREAS Elk Valley Coal Corporation is now proceeding with construction of the haulroad; WHEREAS no environmental assessment has been undertaken of this new project, no Fisheries Act authorizations have been granted, and the provincial approval has been appealed to the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board; WHEREAS both Parks Canada and Environment Canada have raised significant concerns about this new Cheviot Coal Project; WHEREAS the Canadian Nature Federation, together with a coalition of conservation organizations, have requested that the Ministers of Environment and of Fisheries and Oceans use their powers under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to request a full panel review of the new Cheviot Coal Project.THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Nature Federation call on the federal government to urgently move to protect the ecological integrity of Jasper National Park and to protect the significant migratory bird habitat of the project area by exercising its duties under CEAA to invoke a panel review and public hearings of this new Cheviot Coal Project. AND the Canadian Nature Federation call on the Alberta Government to protect the Mountain Park – Cardinal wildland by designating it a Wildland Park under the Provincial Parks Act.

Resolution 2004-5: Resolution on the Cheviot Coal Mine and Jasper National Park

WHEREAS the Scott Islands are a group of five islands offshore of Cape Scott at the Northwestern tip of Vancouver Island; WHEREAS the Scott Islands have been identified as a globally significant Important Bird Area, supporting the densest congregation of breeding seabirds in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, including 55% of the global population of Cassin’s Auklet, 7% of the world’s Rhinoceros Auklets, and 2% of the global population of Tufted Puffin, as well as greater than 1% of the national concentrations of eight other seabirds; WHEREASthe Canadian Nature Federation passed a resolution in 2002 commending the governments of Canada and British Columbia for working towards the effective establishment of an MPA in the Scott Islands area of interest, and calling on them to:

  • Work towards establishing a Marine Protected Area within the Scott Island region, with ecologically-based MPA boundaries and protection measures that minimize existing and potential threats to seabirds;
  • Ensure ongoing discussions with First Nations regarding the designation of a Marine Protected Area within the Scott Islands region; and
  • Engage in effective consultation with local communities and other key interests to find constructive means of accommodating appropriate permissible uses within the MPA

WHEREAS the federal government has initiated a formal process in October 2003 to establish the Scott Islands Marine Wildlife Area that includes a scientific assessment, an analysis of the area mineral and resource potential, a socio-economic analysis, public consultations, targeted consultations, the formation of an advisory committee, and separate discussions with area First Nations. WHEREAS the five islands in the Scott Islands group are currently protected through a series and provincial parks and ecological reserves, and the purpose of the proposed marine wildlife area is to provide complementary protection for the foraging range of area seabirds. WHEREAS the British Columbia government has failed to demonstrate their clear support for the creation of the Scott Islands Marine Wildlife Area or to effectively participate in the planning process. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVEDthe Canadian Nature Federation calls on the British Columbia government to publicly express their support in principle for the Scott Islands MWA, and engage constructively through the planning process towards this end.

Resolution 2004-6:Resolution Calling on the Federal Government to Protect the Critical Wildlife Habitat on 13 Coastal Properties they Own in Atlantic Canada

WHEREASthe Canadian Coast Guard has declared as surplus 13 coastal properties in Atlantic Canada, and has expressed an interested in divesting of them, namely lands at Machias Seal Island (NB), Grindstone Island (NB), Southwest Wolf Island (NB), Cape Jourimain (NB), Portage Island (NB), Caraquet Island (NB), St. Paul Island (NS), Sable Island (NS), Country Island (NS), Isle Haute (NS), Seal Island (NS), Cascumpec Sand Hills (PEI), and Cape Norman (NF) WHEREASthe Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada have been in negotiations for six years regarding the transfer and protection of these lands as national wildlife areas; WHEREASeight of the properties are home to birds at risk listed under SARA, including Piping plovers, Harlequin duck, Peregrine falcon, Roseate tern, Ispwich savannah sparrow and Bicknell’s thrush; WHEREASthe effective management of three of these sites is absolutely essential to the recovery of the endangered Roseate Tern, of which there are less than 200 breeding pairs in Canada; WHEREASseven of the sites are recognized as Important Bird Areas of national or global significance, including the most important seabird colony in the Bay of Fundy and one of the most important stopover sites for shorebirds in eastern North America; WHEREASthe federal government has made a commitment to Canadians to demonstrate leadership in the protection of habitat and recovery of species at risk, particularly in areas of federal jurisdiction; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Nature Federation calls on the Ministers of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans to work cooperatively together to allow for the effective transfer of these lands to Environment Canada for the creation of 10 new national wildlife areas and the expansion of three existing NWAs; AND that the Canadian Nature Federation calls on the federal government to allocate the necessary resources for the effective ongoing management of these lands by Environment Canada.

