Conserving the Codroy Valley Ramsar Wetlands: From Awareness to Action, 2016-2017

Project by Intervale Associates Inc.

Location: Codroy Valley, NL.

For more information on this project, please contact Kathleen Blanchard, President of Intervale Associates Inc., Doyles, NL.

Purpose

Intervale Associates, working with the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Division and residents of the Codroy Valley in southwest Newfoundland, will implement five wetlands conservation networking and education activities in the Codroy Valley, site of the Province’s only Ramsar-designated wetland. Three actions follow directly from the 2015 engagement workshop coordinated by Intervale with WHC and partner support. 

Beginning with a planning meeting for residents, Intervale will coordinate the installation of a highway sign, produced by the NL Wildlife Division, identifying the Ramsar wetland and partners in the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture.

Intervale will update the conservation plan for the Ramsar site by incorporating waterfowl data by Intervale, College of the North Atlantic, and Canadian Wildlife Service and report these data to residents.

Intervale will continue fall monitoring of waterfowl and train residents as participants. As host for the spring 2016 meeting of the 36-member Stewardship Association of Municipalities (SAM), Intervale and Codroy Valley residents will lead SAM members on a tour of the wetland habitats and present an evening program of presentations, duck wing “bee,” and local songs. Intervale will conduct two workshops for a 37-member Cadet group (second largest in NL), engaging Cadets in birding and construction, installation, and mapping of duck boxes for cavity nesting birds. As outcomes, these events will greatly improve networking and partnerships under NAWMP, enlarge the biological knowledge base for the Ramsar site, grow the number of people who support waterfowl conservation, and strengthen skills and a sense of responsibility among residents.

Long-term conservation impacts and benefits

The residents of the Codroy Valley will reach out more frequently and effectively to seek help from and partnerships with the Wildlife Division, Ducks Unlimited, SAM, Intervale, Nature Conservancy Canada, and municipal leaders across the Province.  Representatives from SAM have noted that years ago Codroy Valley residents were more active in SAM and that the conservation projects they propose might benefit from partnerships with SAM and other groups in years to come. 

A long-term conservation impact from this project is stronger and more frequent partnership arrangements among the SAM member communities, residents of the Codroy Valley, and the Wildlife Division, who will then be able to accomplish much more for conservation.  Meanwhile, municipal leaders from across the Province will have greater knowledge of the Ramsar-designated wetlands. Another long term benefit of the project will be greater protection of waterfowl and waterfowl habitat within the Ramsar site. Banding studies over 20 years by Canadian Wildlife Service biologists have revealed that the Ramsar site is an important nesting area for several species, most notably American Black Duck and Green-winged Teal and that it is an important staging area for Canada Geese.

New tools, methodologies, technology, landscape practices or protocols

We will introduce to the Cadets some of the educational strategies we piloted for Junior Canadian Rangers that teaches birding skills while at the same time encouraging safety and best practices with the use of firearms and discourages illegal shooting of nongame birds. We will introduce new activities to SAM members by engaging them in a wing bee with Codroy Valley residents. We will specifically involve hunters in the evening birds and wetlands presentation.  We will involve Cadets as servers of a meal. These are strategies to strengthen conservation networking among diverse interest groups and encourage enjoyment of waterfowl and wetlands.

Stewardship

We will engage Cadets and other students from Belanger school as well as some adults in building, installing, and mapping duck boxes for cavity nesting ducks as a habitat enhancement activity. We will also engage students and adults in voluntary monitoring of waterfowl. We will recruit volunteers for the Ramsar sign installation and associated publicity.

We will indirectly benefit waterfowl and wildlife habitat by increasing local knowledge of waterfowl and habitat conservation through workshops, presentations, and a wing bee. After a tour of the Ramsar site, we will solicit suggestions from SAM members to Codroy Valley residents for how to conserve, enhance, and restore wildlife habitat in the Codroy Valley.

Early in the fiscal year, we will organize a planning meeting in the spring involving alumni who participated in our 2015 conservation workshop, to identify a set of conservation actions they wish to begin and to engage them in the project activities.