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Crucial Deficiencies Remain in Evidence on Trans Mountain Impacts
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Crucial Deficiencies Remain in Evidence on Trans Mountain Impacts

On January 22, 2019 Nature Canada and BC Nature submitted our written final argument to the National Energy Board hearings about how the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline will affect marine ecosystems and impact marine birds and mammals. In our argument, Nature Canada and BC Nature conclude that: “crucial deficiencies remain the evidentiary record that deprive the NEB of the ability to properly discharge its legal duties”. These crucial deficiencies occur in

  • the areas of malfunctions and accidents (resulting in oil spills from tankers),
  • impacts on species at risk,
  • cumulative impacts from chronic oiling, and
  • impacts on marine birds from routine operations.
Nature Canada and BC Nature further maintain that the NEB should not make findings about ecological consequences of such impacts except where the preponderance of evidence justifies a particular finding.  Where there is scientific uncertainty about impacts, the NEB should err on the side of caution and favour a recommendation that the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be justified in the circumstances. Nature Canada stands firm in its conviction that the NEB has not adequately evaluated the potential impact of more oil tankers travelling through the narrow channels of the Salish Sea of British Columbia. Further, the federal government needs to step up to protect threatened marine birds and mammals In the first set of NEB hearings, Nature Canada and BC Nature, represented by Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (Pacific CELL), urged the NEB to conduct an assessment of project-related shipping that would properly consider impacts of a pipeline expansion. The NEB did not take our advice; the NEB’s environmental assessment clearly did not adequately consider risks posed by the proposed pipeline expansion to marine and other birds in the Salish Sea. Our conclusions on this have not changed in the so-called reconsideration hearings, and in fact have been reinforced by updated evidence submitted our expert Anne Harfenist. Under the current conditions, the Trans Mountain project would increase Edmonton to Vancouver pipeline capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day, and result in oil tanks moving almost daily through the Salish Sea past critical habitat. Increasing oil tanker traffic with Trans Mountain bitumen in the Salish Sea, with its powerful winter storms and narrow curving channels, will increase the risk of a catastrophic oil spill. It will also create significant noise disruption to the already endangered Southern Resident Orcas on a daily basis. Nature Canada and BC Nature are again represented at the hearings by Pacific CELL lawyers Chris Tollefson and Anthony Ho.

Why Canada needs to say no to Oil and Gas Drilling in Marine Protected Areas
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Why Canada needs to say no to Oil and Gas Drilling in Marine Protected Areas

The federal government is committed to protecting at least 17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020. These measures of protection are crucial to conserve the important habitats of species at risk in our lands and waters. Protection of Canada's natural places is a vital component of our culture, heritage, economy and our future, as well as of global importance in terms of biodiversity conservation and mitigating climate change. Since 2015, Canada has made significant progress on marine protected areas and now protects nearly 8% of its oceans. Despite those advances, the federal government is still considering allowing oil, gas and mining in some marine protected areas. Oil and gas drilling in marine protection areas?  Many, if not most, Canadians would ask: what’s up with that? Surely creating a ‘marine protected area’ means that oil, gas and mining projects are no longer permitted. Surely these important habitats cannot risk environmental catastrophes similar to the oil spill we recently saw off the coast of Newfoundland that released 250,000 litres of crude oil into the ocean.


The public controversy as to whether to allow of oil and gas drilling in protected areas led to the establishment of an expert panel on standards for marine protected areas. The good news is that the panel recommended strengthening ocean protections. The bad news? The government is under pressure from oil and gas interests to keep these protections weak.  Industry wants to see oil and gas drilling still allowed in some types of marine protected areas. Fortunately for all nature lovers, there is something that can be done. It is not too late to strengthen the protection of important marine habitats and to ensure that marine wildlife species like the Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle and beloved Atlantic Puffin continue to thrive.

Share our petition with your family and friends to raise awareness around the protection of marine areas today! If we raise our voices for nature in Canada today, we will be able to protect it for generations to come.


Stephen spoke to reporter James Wilt from The Narwhal, stating that “I reject the idea that greenhouse gas emissions are not a matter of federal interest and authority,” and that “Given that climate change could destroy human civilization, maybe it might be a good idea to include high-carbon projects for assessment under the new legislation,” Read this story here.