Resolution 2004-7:Legal Listing under the Federal Species at Risk Act

WHEREAS the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) was enacted by Parliament on December 12, 2002 and was declared in force on June 5, 2003; WHEREAS the purposes of this Act are to “prevent wildlife species from becoming extirpated or extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.” WHEREAS the legal listing of species at risk under SARA is the starting point for ensuring their effective protection and recovery; WHEREAS the eminent Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has assessed or reassessed 91 species that it deems to be at risk of extinction since the passage of SARA in the House of Commons, WHEREAS the Canadian Nature Federation has recommended strongly that only scientific and traditional knowledge considerations be evaluated by the federal government in determining whether or not to place a wildlife species onto SARA’s legal list; WHEREAS the federal Ministers of the Environment and Fisheries and Oceans have instead initiated public consultations to assess the costs and benefits of adding 73 of these 91 species to SARA’s legal list; WHEREAS the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is further deferring by up to two years a decision on whether or not to add twelve of these marine species at risk onto SARA’s legal list; WHEREAS the Minister of the Environment has declined a request for the emergency listing of two populations of Sockeye Salmon after failing to respond to COSEWIC’s request for 18 months; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Canadian Nature Federation calls on the federal government to respect the need to extend SARA’s protection to all of Canada’s species at risk; AND the Canadian Nature Federation calls on the Minister of the Environment to ensure that scientific and traditional knowledge considerations are the sole factors employed in determining whether or not to recommend adding species at risk to SARA’s legal list; AND the Canadian Nature Federation calls on the federal government to respect the spirit and letter of SARA by updating SARA’s legal list within nine months of receiving COSEWIC’s species assessments; AND the Canadian Nature Federation calls on the Minister of the Environment to respect the need for, and use of, the emergency listing provisions of SARA.

Resolution 2004-8:Maintaining the Moratorium on Offshore Oil and Gas Activity in British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Basin

WHEREAS the Government of Canada announced in March 2003 that it would proceed with public and science reviews of whether or not to lift the federal moratorium on British Columbia offshore oil and gas activity in the Queen Charlotte sedimentary basin; WHEREAS any such exploration or development would jeopardize the area’s important biological capital, including unique marine ecosystems, vital seabird breeding and foraging habitat for millions of birds interspersed between twenty-eight Important Bird Areas, and species at risk such as sockeye salmon, Steller sea lion, and marbled murrelet; WHEREAS the February 2004 Royal Society science review of the British Columbia offshore oil and gas moratorium concluded that there are large gaps in the scientific knowledge of the area’s ecosystems and a need to establish a series of marine protected areas in the Queen Charlotte Basin; WHEREAS the Canadian Nature Federation has emphasized that it is essential that the federal and provincial governments and First Nations put in place a network of marine protected areas designed to protect representative and distinctive habitats before any assessment of the feasibility of oil and gas development; WHEREAS the federal government has an obligation and commitment to protect marine ecosystems and biodiversity, explicitly stated in its Canadian Oceans Strategy; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Canadian Nature Federation urge the federal government to maintain its moratorium on oil and gas exploration or development off the coast of British Columbia, to fully implement and commit the necessary resources to the Canadian Oceans Strategy, and in particular to establish a representative network of marine protected areas along the Pacific Coast.

Resolution 2004-9:Newfoundland and Labrador Protected Areas Plan

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has proclaimed that its vision is to protect, in an unimpaired condition, large wilderness areas, representative areas of all provincial ecoregions, and areas which contain rare natural phenomena, so as to preserve the diversity and distinctiveness of the province’s natural heritage; WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has made repeated commitments to release a Natural Areas Plan for public review, including statements in “ A Strategy to Protect Newfoundland and Labrador’s Natural Areas” ( 2000) and in “Caring for our Special Places – A Framework” (2004); WHEREAS The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has enacted one of Canada’s premier pieces of legislation ( the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act) that provides a mechanism to proceed with protecting the outstanding and representative natural heritage features of the province; WHEREAS only about 2.2 % of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is currently protected as natural areas; WHEREAS The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recognizes that there is a need to expand and accelerate its level of protection to include representative portions of each of the 29 provincial ecoregions and the many special natural sites such as seabird colonies, rare plants locations and globally significant fossil sites; WHEREAS there has been a significant amount of work undertaken to prepare a Natural Areas Plan by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador with the support of other governmental and non-governmental agencies; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Canadian Nature Federation commend the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for its commitment to developing and releasing a Natural Areas Plan AND the Canadian Nature Federation recommend to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that it immediately release its Natural Areas Plan for public review.

Resolution 2004-10: Resolution Calling on the Federal Government to Conduct Studies to Advance the Protection of the Bay of Fundy as a National Marine Conservation Area and Examine Potential for Establishment of National Marine Wildlife Areas in the Bay

WHEREAS the Bay of Fundy is recognized worldwide as a unique marine area with exceptionally high productivity and species diversity, including over 100 fish species and more than 800 species of benthic invertebrates, and is critically important as a migratory bird staging, summering and wintering area with 14 globally-significant Important Bird Areas and two of continental significance; WHEREAS the upper portion of the Bay of Fundy is still relatively pristine; WHEREAS the Federal Government is committed to establishing national marine conservation areas in each of Canada’s 29 National Marine Conservation Area Natural Regions under the National Marine Conservation Act, including Fundy National Redgion which is not yet represented in the system; WHEREAS the Federal Government also has the mandate to create National Marine Wildlife Areas under the Canada Wildlife Act; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Nature Federation calls on the federal Minister of Environment to commit to advancing identification of candidate sites for the Fundy National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA); AND that the Canadian Nature Federation urge Parks Canada to consider the entire Bay of Fundy up to the western end of Fundy National Park in New Brunswick and Cape Chignecto in Nova Scotia as a candidate for Fundy NMCA; AND that the Canadian Nature Federation calls on the federal Minister of Environment to also examine the potential for establishing one or a series of National Marine Wildlife Areas in the Bay of Fundy.

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