On the ground conservation work in support of the endangered piping plover has been cut by Environment Canada without explanation. Two of Nature Canada’s provincial affiliates, Island Nature Trust in PEI
and Nature New Brunswick,
have been impacted by the decision. Each group is receiving less than half of the amount they requested.
We are not talking about large amounts of money here. Moreover the work done by these groups is often done in collaboration with volunteers from the naturalist communities in the area. This results in significant leveraging of resources and has a big impact on the ground. Nature Canada has been supporting work by communities at Important Bird Areas for almost 10 years now and has found that for every dollar invested we get $10 worth of services.
Most important is the impact this may have on the breeding success of piping plovers who nest in Eastern Canada. There are likely fewer that 500 of these birds. Last year Nature Canada threatened the government with legal action if it did not identify critical habitat in the recovery strategy for the piping plover. This threat did result in the partial identification of critical habitat. Now there is less money to take action to protect these habitats. Yet another indication of the priority placed by the Conservative government on the plight of endangered species in Canada.