National Conservation Plan: Great news, but HOW will we make it a success? [PART 2]
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National Conservation Plan: Great news, but HOW will we make it a success? [PART 2]

[This blog post is part 2 of a 2-part series. Part 1 can be found here]

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]o it’s Canada Environment Week — did you know? More importantly, did you know that in mid-May the federal government made a significant commitment to conservation in Canada? Notwithstanding what’s missing, the National Conservation Plan does promise $20 million/year and $10 million/year investments in the Nature Conservancy of Canada (for ecologically sensitive areas) and wetland restoration, respectively, which is very positive. It’s fair to question how these investments will help to connect all Canadians to nature, however, since they seem to be focused on protecting private lands, instead of lands (not waters) that will be publicly owned and accessible, or located in or near large population centres. After all, more than 80% of us presently live in urban centres. So how will the government ensure that it delivers on the National Conservation Plan’s promise to connect urban Canadians to nature? There’s less and less capacity within departments like Environment Canada and Parks Canada to develop and deliver these programs and neither Budget 2014 nor the Plan assign this mandate to any specific department. It’s very positive to see the government reaching out to conservation partners like Earth Rangers and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, but this task will require many more players working with a variety of approaches to engage Canada’s increasingly distracted, increasingly culturally diverse and increasingly urban population in this venture – or as Prime Minister Harper puts it, this “ethic of true stewardship… of the heart”. You can’t change people’s minds, attitudes or behaviours simply with an advertising campaign, no matter how well produced or widely broadcast it is. As proponents of community-based social marketing would advise, you first need to understand the real and perceived barriers to the beneficial behaviour(s) you want people to adopt and then work to remove or overcome those barriers. The most effective approach to making these beneficial behaviours stick is to work locally where people can observe more and more of their neighbours and peers gradually adopting the behaviours over time. Curb-side recycling is the best example of this – no one wants to be the only resident on the street who doesn’t recycle. Hopefully this strategic approach to engaging Canadians and fostering a new nationwide conservation ethic is inherent in the thinking behind the National Conservation Plan, but we’ll have to wait and see. [caption id="attachment_11934" align="alignright" width="300"]Cars stuck in traffic on a multi-lane highway in a Canadian City. More than 80% of Canadians currently live in or near urban centres.[/caption] Of course, we’ve got no time to lose since our relationship with nature is only becoming more broken with time, to paraphrase host Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio’s program Q. We should point to another significant oversight in the Conservation Plan: the private sector. If we want a wholesale, Canadian stewardship ethic to begin evolving in the next 5 years, wouldn’t it make sense to engage the businesses driving our commerce and trade (domestic and international), selling us consumer goods and providing countless services to Canadians? Shouldn’t we have the opportunity to nurture our heartfelt stewardship ethic at the cash register? The gas pump? The grocery store? Moreover, businesses and industry may be driven by heart, but their actions in the market and on the ground are governed by regulation. And in order to make a National Conservation Plan truly relevant, it must be espoused and endorsed by industry and the private sector. Don’t get us wrong, we think the National Conservation Plan is a good step in the right direction, and we applaud the government for making this bold commitment. But let’s make sure this isn’t just an investment in good feelings.

National Conservation Plan: Great news, but HOW will we make it a success? [PART 1]
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National Conservation Plan: Great news, but HOW will we make it a success? [PART 1]

[This blog post is part 1 of a 2-part series. Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2]

