WCS Canada

Latest News

B.C. Has Only a Small Window to Help Bats
The recent discovery in northwest Washington State of bats infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that has devastated bat populations in eastern North America, is a wake-up call. In BC, the disease can only be detected when bats are leaving hibernation sites, meaning the key period for tracking the potential spread of the disease is late winter and early spring, which, in turn, means we need to be ramping up early detection efforts now. Unfortunately, the provincial government does not currently have internal expertise and has not allocated secured funding to address the bat conservation crisis that is about to hit this province. 
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WCS Canada Scientists Suggest Environmental Assessment Changes to Address Concerns About Process and Outcomes
In June, the Government of Canada announced the launch of a comprehensive review of federal environmental assessment processes associated with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). As part of this process, WCS Canada presented at two panels and submitted two formal submissions. Our submissions express particular concerns about environmental assessment in the context of welcoming new development and we focus on the role of evidence-based decision making for environmental assessments. 
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Caribou Story Map: Interactive Web Tool Shows Mining Claim Footprints and Caribou Ranges in Ontario’s Far North
Ontario’s Far North is becoming the fastest growing area of mineral exploration in the province. The resulting threats to caribou include cumulative habitat disturbance and loss of access to critical areas for calving or feeding. Our recently launched Caribou Story Map helps provide a “big picture” understanding of the extent and potential impacts of this type of development on caribou populations in the region, and facilitates access of hard-to-reach data to inform and promote more meaningful public engagement on exploration permit applications.  The information available in the map will be critical to decision-makers in the management of this species at risk, particularly in areas identified as having overlap of conservation and mining interests.
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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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