ORA offers our support on the proposal to enact an Invasive Species Act (Bill 167), and to emphasize the importance of a proactive approach to minimize the possibility of intentional and unintentional introductions of alien and invasive species, and of mitigating the effects of species that have already been introduced.
For the Invasive Species Act to be effective, it is important that this legislation is accompanied by invasive species policies and implementation plans, along with collaboration between the Ontario government, ministries, agencies, municipalities and federal authorities, along with adequate funding, staff and required resources that are dedicated to the successful application of the policies and action plans. It is crucial that invasive species policy be incorporated into all decision-making processes throughout all pertinent government agencies in order to protect the economic, social and ecological integrity within all of Canada. Continue reading
March 1, 2013
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Dear Premier Wynne,
We, the undersigned, are writing to express our deep concern about proposed exemptions to Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) and to request that your government not proceed with these changes. The proposed exemptions would severely weaken the ESA’s current standard of protection and undermine the government’s ability to monitor and control activities that harm threatened and endangered species and their habitats.
The Liberal government passed the ESA in 2007 with overwhelming public support. Celebrated nationally and internationally by scientists and the environmental community as a gold standard in species at risk legislation, it greatly enhanced the government’s credibility as a green leader. The ESA is intended to facilitate species recovery through mandatory protection for threatened and endangered species and their habitats. At the same time, however, it provides flexibility for economic development by allowing for permits that authorize otherwise prohibited activities, contingent upon the achievement of an overall benefit for the species.
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February 25th , 2013
Senior Permits & Agreements Specialist
Ministry of Natural Resources
Species at Risk Branch
Permits and Agreements Section
300 Water Street , Floor 2
Peterborough Ontario K9J8M5
Phone: (416) 326-1672
Fax: (705) 755-5483
Dear Ms Adams:
Re: EBR-011-7696 Proposed Approaches to the Implementation of the Endangered Species Act
The Nottawasaga Steelheaders is a volunteer group of anglers, conservationists and concerned residents who have been working in concert with The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources and various communities to improve, rehabilitate and preserve the integrity of the Nottawasaga River watershed over the past twenty years years. Over this time we have committed tens of thousands of man-hours and hundreds of thousands of dollar in many beneficial programs. These have included the removable of numerous barriers to fish migration, undertaken countless garbage pick-ups, tree plantings, stream bank stabilizations, cold water delivery projects, spawning ground improvements and commitments to ensure the survival of wild species in this watershed such wild steelhead. Our organization was the first of its kind to undertake a comprehensive study to make uncover the genetic diversity of migratory rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Eighteen (18) distinct strains were found, each with its own set of co-adaptive gene complexes established over a hundred years. Recent studies including those at the University of Western Ontario have determined that that 35-40% of migratory Chinook salmon are of Nottawasaga River origin! This speaks highly of complex and delicate interdependent biodiversity which has taken hundreds if not thousands of years to establish in this watershed. This biodiversity and its interdependence in this watershed and across Ontario is something we know little about and should not be putting at risk with hasty decisions and without the input of Ontarians. It is OUR province with OUR resources and WE are responsible…not a few. Continue reading
“While there are some good recommendations in these proposed amendments to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), many are worded in language that is far too vague and open-ended, and others are simply unacceptable. ORA is very concerned that this will significantly weaken the hard-fought protection already afforded to our species at risk and their habitats, and is inconsistent with the ESA. Further, many of the proposed approaches appear to be in violation of the EBR in that there is no provision for public and First Nation consultation or transparency.
MNR’s Mission and Promise to Ontarians:
MNR’s Statement of Environmental Values (SEV) and strategic direction ensure sustainable development, protect and restore biodiversity, and must be the guiding principles in all decisions with regard to streamlining, modernization and economic development. The values set out in the SEV must be adhered to in the contemplation of any existing or planned activities where endangered species or habitat protection is in question. The SEV clearly states, “The Ministry’s mission is to manage Ontario’s natural resources in an ecologically sustainable way to ensure that they are available for the enjoyment and use of future generations. The Ministry is committed to the conservation of biodiversity and the use of natural resources in a sustainable manner.”
Streamlining and modernization of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is a good idea, but only if environmental, ecological, and species at risk protection is not threatened or diminished. All the streamlining, modernization and framework EBR postings preceding this one promised to uphold environmental and ecological values; however, this posting demonstrates that this promise is not being kept. This proposal clearly reflects a development at all costs approach taken by this administration.” Continue reading
South Nation Watershed – Go to bottom of posting to see details of Public Meetings on 25 & 27 February, 2013
As part of the campaign to preserve healthy Ontario rivers please note that a very valuable, rich and unique habitat containing numerous species-at-risk and holding the headwaters of several streams is at serious risk. This place is in Russell Township just outside the city of Ottawa in and around a former shale quarry, which is now a lake. Streams and springs rise up on the hill around the lake and drain into the Castor River, which drains into the South Nation and then the Ottawa. Species at Risk at the site include Bobolinks, Cooper’s Hawks, 10 species of amphibians (some at risk and some less so, although all amphibians have survival problems now), snapping and probably other turtles, Eastern Meadowlarks, Butternuts, rare Liverworts, several Mollusc species (snails), trees of increasing rarity, Orchids, and mosses, lichens and fungi. It is an important migration stopover point–at times hosting tens of thousands of birds at once.
That site is also the proposed site of a mega-landfill, which would be owned and run by Taggart Miller Environmental Services and called the Capital Region Resource Recovery Centre (CRRRC.ca). Taggarts own some of Ottawa’s biggest construction companies and Miller owns waste and construction companies in southern Ontario. They proposed to drain the 40-ac lake, fill it with rock and soil, blast a bigger hole beside it, and strip the site (which is between 200 and 470 ac, depending on if they exercise options on neighbouring farmland or not). The surrounding communities have been fighting the proposal for over two years. A few days before Christmas the Ontario Ministry of the Environment approved Taggart Miller’s Terms of Reference, even though serious problems with the vague, misleading document were clearly pointed out to the ministry by the community, which had completed their own scientific studies. Continue reading
FRENCH RIVER DELTA ASSOCIATION
857 Hartley Bay Road
RR 2 Site 10 Comp 4
Alban, Ontario P0M 1A0
January 18, 2013
Senior Permits & Agreements Specialist
Ministry of Natural Resources, Policy Division
Species at Risk Branch
Permits and Agreements Section
300 Water Street, Floor 2
Dear Ms. Adams:
Re: EBR Registry Number: 011-7696, Proposed approaches to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act which could include regulatory amendments to authorize activities to occur subject to conditions set out in regulation consistent with MNR’s Modernization of Approvals
The proposed regulatory changes contained in EBR 011-7696 are vague and will not meet MNR’s responsibility to endangered species and their habitat maintenance and protection.
While the ambiguity of this MNR and provincial cabinet’s proposal will serve MNR’s and cabinet’s partners in the mining, energy, forestry, and aggregate industries, it will not meet the primary purpose of the Endangered Species Act which is to protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats required for survival.
It is intriguing to note that the spring 2012 budget proposed amendments to the Endangered Species Act. These proposed exemptions – circumvention of permitting requirements, and removal of deadlines for recovery planning – faced serious public opposition and the budget amendments to the ESA were dropped. To now reposition the budget amendments as regulatory changes, which require only cabinet approval, is irresponsible, misleading and shows the continuing disrespect that cabinet and the MNR have towards the public, and as importantly, endangered species and their habitats. Continue reading