Nfld. & Labrador Coastal and Inland Freshwater Wetlands Stewardship and Conservation 2013-2014

Final Project Report: Newfoundland and Labrador Coastal and Inland Freshwater Wetlands Stewardship and Conservation, 2013-14

Goals and Objectives

The Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Division, as its primary contribution to the implementation of the NAWMP
in NL, created the Municipal Stewardship Program. This program is a habitat securement and enhancement
conservation initiative that partners with municipal governments, landowners, resource users and industry to
conserve wetlands, wetland associated uplands and coastal habitats to sustain their associated waterfowl,
seabird and seaduck populations. Its primary focus is to work to have municipal councils, staff and residents
publicly commit to take local responsibility for the stewardship and conservation of habitat and associated
wildlife within their municipal planning boundaries. This program has proven successful securing over 34,000
hectares of wildlife habitat and positively influencing over 400,000 hectares since its inception in 1989.

During the course of the 2013-2014 project we will seek to sign new stewardship agreement(s) with NL
municipalities and landowners which secure wetlands, associated uplands, and coastal habitat, focusing on
waterfowl, seabirds and seaducks but also positively impacting other associated wildlife. Stewardship
agreements signed with NL municipalities will secure 500 acres of wetland, associated upland or coastal habitat
within municipal planning jurisdictions. A further 500 acres of habitat will be influenced through agreements signed
with municipalities.

At times stewardship needs to be nurtured and reinforced.  Some stewards require the assistance of experts to
assist them in delivering on their commitment. This is referred to as stewardship extension. As a second major
component of this project we will work with existing agreement signatories, currently 28 NL municipalities, to
provide assistance, advice, education and activities providing opportunity for involvement. Our primary goals are
to provide for the continued reinforcement of the stewardship concept and to build, through education and
involvement, individual stewardship or conservation ethic with the residents of these municipalities as they seek
to comply with their individual agreements and implement associated habitat conservation plan commitments.
 

Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions

Include: 500 acres of secured wildlife habitat via the signing of new municipal stewardship agreements as well as
500 acres of wildlife habitat positively influenced and enhanced.
 

Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

The nature of human settlement has resulted in many municipalities, landowners and industries impacting areas
that have been identified as prime waterfowl and sea duck habitats. This is also true in
Newfoundland and Labrador.
Drinking water and flood control have been the primary reasons for wetland conservation; however, wildlife values
and sustaining biodiversity are not usually addressed. In NL developments with a footprint less than 10 hectares
are normally not required to undergo an environmental assessment. The cumulative effect of such development
can render wetlands, wetland associated uplands and coastal habitat unsuitable for waterfowl, seaducks and
other wildlife. The
Newfoundland and Labrador Stewardship Program increases the profile of these habitats and
their associated wildlife in the municipal planning process. Land/water planning and uses become subject to the
terms of a stewardship agreement and are reinforced through an increase in user awareness and sense of
responsibility. Significantly, important wetlands and associated uplands will be protected from adverse
development through designation as protected under the municipal planning process. The program also
encourages the adoption of wise use practices as they relate to waterfowl, sea ducks and their habitat by
traditional resource users, eco-tourism companies etc.

In NL, under the Municipalities Act and the Urban and Rural Planning Act, municipal governments are given the
primary responsibility to manage and control development within their jurisdictional boundaries.  Much
development can take place without triggering the environmental review process.  Development on crown lands
within municipal boundaries may be subject to interdepartmental review, however, it could proceed in spite of
concerns being expressed by some departments.  Involvement by the municipal governments through the
municipal stewardship program will influence their planning and decision making related to proposed
development occurring adjacent to or within wildlife habitat. This will impact on any individuals or agencies that
have plans to develop within the town’s jurisdiction. The program also encourages developers to consider options
to reduce impact on sensitive wetland areas where development may be beyond the town’s control.

 


Project Location

The Stewardship Program is provincial in nature and is thus directed at many watersheds and coastal areas
throughout the province. The program targets wetlands, wetland associated uplands and coastal areas located
primarily within the jurisdiction of municipalities. The vast majority of this landscape is open to hunting and the
NL Wildlife Division is supportive of this activity continuing within areas targeted for conservation via stewardship
agreements. Negotiations with prospective municipalities, landowners or industry will determine which is most
conducive to seeking a stewardship agreement.

Newfoundland and Labrador is located within the Taiga and Boreal Shield Ecozones which correspond with Bird
Conservation Regions 7 and 8, Waterfowl Conservation Regions 7, 8 (Labrador), 8.2 (Island of Newfoundland).
Coastal primary targets are associated with coastal islands and surrounding habitat associated with the Pelagic
Waterfowl Conservation Region 1003 (
Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf).

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Jonathan Sharpe, NL EHJV Program Manager, NL Wildlife
Division, Department of Environment and Conservation.