[dropcap style="default"]S[/dropcap]o it’s Canada Environment Week — did you know? More importantly, did you know that in mid-May the federal government made a significant commitment to conservation in Canada? That’s right. On May 15th, just days before the United Nations International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22), the federal government released its long-awaited National Conservation Plan. Though the details are still unclear, the Plan promises to invest $252-million over the next five years in Conserving Canada’s lands and waters, restoring Canada’s ecosystems and Connecting Canadians to nature. This is a positive achievement and it’s one that we at Nature Canada generally applaud. For a long time, we have been a key advocate for a lot of the sorts of things that this plan talks about and, of course, connecting Canadians to nature is our core mission. [caption id="attachment_11926" align="alignleft" width="300"]Algonquin Park wetland showing black spruce and a typical Canadian Shield landscape, Ontario, Canada, protected area Publicly accessible protected areas like Ontario's Algonquin Park aren't directly addressed in the National Conservation Plan.[/caption] During Prime Minister Harper’s announcement of the Plan in New Brunswick in May, Canadians were told that “[a]n ethic of true stewardship cannot be imposed by regulation, it is of the heart”, and that we  “… should become willingly and eagerly a community of stewards”. We don’t disagree with either of these statements, but we question how the investments announced under the Plan will achieve these lofty goals. In Nature Canada’s case, we’ve been trying to achieve these goals since 1939 — longer than any other national conservation organization in Canada — and it’s not easy. And with the phenomenon of ‘nature deficit disorder’ and our growing disconnect with the natural world, it’s surely not getting any easier with time. This question of “how” to achieve the Plan’s goals arises again this Canada Environment Week, for which this year’s theme is “Strengthening our Environment Today for Tomorrow”. The government’s investment of $252 million promises to “build on the conservation measures announced in Budget 2014” over a 5 year period from 2014 to 2019, with notable funding injections in the following areas:
  • $10 million/year for the voluntary restoration and conservation of species and their habitats (presumably referring to species at risk stewardship and recovery funding)
  • $7.4 million/year for marine and coastal conservation (presumably referring to marine protected areas, which need to jump from just 1% protection currently all the way to 10% by 2020, as per the UN Convention on Biological Diversity)
  • $1.84 million/year to connect urban Canadians to nature (presumably referring to new programs, or perhaps the Rouge National Urban Park…?)
These investments are intended to build on approximately $406.5 million announced in Budget 2014 for natural heritage conservation by Parks Canada and Fisheries & Ocean over the next 5 years – 96% of which is actually for infrastructure improvements in national parks and along historic canals. One could argue that this infrastructure makes it easier for people access to nature, yes, but it doesn’t necessarily remove the most important barriers for people. Barriers like the distance, cost and time associated with visiting Canada’s amazing national parks and other protected land- and seascapes. Absent from Budget 2014 was any mention of funding for the protection of publicly-owned marine or terrestrial protected areas because Canada protects so little of its overall land area compared to the United States. Today, however, in response to CPAWS’ Dare to be Deep report on marine protection in Canada, CBC reports that Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea’s office stated the following: “We remain committed to meet our target of protecting 10 per cent of our oceans by 2020 under the International Convention on Biological Diversity.” Again, the question of “how” looms large. Stay tuned tomorrow where we'll explore the "how" issue and others in depth.

Proposed Boundaries Announced for Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area
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Proposed Boundaries Announced for Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area

Source: Parks Canada
On Monday, the Ministers of Environment, Health, Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Natural Resources announced a potential boundary for the long-awaited Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) in Nunavut. We are looking forward to engaging in the consultation process to ensure that the final boundaries safeguard this area's rich biodiversity, and Important Bird Areas (IBA). In the past we blogged about the Government of Canada's decision to go ahead with seismic testing in Lancaster Sound (a process known as the Mineral Energy and Resources Assessment (MERA) in which non-renewable resources are identified), despite strong opposition from High Arctic communities, Oceans North Canada, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, and more than 11,000 Canadians. However, a few weeks later a Nunavut court granted an injunction to block the seismic testing, given the negative impacts it would have on the area's sensitive wildlife and ecosystems and the communities that depend on it. We are pleased to know that the government has respected the views of the Inuit, and is carrying out an assessment based on already existing information - this means there will be no field studies done, and negative impacts avoided. Under the NMCA Act it is not a requirement to undertake a MERA. However, before an amendment is made to Schedule 1 (where NMCAs are listed or their descriptions changed) of the NMCA Act, results of any assessments for mineral and energy resources that have been undertaken (as per Section 7 (1) (C)) should be included in the report for the proposed marine conservation area or reserve. According to Parks Canada "work is underway to update an ecological overview of Lancaster Sound and an assessment of non-renewable resource potential, using existing information, but enough is known presently to enable announcing a federal position that will lead to discussions with the Government of Nunavut and consultations with local communities to proceed". Interim withdrawal of lands beneath the seafloor of the proposed NMCA was the other significant part of the government’s announcement on Monday. During the consultation process "no exploration or development of petroleum resources will occur within the proposed boundaries. Once approved as a designated National Marine Conservation Area, the region will remain protected from industrial development, regardless of the resource potential” said Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis. Lancaster Sound is located between Devon Island and Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada and is home to a large variety of wildlife such as beluga, bowhead whales and harp seals. The region around Lancaster Sound includes bays, inlets and ice fields surrounded by high cliffs and spectacular fjords that stretch from Ellesmere Island to the Gulf of Boothia in the south, to the waters surrounding Cornwallis Island to the west. This area has one of the highest concentrations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic. Twenty IBAs are found inside or adjacent to the proposed protected area, providing key high arctic breeding habitat for large colonies of snow geese, ivory gulls, arctic terns and thick-billed murres. Protected areas like the one proposed at Lancaster Sound conserve some of our most important natural spaces, providing Canada and the world with clean air and water, abundant wildlife populations, and healthy communities and ecosystems.

Seismic Survey in Lancaster Sound Blocked
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Seismic Survey in Lancaster Sound Blocked

Yesterday, a Nunavut court granted an injunction to block the seismic testing that was to be carried out in Lancaster Sound - a proposed National Marine Conservation Area - this summer under the joint German-Canadian Eastern Canadian Arctic Seismic Experiment. However, the block is temporary given that the Federal Government may appeal the block or undertake a second round of consultations with the Inuit communities in the region. The decision was reached because of the potential impacts on wildlife and local communities. Justice Sue Cooper, the judge behind the ruling, wrote “If the testing proceeds as planned and marine mammals are impacted as Inuit say they will be, the harm to Inuit in the affected communities will be significant and irreversible”. “The loss extends not just to the loss of a food source, but to loss of a culture. No amount of money can compensate for such loss.” The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), the German partner, has accepted the decision and acknowledged that it is a Canadian issue. We hope this experiment will not proceed in the Arctic and that Lancaster Sound will one day become a National Marine Conservation Area.

Gulf Spill Lessons Not Heeded by Canadian Government
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Gulf Spill Lessons Not Heeded by Canadian Government

Yesterday BP and the US government announced that the oil spill in the Gulf has been tamed, more than three months after oil began gushing into the sea. Capped a few days earlier, their latest reports are that about 75% of the almost five million barrels of oil that spewed into the Gulf had been eliminated – roughly 25% was “dispersed”, 25% had evaporated and 25% was scooped up by all of those barges. That leaves only about 1.25 million barrels, about five times more than the Exxon Valdez spilled into Prince William Sound in Alaska 20 years ago. The so-called dispersed oil is turning up in water and sand samples at toxic levels, but officials are not talking about this. It appears as if the “out of sight, out of mind” approach is taking hold. In fact, a seemingly contradictory federal report released Wednesday indicated that roughly half of the more than 200 million gallons (750 million litres) of oil that gushed from the well before it was capped could still be in the gulf environment in some form as tiny dispersed droplets, tar balls, surface slicks or oil buried in sand and ocean sediment. Yet even as the clean-up efforts continue, it seems that Canada’s government is ignoring some of the lessons of the Gulf disaster. Today, the Globe and Mail reports that Chevron has been awarded rights to explore a 205,000 hectare deep water parcel in the Beaufort Sea for oil by Canada’s department of Indian and Northern Affairs. This award was granted despite the National Energy Board’s hearings that have yet to start on Arctic offshore drilling, called in response to the Gulf oil disaster. Chevron and its buddies, including Exxon and BP, were pressuring our government to further relax our already lax regulations for drilling onshore in Canada’s Arctic by removing the requirement for companies to demonstrate capacity to drill same-season relief wells. They argue that they have a new technology that makes the relief well unnecessary. Heard this before? Can you imagine a Gulf-like leak in the Beaufort with its very small ice-free window – Mackenzie delta nearby, birds, sea mammals, fisheries, and indigenous communities that live off the sea and the land? This is exactly the wrong approach Canada should take to development in the North. Now is not the time to relax offshore drilling regulations. Rather than do away with the requirement to have advance plans for drilling relief wells in case of a spill, oil companies should be required to actually have relief wells in place before working wells are built. Also, blow-out preventers of the type that failed in the Gulf should be tested regularly. Unlike the United States, Norway and Britain, Canada lacks a regulatory process governing whether or where oil and gas development can happen in the Arctic. Licenses are granted, and contracts signed with oil and gas companies before any environmental assessment by the NEB takes place. The result: exploratory licenses exist in environmentally sensitive areas in the Beaufort Sea, where a blowout would have immediate negative effects on the delicate ecosystems there. Strict regulations, and the will to adhere to them, are absolutely essential for safe, sustainable oil and gas development off of Canada's shores, and in the Arctic.

Harper Government Approves Seismic Survey in Lancaster Sound
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Harper Government Approves Seismic Survey in Lancaster Sound

Despite strong opposition from High Arctic communities, Oceans North Canada, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Parks Canada and more than 11,000 Canadians, the Harper Government has decided to proceed with the seismic testing in Lancaster Sound - a proposed National Marine Conservation Area - this summer. The seismic ship is on its way NOW! This is very disappointing news for a number of reasons: 1) Plans to establish this NMCA have been ongoing for 30 years; 2) These surveys provide information on oil & gas deposits which will eventually entice industry to gear up for exploration and production in the Arctic. A spill similar to that in the Gulf of Mexico would have devastating consequences on the region's fragile ecosystems and wildlife; and 3) No consideration was given to the Inuit communities who are opposed to offshore oil drilling in the area, and whose livelihoods depend on the natural wealth of this area. Voice your opposition by signing this letter to Prime Minister Harper! Lancaster Sound is located between Devon Island and Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada and is home to a large variety of wildlife such as belugas, bowhead whales and harp seals. The region around Lancaster Sound includes bays, inlets and ice fields surrounded by high cliffs and spectacular fjords that stretch from Ellesmere Island to the Gulf of Boothia in the south, to the waters surrounding Cornwallis Island to the west. This area has one of the highest concentrations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic. Twenty Important Bird Areas are found inside or adjacent to the proposed protected area, providing essential habitat for large colonies of snow geese, ivory gulls, arctic terns and thick-billed murres. Protected areas like the one proposed at Lancaster Sound conserve some of our most important natural spaces, providing Canada and the world with clean air and water, abundant wildlife populations, and healthy communities and ecosystems.

How will you connect to nature this Parks Day?
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How will you connect to nature this Parks Day?

Do you remember your first experience of true wilderness? The first time you really grasped the panoplies of form, function and wonder that embody E.O. Wilson's now ubiquitous term "biodiversity"?
The first time you felt a connection to nature?The first time you heard nothing but nature's chorus all around you?
There's something very special in each of these experiences. Something sublime. Maybe a sense that you were in just the right place at just the right time, and that you experienced something truly unique. But how do you get to that place at just that time? I was lucky during my youth and grew up with an expansive wilderness literally in my backyard. I recall experiencing new aspects of nature on a regular basis, connecting to nature, exploring nature from dawn to dusk. But mine is not everyone's experience. Despite Canada being a 'wilderness nation', most of our population resides in urban areas. So if you're one of the roughly 27 million Canadians living in an urban area, how do you connect to nature? First, you find the right place. Second, you find the right time. Nature Canada's suggestions? Where: Canada's national parks, national marine conservation areas or any other protected natural area in your province or territory. When: Canada's Parks Day, Saturday July 17th, 2010. Canada's parks and other protected areas are an ever-expanding showcase of this country's natural splendour from sea to sea to sea. And they're yours to enjoy whenever you want to connect to nature! But given where you live and the fact that parks tend to be wild, you'll probably have to travel. Ah, but road-trips are always fun - why not create a nature-themed playlist for the drive! Parks Day is our chance to celebrate parks and other protected areas every year, and it helps us remember why conserving and connecting to nature is so vital. Canada's national parks system, as one example of a protected areas network, aims to protect a representative portion of each of 39 terrestrial natural regions across the country. The national parks system is complemented by the federal marine protected areas strategy, which aims to protect a portion of each of 29 marine natural regions in Canada's territorial waters. So you've got a great chance to see for yourself some representative examples¹ of Canada's wild species, their habitats and the broader land- or seascapes that support them - protected forever. Ideally, parks and other protected areas should be large enough to protect a full suite of ecosystem processes, such as water and nutrient cycling. Areas should be well-connected across land- and seascapes, encompassing multiple ecosystem types and adequate habitat for populations of wide-ranging species - especially those requiring several ecosystem types throughout their life cycles. A recent report by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society looks at how well Canada's existing protected areas meet these and other conservation objectives. In addition to protecting wildlife and ecosystem processes, parks and other protected areas provide good baselines against which scientists can assess the impacts of human activities and other disturbances on non-protected landscapes over time. In fact, my own M.Sc. (Biology) research used this approach. I've had some of my most memorable natural experiences in Canada's parks and protected areas: witnessing Common Loons and Red-breasted Mergansers drift silently across the lakes of Kejimkujik National Park & National Historic Site in Nova Scotia; standing mere feet away from an adult bull moose in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park; observing the eerie yet peaceful silence of the Rockies in winter at Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. I hope for more experiences like these as I continue to visit protected areas with my family over time. What memorable natural experiences have you had in parks or other protected areas? Comment below or connect to our Nature Explorers on-line community to share your experience with others. Don't forget that Parks Day 2010 is also a celebration of Banff National Park's 125th anniversary and the International Year of Biodiversity. Make 2010 your personal year of biodiversity. Give yourself a biodiversity challenge or take our biodiversity pledge. Why not learn ten new things about nature in your region and share what you know with ten other people? Or participate in an outdoor expedition this summer, such as a bird watching trip, to connect with nature? And why not do these things in a park or other protected area...? Happy Parks Day 2010! -Alex Photo 1: La Mauricie National Park, Québec (A. MacDonald) Photo 2: White-tailed deer, Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia (A. MacDonald) Figure 1: Map of Canada's parks and other protected areas (Data from the Atlas of Canada and the World Database on Protected Areas) ¹National Parks have been officially established in over 70% of the terrestrial natural regions to date, with new parks in the planning stages in all but 5 of the remaining regions. Progress on national marine conservation areas is improving over time, notably with the recent addition of the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and we look forward to several other marine natural regions receiving official protection soon.

