DNR and the disappearing scienceAug. 29, 2014: A Halifax Media Co-op article by Robert Devet asks if our forests are "not a renewable resource after all" and highlights nutrient supply issues as a matter of concern. "Poor soils, acid rain and a history of clearcutting make Nova Scotia's forests vulnerable to aggressive harvesting practices, a biologist argues. Yet the Department of Natural Resources is not releasing a scientific report that identifies where not to clearcut." View Article
Public meetings, feedback on proposed changes to Halifax's subdivision bylawAug. 9, 2014: From Metro News: " Three public meetings have been scheduled to address proposed changes to the municipality's subdivision bylaw after concerns were raised by developers and HRM staff... The public meetings will be held Aug. 11, 18 and 20 in Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax, respectively.... An online survey is available for those interested in commenting on the proposed changes, in addition to mail, email, or fax responses. The deadline is Sept. 5." Read more in Metro News. View Details on HRM site.
Cranberry Lake RockscapesAug 7, 2014. Cranberry Lake, at the top of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area, is barely 15 or 20 minutes drive and a 500 m walk out of downtown Halifax. A paddle from its downstream, north end near Hwy 103 to its southern end with a short portage into Pot Lake, is a journey into wilderness and solitude and much beauty. The granitic rockscapes along the shores present unusual shapes and vistas and being largely inaccessible otherwise, retain rich covers of lichens and low shrubs not seen where they are trampled. View pics
Safety-minded ATV Association hard at workAug. 2, 2014. The Safety Minded ATV Association was a key partner in the efforts to get wilderness protection for the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area. One part of the agreement was to include a designated trail for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use through trail management agreements between ATVANS, NSORRA and Nova Scotia Environment. Safety Minded ATV Association and NSORRA volunteers maintain the trail. Read more about it on their website and view photos of recent work. Many thanks to SMATVA President Mike Marriott, especially, for his earlier work with the Chebucto Wilderness Coalition, and now on constructing and managing this shared use trail.
Family Day on The Bluff TrailJuly 27, 2014: Five Families with youngsters participated in this WRWEO-sponsored, Nova Scotia Park Event on July 19, 2014 lead by Nanci Lee and David Patriquin, Co-chairs of WRWEO. We were joined as well by Troy & Christa with MoMo, Troy's Seeing-Eye Dog. At the trailhead, participants were given a brief intro. to the ecology of The Bluff Trail, and to using a Map & Compass. Then they set out to search for specific plants at points indicated on a map of The Bluff Trail ("biocaching")... read more
Aquatic Plants of Hubley Big LakeJuly 8, 2014, updated Aug 1: WRWEO member David P. has begun a project to document the aquatic plants of Hubley Big Lake, a shallow, bouldery, brown water lake with limited development which receives waters from the upper lakes of the Woodens watershed and spills into the Lower Woodens River (and lakes). View photos of some of these plants in flower on July 7 & 22nd. Added Aug 7: Aquatic Plants of Cranberry and Pot Lakes
Trail Maintenance RFPJuly 8, 2015: WRWEO is looking for bids for brush cutting the last two loops of The Bluff Trail as well as dead-fall removal on the whole trail. If you are a contractor who is interested in submitting a bid for this work please contact Paul Berry (jpaulberry65ATgmail.com) to obtain a map and RFP response template. You will also need to be able to provide details of similar work that you have completed as well as two references from your customers.
