WCS Canada

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Naturally Resilient: A strategy to adapt to climate change or business-as- usual?
To address climate change in Ontario, Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) developed a Climate Change Action Plan identifying a number of actions, across multiple ministries aimed at reducing the magnitude and/or rate of greenhouse gas emissions. Because climate change is already impacting human communities and natural systems, MOECC also developed a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy identifying a number of actions, across multiple ministries. The Strategy

 focuses on a 5 high level goals that acknowledge MNRF’s responsibilities, includes a commitment to science and research through partnerships, and prioritizes MNRF’s mandate areas that are at risk due to climate change impacts (e.g., forest management, wetland conservation, water management, species at risk). WCS Canada scientists offered a number of recommendations to strengthen the Strategy.

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Enhancing the protection of fish and fish habitat in Canada: A critical opportunity to breathe new life into failing policy
Although fish and fisheries are an integral part of Canada’s history, culture, and economyprotection for fish and fish habitats has been declining in Canada for at least a decadeThe Fisheries Act is Canada’s oldest environmental law and an important piece of legislation that gives the Government of Canada the authority to manage fisheries and protect fish habitat. However to be effective, the Fisheries Act must be modernized, include evidence-based approaches to protecting fish and fish habitat, and restore provisions that were removed in 2012. In June, 2016 the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans were asked to lead a comprehensive review  of the Fisheries Act and solicit input from  the public and experts. WCS Canada’s freshwater scientists were among the many voices providing recommendations to the committee.  We were also signatories to a joint letter outlining common priorities for the Act’s revitalization to Minister LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
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Big Bat Find in Alberta’s Boreal Forest

A joint effort between WCS Canada’s BatCaver and Alberta Environment and Parks has led to the discovery of the largest bat hibernation cave ever recorded in Alberta, outside the Rocky Mountains. This newly-discovered cave is being used for hibernation by several hundred Little Brown Myotis bats, listed as Endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. It is now more important than ever to discover new hibernation sites since the arrival of white-nose syndrome (WNS) to Washington State in March 2016.This discovery demonstrates that large hibernation sites do exist outside the Rocky Mountains, and similar caves may exist in other non-mountainous areas throughout the boreal forest. 

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Comments on Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan

In November 2016, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) released a discussion paper outlining how they might approach a Forest Carbon Policy Framework. WCS Canada scientists express concern over the lack of detail about the science underpinning the MNRF approaches outlined within. The uncertainty about whether climate change can be mitigated by increasing carbon through forest management practices in the boreal, and the narrow focus on forests managed for timber are two key issues highlighted by WCS Canada scientists. 

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Premier Announces Ban of Off-Highway Vehicles from Castle Wildlands, Alberta

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has announced the final boundaries and new protection measures for the Castle Wildlands and Provincial Park in southwest Alberta. The management plan is not final, and it needs your help to ensure the protections remain in the final draft. The province is accepting comments on the plan for 60-days, and you have a chance to share your opinion that the OHV prohibition is necessary for this protected area.

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