Seismic survey in proposed Lancaster Sound NMCA approved by Nunavut Impact Review Board
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Seismic survey in proposed Lancaster Sound NMCA approved by Nunavut Impact Review Board

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} On December 18, 2009 the Geological Survey of Canada submitted a proposal to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) for their “Eastern Canadian Arctic Seismic Experiment (ECASE)”; a joint Canadian-German (the Alfred Wegener Institute for polar and marine research is the German partner) project that is aimed at collecting data regarding the evolution of the sedimentary basins in this region and tectonic plate motion between Canada and Greenland.   The experiment is set to take place in Jones Sound, Baffin Island and Lancaster Sound – a proposed National Marine Conservation Area. On May 21, 2010 the NIRB approved the project under the condition that the Geological Survey of Canada follows a set of recommendations, including those for waste management, wildlife and public consultations. NIRB also suggested that any seismic results for Lancaster Sound be submitted to Parks Canada and other agencies to assist them in identifying the existence of non-renewable resources – to be later used for the development of a mineral and energy resources assessment (this assessment plays a significant role in determining the boundaries of most parks). It is important to note that the data collected will inevitably provide information on the existence of oil and gas deposits in the region, thus increasing the interest in Arctic oil & gas exploration and production.   There has been opposition against the seismic survey by High Arctic communities and Oceans North Canada as they fear the potential impacts the seismic survey may have on the areas wildlife, of which some communities depend on for sustenance. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Parks Canada have also opposed the proceeding of any tests in Lancaster Sound as feasibility studies for an NMCA designation currently take place.   Lancaster Sound is located between Devon Island and Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada and is home to a large variety of wildlife such as belugas, bowhead whales and harp seals. The region around Lancaster Sound includes bays, inlets and ice fields surrounded by high cliffs and spectacular fjords that stretch from Ellesmere Island to the Gulf of Boothia in the south to the waters surrounding CornwallisIsland to the west in Nunavut, Canada. This area has one of the highest concentrations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic. Twenty Important Bird Areas are found inside or adjacent to the proposed protected area, providing essential habitat for large colonies of snow geese, ivory gulls, arctic terns and thick-billed murres. Protected areas like the one proposed at Lancaster Sound conserve some of our most important natural spaces, providing Canada and the world with clean air and water, abundant wildlife populations, and healthy communities and ecosystems. Nature Canada fully supports and looks forward to the establishment of the Lancaster Sound NMCA.  

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