Nova Scotia Eastern Habitat Joint Venture (NS-EHJV) Wetland Stewardship Program, 2014-2015
Goals and Objectives
The goal of the NS-EHJV Wetland Stewardship Program is to address provincial wetland conservation and management needs through the development of conservation and stewardship objectives and the application of stewardship techniques
With nearly all of the agricultural landscape in Nova Scotia privately owned, a strong private land stewardship program responding to human population and resource development pressures and trends is essential to ensure the conservation and restoration of wetland habitats in this landscape. Nova Scotia farmers and other agricultural support practitioners are increasingly becoming aware and interested in habitat conservation and biodiversity related issues. ABC Plans help to connect a farming operation to wildlife habitat (including wetlands and waterfowl habitat) and demonstrate how they can, and do co-exist.
Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions
Fifteen ABC Plans will be developed to influence conservation on approx. 2,225 acres of the agricultural landscape. This will include 150 acres of wetland and the identification of potential enhancement/restoration projects.
In addition, an ABC handbook/app will be developed to provide farmers with information on increasing/maintaining biodiversity within their farm operation. These tools will be developed and promoted through a partnership between the NS-EHJV, the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University, local farmers and agricultural leaders.
A variety of presentations, walks, tours and other activities will be undertaken to increase wetland and biodiversity conservation awareness for approximately 800 participants. These will include landowners, land managers, farmers, hunters, community groups, NGO’s, government agencies and school/university students. These activities will increase awareness of wetland/waterfowl conservation that will help facilitate wetland restoration and enhancement throughout the province, especially in the agricultural landscape.
Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management
ABC Plans are an individualized plan for each farm identifying the various habitat types and suggested BMPs to maintain or improve the biodiversity in each area. These plans directly influence wetland habitat conservation by identifying and encouraging the conservation of existing wetland habitats in the agricultural landscape as well as recommending potential sites for restoration or development of wetlands. In addition, the project facilitates initial contacts between farmers and wetlands restoration and conservation specialists that can result in increased wetlands in the agriculture landscape.
The ABC Plan handbook/app will provide farmers with guidance to help determine how their operation is supporting wetland and biodiversity conservation, and how they can enhance wetlands and biodiversity on their farms. These tools may also provide an opportunity to encourage farmer and hunter interactions to address nuisance wildlife situations.
The NS-EHJV Wetland Stewardship Program will focus on farmland located in the Valley and Central Lowlands Ecoregion (primarily Annapolis, Kings, Hants and Colchester Counties) and Northumberland and Bras d’Or Lowlands Ecoregion (primarily Cumberland, Pictou and Antigonish Counties).
The agricultural landscape is recognized as a key priority area for the NS-EHJV. Agricultural activity in NS primarily occurs on privately owned family farms.
Valley and Central Lowlands Ecoregion- Over 84,000 hectares of agricultural lands in the region represents approximately 36% of all agricultural lands in Nova Scotia. Approximately one fifth of the land cover in the Ecoregion is comprised of agricultural lands, making it the largest agricultural region in the province.
Northumberland and Bras d’Or Lowlands Ecoregion – Over 69,000 hectares of agricultural lands in the region represents approximately 29% of all agricultural lands in Nova Scotia. Less than one tenth (~ 9%) of the land cover in the Ecoregion is made up of agricultural lands.
For more information on this project, please contact Glen Parsons, Natural Resources Planner / Provincial Biologist, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Division, Kentville, NS