Nova Scotia

Endangered species in Nova Scotia not managed properly, AG says

Nova Scotia's auditor general has made five recommendations to improve protection for endangered species listed by the Department of Natural Resources.

Michael Pickup lays out 5 steps to improve conservation in the province

Michael Pickup warned the province needs to act or it will be 'too late.' (CBC)

Nova Scotia's auditor general has made five recommendations to improve protection for endangered species listed by the Department of Natural Resources.  

Michael Pickup reviewed 14 provincial recovery and management plans and found that over half of them were not created within the appropriate timelines. Some were seven years late. 

Pickup also said monitoring was not being done and urged the department to create a comprehensive monitoring program.  

"If they are not conserved and managed properly, it will be too late," he said Wednesday

Some of the species include the mainland moose, the chimney swift, the Atlantic whitefish and the boreal felt lichen.

Here are the five recommendations for the Department of Natural Resources:

  • Establish "recovery teams," as well as recovery and management plans for species at risk.
  • Have communication guidelines with those recovery teams, so that they know what Natural Resources will (or won't) do to address their concerns.
  • Review all species listed in the Endangered Species Regulations and develop practices to protect their habitat.
  • Create a comprehensive monitoring program for all species at risk and ensure monitoring activities are clearly communicated and completed as planned. 
  • Establish a plan for the province's biodiversity strategy that says what needs to be done, when and the expected results.
The mainland moose is one of the animals on the endangered species list. (CBC)

Officials with Natural Resources have told Pickup they will try to deal with the backlog of recovery and management plans by October.

'Radio silence' 

Environmentalists remain skeptical. They believe the protection of habitat, essential to the well-being of the species at risk, takes a back seat to what they see as the department's main concern.

"The department is paying much more attention to the wood supply needs of the forest industry," Matt Miller of the Ecology Action Centre said Thursday. 

"Nova Scotia is one of a handful of sites globally where the boreal felt lichen is listed," he added. "It's listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature."

Miller said the recovery team for the boreal felt lichen sent the department a letter sharing their concerns about the ineffectiveness of the management practices, which has been ignored for more than two years.  

"It's been radio silence," he said.

The Ecology Action Centre wants the wildlife division to be moved out of the Natural Resources Department and into another area of government, such as environment.  

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca