How Municipalities Can Help
are some easy ways that a municipality can get more involved in species
at risk, wildlife, and habitat conservation and recovery. These do not
require any significant investment of time or resources, but can be very
important in assisting in efforts to conserve species and habitats.
These include: increased awareness, communicating messages to
developers, adopting a process for flagging projects that impact
wildlife, contacting the Regional Biologist when unsure of impacts on
wildlife, contacting Species at Risk Recovery Teams, and explore
existing municipal tools and other potential roles. Each of these six
ways to get involved is described in turn below.
Adopt a Process for
There are several situations where this process could be adopted such as: subdivision proposals, re-zoning applications, development permits, road construction proposals, the sale of land/property (tax sales, surplus land), as well as other activities that would alter the landscape. The flow chart in Figure 1 illustrates the process for flagging properties. The process should not be a burden to any current municipal approval process. Also, we are exploring the possibility of other agencies, other than municipalities, also adopting this process.
The process, in general, would involve using the provincial ‘Significant Species and Habitat Database’ (‘Sighab’) in a geographic information system (GIS) program, overlaying proposed development or project locations to determine if projects and wildlife species locations overlap. If development overlaps or is in close proximity to significant habitat, the next step would be to seek assistance from the NS DNR Regional Biologist responsible for your area of the province (see Appendix 4 for contact information). The ‘Sighab’ Database referred to above is a provincial database that is available online for all municipalities. Appendix 3 has a more detailed explanation of the database and how to access it.
Figure 1. Flow diagram illustrating the steps in the process for identifying and ‘flagging’ properties where development or other activities could result in negative impacts on wildlife species or their habitats. (See Contact Us page for contact information for NS DNR Regional Biologists).
Contact Regional Biologists or Other Provincial Staff
If a municipality is ever uncertain about the possible negative impacts a municipal decision or action might have on a species at risk, wildlife or their habitat, it is best to simply contact the NS DNR Regional Biologist or other appropriate provincial staff. The Regional Biologist for your area is knowledgeable regarding species at risk, wildlife, habitats, legal requirements, and how a municipality can assist in conservation and recovery. Full contact information for Regional Biologists, listed according to region, is provided on the Contact Us page. Other instances may arise which pertain more directly to wetland and coastal habitat in which can you could contact the Wetlands program staff (see also Contact Us page).
Contact Species at Risk
Municipal Tools and Other Potential Roles
Why Might a Municipality Be
Interested in Species at Risk?
1. Legislation exists to protect species at risk and municipalities should be aware of how these laws apply to private and municipal lands:
► The Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act protects all species at risk on provincial crown (public) land and all private land
► The federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) protects all species at risk on federal land, as well as all marine and migratory bird species at risk
► Both acts promote species at risk protection by encouraging stewardship, education, and partnerships
2. Funding opportunities exist for initiatives that support the conservation and recovery of species at risk, and municipalities would be eligible to apply:
► The Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk supports stewardship initiatives
► The Federation of Canadian Municipalities promotes healthy, sustainable communities, and improved quality of life through funding green initiatives
3. Species at risk can serve as indicators of the health of our natural environment and municipalities could benefit from supporting species at risk initiatives:
► People are aware of the importance of a healthy natural environment and the direct connection to healthy, sustainable communities, and a high quality of life
► Participating in initiatives that enhance the natural environment, including species at risk projects, will contribute to retaining and attracting residents and visitors
4. Municipal government is the level of government nearest to the people and thus can play an important role in species at risk conservation and recovery:
► Municipalities could help in communicating and encouraging awareness and stewardship for species at risk
5. Municipalities may have "tools" that could be used to assist in maintaining and conserving species at risk:
► Land use planning, zoning, by-laws, policies, and parks and protected areas are all "tools" that can potentially assist in species at risk conservation and recovery
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