PEI

P.E.I. parties come together to help protect species at risk

Following a federal report on protecting species at risk on private land, parties in the P.E.I. Legislature are looking at co-sponsoring a bill specifically for those endangered plants and animals.

'Legislative tools, on their own, have a history of not being completely successful'

Barn swallows are among the species targeted for protection on P.E.I. (Don Ryan/Canadian Press/AP)

Following a federal report on protecting species at risk on private land, parties in the P.E.I. Legislature are looking at co-sponsoring a bill specifically for those endangered plants and animals.

The provinces are responsible for protecting listed species on all non-federal land, which is particularly significant for P.E.I., given that 90 per cent of land in the province is privately owned.

Megan Harris, executive director of the Island Nature Trust, said a bill written especially for species at risk would be an improvement over the current situation.

"There are other provinces, like P.E.I., that use other legislation, like a wildlife act, to try to work with protection of species at risk," said Harris.

"It's not as easy, it's not as enforceable."

'Requires a balanced approach'

Garry Gregory, a wildlife biologist with P.E.I.'s Department of Environment, said it is important not to simply write legislation and consider the work done.

Brown bat populations have crashed on the Island since the appearance of white-nose syndrome. (Jordie Segers)

"Legislative tools, on their own, have a history of not being completely successful in recovering species," said Gregory.

"It really requires a balanced approach between legislation and also having a very, very good relationship with private landowners."

The report prompted provincial Environment Minister Brad Trivers to revisit a draft of a Green species at risk private member's bill that was discussed but never tabled in 2016. It would allow for species-specific conservation plans to be drawn up.

The Progressive Conservatives are hoping all three parties will be able to come together to co-sponsor the bill. It will be discussed further in the fall sitting of the legislature.

Piping plovers have been a long-term protection project. (Submitted by Janette Gallant/Parks Canada)

More P.E.I. news

Corrections

  • A previous version of the story stated the Liberals were prepared to co-sponsor this bill, but that is still being negotiated.
    Jul 16, 2019 2:33 PM AT

With files from Island Morning

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