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New Environmental Assessment Act could open our eyes wider to development impacts, but will it?

New Environmental Assessment Act could open our eyes wider to development impacts, but will it?
(February 09, 2018) Today (Feb. 8, 2018) the federal government unveiled a new “Impact Assessment Act” that will repeal and replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012).  Together in one bill with the new Canadian Energy Regulator Act, this is an important – and massive – piece of legislation that sets out the conditions under which “major” development projects get built in Canada (or, rarely, not).  At first glance, the inclusion of a whole new section...

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The sounds of the north: exploring the underwater soundscape of the western Canadian Arctic

The sounds of the north: exploring the underwater soundscape of the western Canadian Arctic
(February 07, 2018) The Arctic is often viewed as a silent landscape, with few human inhabitants and several populations of hardy polar bears. But while winters are cold, dark, and quiet, summers are bright and noisy, with major migrations of birds and marine mammals.Our research group at Wildlife Conservation Society Canada studies a lesser-known aspect of Arctic complexity: the underwater soundscape.Our research group at Wildlife Conservation Society Canada studies a lesser-known aspect of Arctic complexity: the ...

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Could bats benefit from a trip to the grocery store?

Could bats benefit from a trip to the grocery store?
(February 07, 2018)  WCS Canada is investigating whether bats could benefit from the same probiotic approach that has taken foods like yogurt by storm.   The idea is relatively simple.  Bats are dying by the millions due to a fungal disease called White-nose syndrome (WNS).  If a “good bacteria” to fight the WNS fungus could be applied to bats, it might be possible to reverse at least some of the devastation being caused by the disease. WCS Canada bat researcher Dr. Cori Lausen ...

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Efforts to Help Bats Survive Deadly Disease Get a Boost

Efforts to Help Bats Survive Deadly Disease Get a Boost
(February 07, 2018) Nelson, BC (Sept. 18, 2017) – Research efforts aimed at identifying bat species or individual populations that may be able to survive the arrival of deadly White-nose Syndrome (WNS) received a boost this week with the announcement of $100,000 (U.S.) in new funding for cross-border bat science.WNS is a devastating fungal disease that has wiped out millions of bats in eastern North America, triggering what is thought to be the fastest decline of wild mammals in histo...

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Urgent: Canada needs better environmental laws

Urgent: Canada needs better environmental laws
(February 07, 2018) Canada needs stronger environmental laws that help restore science and knowledge – and public input -- to our decision making processes around landscape altering projects such as roads, mines and pipelines.The good news is that the federal government has been pursuing a plan to reform, among other things, the Environmental Assessment Act (EA).  WCS Canada has been very active in helping to frame what a renewed act should include, including a strong commitment for putting science front...

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Wood Buffalo Park: A World Heritage Site in danger

Wood Buffalo Park: A World Heritage Site in danger
(February 07, 2018)  Wood Buffalo National Park, which straddles the Alberta-NWT border, is an area that can only be described with superlatives. To begin with, it is huge – 45,000 square kilometres, an area bigger than the Netherlands.  It contains one of the world’s largest inland freshwater deltas (the Peace River Delta) and protects the world’s only breeding ground for whooping cranes as well as the largest wild herd of bison on the planet.But it is also troubled. Tar sands developme...

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Proposed changes to the Fisheries Act restore lost protections and add modern safeguards

Proposed changes to the Fisheries Act restore lost protections and add modern safeguards
(February 06, 2018) The Fisheries Act is Canada’s oldest piece of environmental legislation, and on February 06, 2018 the federal government proposed changes that will modernize the act, and restore protections for fish habitat that were removed under the previous government. Specifically, the renewed act will restore protection for all fish, rather than just those that are part of a fishery, along with restoring protection for fish habitat. Further, it makes it explicit that scientific information should be ...

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A Big Fish Story; Proactive Planning in the Face of Climate Change

A Big Fish Story; Proactive Planning in the Face of Climate Change
(December 17, 2017) It’s easy to understand the threat posed by climate change to polar bears.  But how many people think about what climate change means for fish?  Fish that thrive in cold rivers and lakes, such as brook trout, walleye, whitefish, and sturgeon, are an important cultural and economic resource that is deeply threatened by climate change.  How threatened?  That is what WCS Canada set out to discover by modeling not just the impacts of climate change, but of new roads and ind...

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What Is Making All That Arctic Noise?

What Is Making All That Arctic Noise?
(November 03, 2017) After a quarter century living and working in the Arctic, it continues to take our breath away on a regular basis. Mostly it’s the wildlife: a stupendous aggregation of migrating Sandhill cranes or caribou, a beach overflowing with fur seals, a close up encounter with a wolverine. Other times it could be a phenomenal display of northern lights.But sometimes the news impinges on that wonderment. Increasingly, we read reports of previously unimaginable levels of melting Arctic sea ice or the...

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Culture Revolution: Scientists Developing Probiotic Cocktail to Combat Deadly Bat Disease

(October 26, 2017) (TORONTO - October 26, 2017) – Researchers in Canada are developing a new preventative treatment to combat a deadly disease that is decimating bat populations by taking a cue from human probiotics.Think yogurt for bats.The new treatment, which is being developed by Dr. Naowarat Cheeptham of Thompson Rivers University, Dr. Cori Lausen of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada and Dr. J.P. Xu of McMaster University, uses the principle of probiotics - introducing “goo...

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