Basic Map & Compass Skills for Hikers on The Bluff Wilderness Hiking TrailJuly 1, 2014: Even if you have a GPS, you should still be able to describe where you are and to navigate using only a map and compass. WRWEO members Richmond C. and David P. and some young volunteers developed a set of videos to aid in the teaching & learning of basic map & compass skills with special reference to The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. Read more
Saturday July 19th, 2014 - Family/Youth Day on The Bluff Wilderness Hiking TrailJune 26, 2014: Join us for a day of wilderness adventures and exploration on The Bluff Trail with your family. Learn how to use a compass. Kids will be biocaching - hunting for natural treasures, e.g., tripe lichens, white pine, old growth spruce, cucumber plant, animal signs using only a map and compass. Different bio-caching activities for different age groups. They'll also be asked to complete backwoods activities such as paddling a canoe on Cranberry Lake (with parents)... Registration required (& there is a limit, so register ASAP). View More Details
Thursday, July 3: Panel Discussion - Creating a Greenbelt Plan for HalifaxJune 26, 2014: FUSION Sustainability in partnership with the Ecology Action Centre, HRM Alliance and Dalhousie's Office of Sustainability bring you a great opportunity to explore Greenbelting. What is it? Why are cities doing it? What will it mean for Halifax to have one?
Where: Room 1009, Kenneth Rowe Management Building, Dalhousie University
When: 5:30-6:00 pm - Meet and Greet/Networking
6:00-8:00 pm - Panel Discussion
View Facebook Event Page
Tuesday June 24, 2014:
June 18, 2014: The now long-awaited Public Hearing on RP+5 will be held by Halifax Regional Council
commencing on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. in the Halifax
Regional Council Chambers at City Hall, 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax,
NS. All written and oral presentations will be considered at that time.
Written submissions may be forwarded to the Municipal Clerk by
mail, P.O. Box 1749, Halifax, NS, B3J 3A5; by fax, 490-4208; or by e-mail,
email@example.com. Written submissions should be received by the
Municipal Clerk's office as early as possible, but not later than 3:00 p.m.
on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. For a summary of the proposed changes to the Regional Plan, see Notice. OurHRM Alliance (of which WRWEO is a member) supports the revisions to the Regional Plan - please show support by writing a letter &/0r attending &/or speaking at the Public Hearing. See OurHRM Alliance for more details.
HRM Public Hearing on RP+5
UPDATE June 25th: Revised Regional Plan Approved. An hour ago on Twitter from OurHRM Alliance: "After over two years of hard work, the revised Regional Plan has passed almost unanimously at council." !!!!!!!!!!
Can our forests sustain continued clearcutting?June 18, 2014: The request by Northern Pulp for access to an additional 125,000 green metric tonnes, part of it coming from the St. Margaret's Bay Bowater Lands, raised questions about the sustainablity of further clearcuts in an area already highly stressed by acid rain. So far, responses by our Depts of Natural Resources & Environment to questions raised on Feb. 12, 2014 have not addressed the questions, while clearcutting continues... Letter of Feb 15 | Response from DNR | Followup x DNR (May 20, 2014) | Followup & response x NSE
Orchids abound on The Bluff TrailJune 17, 2014: I counted 133 Lady's Slippers between the trail head and the Pot Lake junction yesterday. 'Lots else in bloom as summer finally greets us!
Summer Intern Position to investigate aquatic habitat & water qualityMay 28, 2014: Position June 30,2014 - August 29, 2014 for full time student to investigate aquatic habitat and water quality in river systems of the Chebucto Peninsula. Applications due by June 8, 2014. View Notice
Hubley Big Lake paddle this Saturday (May 31)This Saturday, May 31, join Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia and N.S. Environment for a leisurely circumnavigation of scenic Hubley Big Lake and a visit to the adjacent Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area. We plan to explore this complex and rocky lake, a hub of local canoe routes, and stop at one of the finest campsites in suburban Halifax and at Silver Sands Beach. We also hope to walk the portage across the divide into Upper Five Bridge Lake, located within the wilderness area.
