Friday 15 December 2017

Part 1 - Wetlands against Climate Change: Defining times, the new Climate Change Terminology

 Ten years since the United Nations Climate Change Conference, most of the world agrees that climate change is real. Climate change scientists are no longer asking “is this happening”, they are asking “was this weather event worse because of climate change, and is there a way we can mitigate and adapt so that the effects are less overwhelming”. But what does that look like? And how are wetlands involved?

Welcome to the first installment of the SAM blog series, Wetlands against Climate Change: how wetlands contribute to mitigation and adaptation.

Humans have contributed to climate change by increasing the rate of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that have entered the atmosphere over the past century. Turn on the news any night of the week and we can see the effects of climate change.  Wildfires burning large areas of forests, hurricanes taking out whole islands, and wildlife being pushed to survive in quickly changing ecosystems are just a few examples. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) even if we stopped all greenhouse gases from entering our atmosphere today, climate change is going to continue to affect us and future generations.

In the face of these extreme, and ever more common events, climate change scientists and policy makers have been tossing around the terms Mitigation and Adaptation. But what do these words mean when you are talking about climate change? What do they mean for your community? And how do wetland ecosystems play a role?

Before we answer all these questions, let’s start at the beginning by arming ourselves with a full understanding of the terms Mitigation and Adaptation.

Mitigation is defined as reducing emissions and stabilizing the levels of greenhouse gases we allow into the atmosphere. Some examples listed by the IPCC are using more fuel-efficient and hybrid electric vehicles, creating limits on emissions for industry, using renewable energy resources like solar and wind power, reducing deforestation, and the restoration of peat soils (Wetlands!) . Over the past 30 years total greenhouse gas emissions have steadily risen. Mitigation would mean reducing those emissions and in turn reducing global temperature rise. Take a look at the graph by Sophie Lewis, Climate Scientist (Graph Taken from Sophie Lewis Twitter @aviandelights). The graph illustrates two scenarios (with and without mitigation efforts), and how climate change might affect future generations.

Adaptation, according to The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, refers to “any modification in a system or process established by communities in order to address uncertainties related to climate change”. Examples of adaptation include using water resources more efficiently, adapting building codes to withstand severe weather events, developing food crops that are drought resistant, and the creation of wetlands as a buffer against sea level rise and flooding (Wetlands again! see the picture below). Adapting to climate change must involve people from a diverse array of backgrounds and expertise, including engineers, health professionals, farmers, city planners, political leaders, and policy makers.   

Climate change scientists have agreed that we need to take action! One key, and sometimes overlooked, area for mitigation and adaptation are wetlands. Join us for our next Wetlands against Climate Change blog post “Perfectly Peaty: how peat moss is an amazing carbon sink!

Graph Taken from Sophie Lewis Twitter @aviandelights


Thursday 7 December 2017

SAM Newsletter #13 Fall 2017

Stewardship Smiles! Congratulations to both The Town of Centreville-Wareham-Trinity and The Town of Pouch Cove for signing their Habitat Stewardship Agreements this November. (L to R: Deputy Mayor Lloyd Pickett, MHA Derek Bragg, Councillor Sam Gibbons, Mayor Jodey Wall, MHA Kevin Parsons,
The Honourable Gerry Byrne)

Twice as Nice: CWT and Pouch Cove Sign Habitat Stewardship Agreements 

On November 17th of 2017, The Town of Centreville-Wareham-Trinity became the 40th municipality to sign a Municipal Habitat Stewardship Agreement. Present for the signing was Deputy Mayor Lloyd Pickett, and all of the CWT Councillors including Sam Gibbons, who will be the SAM representative on council. MHA Derek Bragg was in attendance for the Province. The town hopes to support a new environment committee to work on some future stewardship projects including the walking trail at Black's Brook. The agreement designates 3 Management Units that encompass over 5000 acres!

Three days later on November 20th, The Town of Pouch Cove became the 41st municipality of SAM when they signed their Habitat Stewardship Agreement. In attendance were Town of Pouch Cove staff members, Mayor Jodey Wall, and The Honorable Gerry Byrne. Also in attendance, and showing their Killick Coast support, were staff members from the SAM Communities of Torbay and Flatrock. Pouch Cove has designated 6 Management Units including excellent seabird nesting habitat and habitat for the endangered Red Crossbill. We are looking forward to seeing how Stewardship can be supported among the Killick Coast SAM Communities! 

SAM Network News & Updates

Educational Outreach: Bonavista Restoration Project NWCF
Thanks in part to financial support from the National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF), the Town of Bonavista with support from SAM Staff, was able to host an Educational Outreach Event for Matthew Elementary's Grade 4 classes. The day started in the classroom where the students learned about the 5 different types of wetlands and played games including "Wetland Values" and everyone's favorite "Name that Duck".   
After lunch we were joined on the O'Dea's Pond boardwalk by Mayor John Norman, who we are proud to say is also our very own SAM President! Mayor Norman let us know the town is restoring the wetland conditions that were compromised by the fishing industry many years ago. By creating Nesting Islands (pictured above) ducks and shore birds can find refuge from native and introduced predators. Thank you to Matthew ElementaryGrade 4 classes for a great day!       
The Wheels on the Bus: SAM Outreach Tour 2017!
This November The SAM Outreach Team was able to visit 4 SAM Communities, 5 Management Units (MU), Lead an Educational Event, and participate in a Habitat Stewardship Agreement Signing! First on the Tour was The Town of Whitbourne. Signed in 1993, Whitbourne has a long history of stewardship and is home to many interesting lichens. Just a short drive up the road we visited The Town of Come-by-Chance. Signed in 1995, CBC's MU is a beautiful estuary and a bird watchers dream! After visiting with these SAM communities we felt inspired for our next stop, the Town of Bonavista. Signed in 2013, the town recently received a National Wetland Conservation Fund Grant for a wetland restoration project. Last, but not least, we traveled to The Town of Centreville-Wareham-Trinity for their Habitat Stewardship Agreement Signing! It was a great tour and we are excited to hear from all of our SAM communities in 2018 at the Spring AGM! 
Winter Stewardship: Activity and Event Ideas for YOUR Community!
Keep your stewardship spirit high all winter with these activity and event ideas for your community!

- Check your Nest Boxes or hold a Nest Box workshop: Winter is the perfect time to check and install boxes without damaging habitat or disturbing waterfowl.

- Plan a snowshoeing event on your trail system: Hot chocolate, boil ups, and scavenger hunts are all great ways to get your community out and enjoying their Management Units in the winter months.

- Become a animal track expert: Partner with your local school or community group and learn more about tracking animals in the winter!

-  Participate in the Audubon's 118th Christmas Bird Count: If there isn't an official bird count in your area... start your own in and around your Management Units! You can upload your images and identifications to

-Plan to attend the SAM Spring AGM to be held in Stephenville Crossing! Select a Councillor, staff member or interested resident to attend, and watch for your emailed invite and registration forms in April of 2018!
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