Top conservation groups call for long overdue laws and regulations to better protect New Brunswick’s wetlands

Traditional Land of Wabanaki People/Fredericton — New Brunswick’s leading conservation groups are calling for new laws and regulations to protect wetlands in the wake of the tragic draining of the wetland at Ferris Street Forest and Wetland Nature Preserve in Fredericton.

In a letter sent to Ministers Mike Holland, Jill Green and Gary Crossman, the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-NB Chapter, and Nature NB say the current regulatory regime fails to protect wetlands.

On Thursday, May 27, the groups launched a campaign inviting New Brunswickers to sign on to their letter for stronger wetland protections.

New Brunswick’s outdated approach was developed by policy-makers who lacked the evidence of how important wetlands are for protecting nature and our communities. It leaves wetlands at risk from business as usual practices — such as poorly planned subdivisions and industry activity, especially by forestry companies in the Crown forest — and the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss in New Brunswick.

The groups say it is time for a wetland protection law — not a wetland alteration permit system.

The letter outlines several recommendations to modernize wetland protection in the province, including:

  • DTI review all of its current WAWA permits with respect to impact on all
    wetlands larger than two hectares and release the results of that review;
  • All PSWs (Provincially Significant Wetlands) on Crown Land be designated as part of the areas protected under the 2020 Nature Legacy program and commit now to develop a plan to protect 25 per cent of N.B.’s nature over the next five years;
  • The Clean Water Act be reviewed, specifically for modernizing coastal areas protection by updating the 2002 provincial Coastal Areas Protection Policy and providing it weight, in law, a regulation promised in the 2018 NB Water Strategy;
  • The 2014 Crown Forest Agreements be revised as soon as possible this year to adequately protect wetlands, streams and rivers on public land by increasing buffer zones and identifying no cut/no road construction in wetland areas and all sensitive areas, including the habitat for N.B. endangered species such as Atlantic salmon. the Canada warbler, wood turtles and others;

Read the full letter and recommendations here.

Who we are:

The Nature Trust of New Brunswick is a charitable land conservation organization established in 1987 dedicated to preserving the province’s ecologically significant landscapes. To date, the Nature Trust has conserved over 9,000 acres in 67 beautiful and diverse nature preserves in New Brunswick. Our mission is to conserve areas in New Brunswick that are ecologically significant, to establish nature preserves that remain protected forever, to steward the preserves through a network of volunteers and supporters, and to engage with the public on the importance of land conservation, New Brunswick’s natural heritage, biodiversity, and species at risk. Visit website.

Conservation Council of New Brunswick established in 1969 and remains the province’s leading public advocate for environmental protection. A member of the UN’s Global 500 Roll of Honour, we work to find practical solutions to help families and citizens, educators, governments and businesses protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the precious marine ecosystem and the land, including the forest, that support us. Visit website.

Nature NB is a provincial conservation organization comprised of a dozen naturalist clubs from across the province and hundreds of members. Our mission is to celebrate, conserve and protect New Brunswick’s natural heritage through education, networking and collaboration.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter is part of the nation-wide charity CPAWS, with a mission to work with governments, Indigenous peoples and communities to protect more of Canada’s publicly managed lands and water – for the benefit of both wildlife and people. We work cooperatively with all parts of society to find solutions to nature conservation challenges and to connect people to the nature that supports us all. CPAWS-NB has led public campaigns that have resulted in over 150,000 hectares of new protected areas in New Brunswick. Visit website.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Renata Woodward, CEO, Nature Trust of New Brunswick: renata.woodward@ntnb.org ; 506-261-1260

Lois Corbett, Executive Director, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: lois.corbette@conservationcouncil.ca ; 506-238-5292

Roberta Clowater, Executive Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter: rclowater@cpaws.org ; 506-452-9902

Vanessa Roy-McDougall, Executive Director, Nature NB: executive.director@naturenb.ca ; 506-459-4209

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