The start and finish of this outing will be at the Flake Brook landing, at the end of Big Hubley Lake Road. Participants are required to provide their own canoe or seakayak, plus their own safety gear. Bring lunch, drinks, insect repellant and extra clothing for this all-day portage-less trip. Pre-register with Peter Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (902) 424-0202. Meeting time is 9:30 AM; rain date is Saturday, June 7. (Received from Dusan Sudec, co-leader for the event)
Bluff Trail ranked high in Globe & MailMay 23, 2014: "These are Canada's best hiking trails - did your favourite make the list?" The Bluff Trail made it! See article
Journeys Through Eastern Old-Growth ForestsMay 21, 2014: There was a booklaunch yesterday for Jamie Simpson's Journeys Through Eastern Old Growth Forests. "Yes, there is old-growth forest in the Maritimes. The Acadian Forest, as it is known, is a complex mosaic of various species and ages. Now left only in pockets scattered here and there, these forests will stop you in your tracks, invite your gaze upward, and fill you with wonder.." Listen to CBC Interview. Jamie had previously authored Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide to Forest Stewardship for Woodlot Owners in the Maritimes.
Cliff Hanger at Regional Council over the BacklandsMay 20, 2014: From Metro News: "Tie vote ends development debate on contentious Purcell's Cove backlands issue...City staff will lead a process examining the possibility of bringing the Purcell's Cove backlands into public ownership after a vote defeated the prospect of opening the lands up for development."
More on The Amendments (RP+5)May 17, 2014: The Staff Report was released yesterday. Here are some comments from OurHRM Alliance:
Our HRM Alliance fully endorses the staff report on the proposed amendments to the Regional Plan. It uses strong language to reject nearly all amendments. The report can be found here: http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents
/140520cow3i.pdf Here are the key points: The report recommends against changing the Purcell's Cove..Read more
Tuesday May 20: RP+5 at Regional CouncilMay 16, 2014: Whether we keep a strong regional plan could be decided in the coming days. Today, Staff releases their report on the last-minute proposed amendments to the regional plan. On Tuesday May 20: Committee of the Whole meets to discuss the amendments. Depending on time, Regional Council may also be held, in which case the amendments may be decided on the same day. Those who support maintaining a strong regional plan are encouraged to attend Council on Tuesday, May 20th. The amendments would have a huge impact. Urban forests in Purcell's Cove and and near Cole Harbour are at risk. If sewer is extended as far as proposed, we will all pay in dearly in fees and taxes. Some changes could create loopholes that would open up the possibility of development nearly anywhere in the region. Tuesday is an opportunity to show councillors residents do not want rules to be changed the moment they are inconvenient for developers. View A list of the amendments. An article by Tristan Cleveland in the Coast which addresses some of these issues.
Girl Guides & Pathfinders on The Bluff TrailMay 11, 2014: WRWEO Board members lead a Wilderness Workshop for the 1st St. Margaret's Bay Guides & Pathfinders on The Bluff Trail yesterday. The girls learned map skills & to identify some native plants and we talked about "Wilderness" and what it means to us. We all learned a lot! View Pics
Artist Susan Tooke: Bluff Wilderness-Pot Lake, an acrylic on canvasMay 9, 2014: SusanTooke, "an award-winning children's illustrator and painter, exhibits her noisy, kinetic, patterned acrylic landscapes of Canadian woods in punches of red, blue, gold, mauve and green in Woodlands and Watersheds at Gallery Page and Strange, 1869 Granville St., Halifax." Read about her work in the Chronicle Herald, which features her Bluff Wilderness-Pot Lake painting. ""I've become more and more aware of environmental issues. Getting out into places at risk, like the Backlands in (Purcells Cove), makes you appreciate what you have and fearful of losing it."
Celebrating Broom CrowberryMay 8, 2014: Broom Crowberry, Corema conradii is very common on The Bluff Trail, which is one thing to celebrate, amongst many others, about The Bluff Trail. An article by WRWEO Co-chair David Patriquin in the May Newsletter of the Atlantic Rhododendron and Horticultural Society describes what's special about this species in Nova Scotia. View article
It's Spring on The Bluff Trail, Finally!May 8, 2014 Three "Bluffers" were on The Bluff Trail yesterday, scoping some sites for a wilderness event. Spring was definitely in the air, , with mayflowers and broom crowberry in full bloom and the very first red maple flowers sighted. View Pics
Wed. May 14, 2014: Flora study of Williams Lake Backlands featured at WLCC AGMMay 7: 2014: The Annual General Meeting of the Williams Lake Conservation Company will be held at 7:00 on Wednesday, May 14th at the Captain Spry Centre, 10 Kidston Rd, Spryfield. WRWEO member David Patriquin will present highlights of the Ecological Assessment of the Plant Communities of the Williams Lake Backlands that he and Dr. Nick Hill recently completed on behalf of the WLCC. The AGM is also an opportunity for us to review the year's activities and for you to bring forward your concerns and observations. Everyone is welcome.
