WCS Canada

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North America's Wetlands Need Planning and Protection
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has a mandate to halt wetland loss in Ontario, and released the first draft of a Wetland Conservation Strategy that is intended to fulfill this important commitment. However, the draft suffers from a number of critical weaknesses, and will not deliver on protecting wetlands in Ontario. WCS Canada Ontario Northern Boreal scientists recommend that “no net loss” should be considered only as a component within a broader framework that focuses on proactive wetland evaluations and watershed-level planning; explicitly includes wetland protection; and considers climate change.
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Government review of environmental and regulatory processes
Canada’s federal environmental and regulatory processes are under review to modernize and improve key environmental legislation. The Fisheries Act is an important piece of legislation that gives the Government of Canada the authority to manage fisheries and protect fish habitat. However, protection for fish and fish habitats has been declining in Canada for at least a decade. To be effective, Fisheries Act must be modernized, including evidence-based approaches to protecting fish and fish habitat, and to restore provisions that were removed in 2012. The reform process for this legislation must carefully consider important factors like climate change and cumulative effects, and seek to improve monitoring and enforcement
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Climate Change in Yukon and Northern Ontario: New Publications

Climate change is already taking hold across Canada, particularly in northern regions like Yukon and northern Ontario. Our field scientists recently published two papers in Global Ecology and Conservation that investigate this challenge and propose methods to minimize its impact. Drs. Erika Rowland, Nancy Fresco, Donald Reid and Hilary Cooke examine how future climate change may alter the vegetation across the Yukon, consequently affecting the makeup of protected areas across the territory. Dr. Brie Edwards, Meg Southee, and Dr. Jenni McDermid illustrated the way lake size and shape, combined with climate conditions, effects the type of fish present in a given lake and show that lakes in northern Ontario will become even more important in the coming years.

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WCS Canada Weighs in on Species at Risk

Laws devoted to the protection and recovery of species at risk are meant to provide added protection measures after regular management approaches have been insufficient to stave off extinction risk. Once a species is “listed” by government as at risk of extinction, it becomes eligible for additional protection measures, particularly those related to safeguarding affected habitats. Depending on how complex the threats are, the set of actions required to reverse or mitigate impacts can be multifaceted and challenging to implement. WCS Canada scientists, who have considerable field and policy experience with a number of Canadian species, have contributed comments on species at risk recovery strategies that were put out for public review in the last several months.

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North American Caribou Workshop

The 16th North American Caribou Workshop was held in May in Thunder Bay - the first time in 20 years it was hosted in Ontario. This year’s workshop theme is Connections: exploring the link between people, disciplines and ecosystems to further caribou conservation and management. More than 250 people from science, academia, indigenous communities, NGOs, government, and practitioners – drawn by their common interest in caribou – will assemble to share their knowledge, ideas, stories, and most recent discoveries. This conference will provide a discussion forum to confront these challenges and fill gaps in knowledge and understanding of this fascinating animal.

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