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N.S. to spend $20M on protecting province's land and water

Another 9,300 hectares of Crown land are being designated as protected areas in Nova Scotia, along with $20 million from the provincial government to protect more of the province's land and water.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Timothy Halman made the announcements Monday in Middle Sackville near the newly designated Sackville River Wilderness Area, which covers roughly 800 hectares of mature forests, wetlands, lakes and waterways.

The province says the new protected area will help conserve the Sackville River, the Pockwock watershed -- which provides communities with drinking water -- and recreation areas.

The funding announcement comes as the second week of the global biodiversity summit COP15 gets underway in Montreal.

World leaders are gathering to develop a plan to protect nature and combat the developing biodiversity crisis impacting ecosystems across the globe. Halman is scheduled to appear at the summit between Tuesday and Friday.

The $20 million in additional funds is set to go to the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Trust Legacy, which helps private land conservation organizations with financial assistance for acquiring and protecting private land.

The province says this work is critical if Nova Scotia hopes to reach its targets of protecting 20 per cent of land and water by 2030.

"Government cannot achieve this goal alone, and there is still lots of work ahead of us," Halman said in a news release.

Along with the funding, Halman also announced the creation of six new nature reserves and the expansion of seven existing wilderness areas, bringing the total amount of land and freshwater protected in Nova Scotia to over 13 per cent, according to the provincial government.

"This fund has been transformational for private land conservation, enabling land trusts to save more wild spaces, more quickly than ever before," said Nova Scotia Nature Trust executive director Bonnie Sutherland in a news release.

"With the new investment announced today, we can ramp up efforts, even more, to help stem biodiversity loss, to achieve 20 per cent by 2030, and to ensure the right lands - the most ecologically significant and diverse natural areas - are protected forever."

For Chris Miller, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Nova Scotia Chapter, the plan to protect 14 new areas in the province is welcome news.

"These sites contain important conservation features, including large intact landscapes, old-growth forests, wildlife corridors, significant waterways, species-at-risk habitat, near-urban wilderness and coastal ecosystems such as beaches, dunes, cliffs, islands and salt marshes," Miller said in a release.

The ecological sites announced as new nature reserves include:

  • Barneys River Nature Reserve, Pictou County (567 hectares)
  • Big Meadow Brook Nature Reserve, Hants County (284 hectares)
  • Cherry Hill Beach Nature Reserve, Lunenburg County (27 hectares)
  • Glendyer Nature Reserve, Inverness County (276 hectares)
  • Les Caps Nature Reserve, Inverness County (22 hectares)
  • Porcupine Brook Nature Reserve, Annapolis County (238 hectares)

The expanded wilderness areas and their increases in size are:

  • Eastern Shore Islands, Halifax Regional Municipality, 96 hectares
  • Economy River, Colchester and Cumberland Counties, 5,495 hectares
  • Eigg Mountain-James River, Antigonish County, 71 hectares
  • Medway Lakes, Annapolis County, 430 hectares
  • Middle River Framboise, Cape Breton County, 21 hectares
  • Portapique River, Colchester and Cumberland counties, 974 hectares
  • Wentworth Valley, Cumberland County, 65 hectares Top Stories

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