Council to Address Amendments to Regional Plan May 20May 7, 2014: HRM regional Council will (tentatively) discuss amendments to the Regional Plan that would greatly reduce controls on development and our eventual greenbelt on Tuesday May 20th. OurHRM Alliance opposes these amendments because they were made last-minute, at the first reading of the plan, at which point there is little opportunity for public input. The date of the discussion will remain tentative until May 16, the same day staff will be releasing a report on the proposed amendments. Stay Tuned!
It's not Reader's Digest but it is WRWEO DIGESTMay 6, 2014: To help keep WRWEO members informed about events related to WRWEO without excessive e-mails, members are being sent a WRWEO DIGEST periodically. It will also be posted here. See WRWEO DIGEST May 5.
N.S. rapped for hiring former Bowater manager in renewables roleApril 29, 2014: A recent hire by the province's Natural Resources Department is drawing concerns that industry is too cozy with the department. Read more in Chronicle Herald
Sat. May 3, 2014: Backlands 360 WalksThe Backlands Coalition invites Nova Scotians to participate in an afternoon of guided walks in the Backlands on Saturday May 3, organized as part of the annual Jane's Walk events across Canada and around the world. WRWEO is one of the founding members of the Backlands Coalition. More about the walks
Spring Fever on The WoodensApril 13, 2014: This pair of amorous buffleheads was spotted on the lower Woodens River a few days ago. They nest in tree cavities, but have not been recorded as nesting in Nova Scotia. This pair seems to have been thinking about it. Let's hope so!
Nova Scotia Watershed Assessment Atlas releasedApril 11, 2014: Dalhousie University's Hydrology Research Group has launched the first Nova Scotia Watershed Atlas and geo-database. Created in collaboration with Nova Scotia Environment (NSE), the atlas provides the first high-level assessment of the health and stressors of watersheds in Nova Scotia. Read more. Go to http://www.sterlinglab.ca/ to download the Atlas and database. The Woodens River Watershed is watershed No. 64 in the atlas.
Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz - Please join!April 2, 2014: Have you heard a squeaky-hinge song lately, or seen a flash of rust-tipped feathers under a bright yellow eye? Although occasionally overlooked as "just another blackbird," Rusty Blackbirds face an unfortunate and remarkable notoriety: this species has endured a decline more severe than that of any other once-common landbird - 85-95% in the past 40 years. The Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz challenges birders to scour the landscape for Rusty Blackbirds during this species' northward migration. Read more
Look for & Protect Landbird Species at Risk in the FBLWA and adjacent areasMarch 30, 2014: At a recent talk given to the Nova Scotia Bird Society, ornithologist Cindy Staicer described a developing program to enhance conservation of Landbirds Species at Risk in Forested Landscapes. For four of the five species at risk, there is suitable habitat in the FBLWA and either recent or historic observation of their breeding in or close to the FBLWA. Read more
The Bridge, March 2014 Issue - lots of interestMarch 23, 2014: The Bridge is the newsletter from the Five Bridge Wilderness Heritage Trust. Each short article is full of useful information and relevant to the work we are doing: Westerns Commons, Otter Lake, Bowater Mersey lands, adoption of Nile Mile River, Hubley Community Centre (HCC), May 25th May Fair, and their AGM, cited in the previous post. See The Bridge March 2014
Keith Croucher of Bike NS is the Guest Speaker for the Five Bridges Trust AGM (Thursday March 27)March 20, 2014: Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust will hold its Annual General Meeting on Thursday, March 27 at the Hubley Community Centre, 4408 St. Margaret's Bay Rd, Lewis Lake. Registration is at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. Keith Croucher of Bike NS will be the guest speaker. More
Well attended, participatory AGMMarch 13, 2014: We had a well attended AGM yesterday evening. A new board was elected, Richmond Campbell was presented with a book "WRWEO Days" in appreciation of his 19 years as Chair or Co-Chair (and for much more), and Nanci Lee and Jessi Filmore led a discussion about Youth and Family Engagement. More
Wed. March 12th: WRWEO AGMMar. 8, 2014: We invite everyone with interests in The Bluff Trail, The Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area, and in lakes and streams making up the Woodens River system, or just in "getting outdoors" to participate in a discussion of the types of activities we might undertake over the next few years to engage youth and families. The AGM begins at at 7:00 PM, Tantallon Public Library, doors open at 6:30 to renew membership (or renew online). Read more. The Chairs' Report & Minutes & Reports from the 2013 event are available under the Members tab.
Conservation corridors good for seed dispersal as well as mooseFeb. 27, 2014: The Chebucto Peninsula now has a lot of protected land in big patches and small. To realize their full benefit for conservation, we need to connect them and to provide corridors across hwy103. See Maps. We often plan such corridors for animal movement; a new study shows they also benefit seed dispersal. More about Moose & Wildlife Corridors in the FBLWA here.
Saturday, March 1, 2014: Up!Skilling! Festival and ExpoFeb. 27, 2014: "Transition Bay is bringing together a wide range of trades, crafts and other skills persons to teach their skills. Book this unique event on your calendar and plan to spend a few hours or the whole day! Each skills-person will be teaching several times at a table or floor-space dedicated to learning. Become a 'Do-It-Yourselfer', and learn valuable skills that you can immediately take home and put into practice." 9 AM to 5 PM St. Luke's United Church Lower Hall, 5374 St. Margarets Bay Rd, Tantallon. -FREE- Details
Tuesday Feb 25th: First Reading of Regional Plan
The Future of the Backlands?
Fives Bridges Trust: The Dump affects us allFeb 16, 2014: A message to residents from the Board of Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust. They note ill effects for The Bluff Trail: "For those of you who enjoy the Bluff Trail, Nine Mile River (which the Landfill sits next to), Rails to Trails and Wilderness area, the Disposal cells will be more visible, there will be more equipment noise, particularly hearing trucks back up. There will be more odours and blowing garbage because the cells will be above the tree line " and much more... Please read
WRWEO Joins the Backlands CoalitionFeb. 13, 2014: The WRWEO Board has approved WRWEO joining the Backlands Coalition. The Backlands, sometimes known as the Pucell's Cova Backlands, are lands enclosed by Herring Cove and Purcells Cove Roads, extending from Williams Lake at the northwest to Power's Pond at the southeast. Protecting the Backlands would add an important chunk to the set of protected areas and parks on the Chebucto Peninsula. Read more
Can our forests sustain continued clearcutting?Feb 12, 2014: The request by Northern Pulp for access to an additional 125,000 green metric tonnes, part of it coming from the St. Margaret's Bay Bowater Lands, raises questions about the sustainablity of further clearcuts in an area already highly stressed by acid rain. View letter | View response from DNR | Followup x DNR (May 20, 2014) | Followup & response x NSE
Tuesday Feb. 11th: RP+5 version 4Feb. 10, 2014: The latest & likely the final version of the Regional Plan +5 will be given first reading and a public hearing scheduled tomorrow (Feb 11th) at Regional Council. See Agenda. The full document is available on the Agenda site.
Former mayor of Halifax Co. speaks out on Otter Lake CommitmentsJanuary 22, 2014: Randy Ball, former mayor of Halifax County, recalls the process and commitments that led to the Otter lake Landfill. Read article