SLSNC Comments on LSRCA Watershed Development Policies

Pick up the latest copy of “The Talon” Newsletter. Click the download link below.

The Talon – Vol. 24, No.4 October 2014

Inside this issue:

Update on the SLSN’s comments on The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s watershed development policies.

SLSNC’s full comments and accompanying correspondence with Ecojustive have been included below:

Ecojustice reply to LSRCA policy review comments

South Lake Simcoe Naturalists Comments on Lake Simcoe and Region Conservation Authority Watershed Development Policies

SLSN Comments on The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s Watershed Development Policies – Cover Letter

Special Conservation Presentation

Bees and Agricultural Pesticides

Speaker: Sue Chan

THURSDAY OCTOBER 23, 2014 – 7:30 p.m.

Photo credit flickr user blathlean

EGYPT HALL Town of Georgina, York Region, 6757 Smith Blvd. Pefferlaw, Ontario.

Aubrey Goulding produces beeswax candles, skin balms and other products in Paradise (CBC). Sue’s powerpoint presentation is approximately 45 minutes long. It will be followed up by a Q&A. Sue Chan will present current knowledge regarding neonicotinoids pesticide use, and other issues with bees in Canada. Don’t miss this must see presentation! Everyone welcome.

Rouge National Park Reaches Important Final Stages of Establishment

Notice to SLSN members:

This is the time for Naturalists and natural environment advocates to show you care about the beauty, biodiversity and health of the Rouge River watershed and Park and taking steps to protect the Rouge. Important conservation steps in the Rouge to the south of us, can set a tone for future conservation in the Lake Simcoe area in the future.

Some important developments summarized below by Friends of the Rouge.

Ontario Minister Brad Duguid and the Provincial Government are insisting that the Federal Government fully honour its agreement to “Meet or Exceed” the Provincial Rouge Park, Greenbelt and ORM policy framework, as a necessary pre-condition for the transfer of Provincial Rouge Park lands to the Federal Government for the creation of a national Rouge Park (Toronto Star Articles Attached).

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s draft Rouge National Urban Park legislation (Bill C-40) and management plan threaten to undermine the park’s ecological integrity, ecological potential and size.

The originally proposed Rouge NU Park Study Area was 160 km2 of publicly-owned land, mainly in the Greenbelt.

In the maps recently released by Parks Canada, the proposed national Rouge Park has shrunk to an area of only 50 Km2 , less than one third of the original 160 km2 national park proposal.

The current Park proposal is less than half of the publicly owned Greenbelt lands surrounding the Rouge; and only marginally larger than the existing Rouge Park.

Please attend one or more of the upcoming Parks Canada meetings on the Rouge NU Park draft Management Plan and please support FRW’s reasonable request to the Federal Government.

Tuesday September 16 in Pickering, Pickering Recreation Complex, O’Brien Room, 1867 Valley Farm Rd, Pickering, ON L1V 6K7, 7 PM

Thursday September 18 in downtown Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Jackman Hall, 317 Dundas St West, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4 7 PM

Paul Harpley,
President SLSN

NAFTA leaders could save the monarch butterflies

By Carter Roberts & Omar Vidal
(CNN) — Twenty years ago last month, the North American Free Trade Agreement was born. The goal of NAFTA was straightforward — to encourage the free movement of goods and capital between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Few points in history have been as important in forging bonds between our three countries.

While NAFTA is a relatively new pact that ties our nations, there are some things that go back far longer that bind us. Like the annual monarch butterfly migration, which started long before the trades, borders or foreign affairs were even an issue.

There’s no record telling us when monarch butterflies first began their journeys of up to 2,800 miles between southern Canada, the northern U.S., and central Mexico. It’s easy to assume that an end date for the migrations is just as elusive, but reality tells a different story.

In January, we got grim news from the central mountains of Mexico, the southernmost destination for migrating monarchs and sanctuary for their winter hibernation.

According to surveys carried out by World Wildlife Fund, together with Mexico’s National Commission on Protected Areas and other partners, the entire hibernating population of monarch butterflies in the 2013-2014 season occupied an area of forest not much bigger than a football field — a mere 1.6 acres. This is a 44% drop from the previous season, and a continuation of the freefall migrating monarchs have taken since data collection began two decades ago. 2013 was the worst year for these butterflies in recorded history. Now people are talking about the migration disappearing altogether.

There are several reasons for the decline, including extreme climate events in the U.S. and Canada as well as deforestation in Mexico. Yet the biggest culprit is likely the widespread extermination of milkweed, a flowering plant critical to monarch butterfly reproduction and development.

Across much of the monarch’s range, particularly in the midwestern U.S., milkweed has fallen victim en masse to changing land use and the advent of herbicide-resistant crops. In short, the cupboard is bare for monarch caterpillars, and as a result one of North America’s most dazzling natural wonders is on the brink of vanishing entirely.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to witness any part of the monarch spectacle, you understand why we can’t let this happen. Whether a blanket of orange against a deep blue sky; a forest draped from root to leaf in dormant monarchs; or a single butterfly fluttering past you en route to join the masses, there is nothing quite like it.

The proverbial silver lining to this dark news on migratory monarch numbers is that it may have come at an opportune time.

Next Wednesday, February 19, U.S. President Obama will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Peña Nieto at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Toluca, Mexico. Toluca is just a short distance from the monarch’s hibernation sites. During the summit, the butterflies will still be in nearby forests, poised to emerge from a four-month siesta that began in early winter.

White House officials have said the three leaders will discuss “a range of issues important to the daily lives of all of North America’s people.” What isn’t clear is whether the plight of the monarchs will make the agenda, and if the three countries bound by an age-old butterfly migration will together show resolve in making sure this unique connection isn’t permanently severed.

Whether monarchs flying south from Ontario, across America’s heartland to converge on the oyamel fir trees of the Sierra Madre; gray whales hugging the California coast as they migrate from Baja to the Beaufort Sea and back again; or pronghorn antelope clinging to strongholds from the Northern Great Plains to the Sonoran Desert, the natural bonds connecting the U.S., Mexico and Canada stretch back millennia and transcend anything that can be traded or written on paper. They are bonds to take pride in, that unite the countries of North America in unexpected, beautiful ways. Something we simply cannot let disappear.

The summit in Toluca may be the last hope we have of saving the monarch migration. President Peña Nieto himself has been committed to the conservation of the monarch sanctuaries of Estado de Mexico since he served as governor there from 2005 to 2011. He knows firsthand the significant efforts and sacrifices of Mexico’s local indigenous communities, authorities and civil society organizations to protect the sanctuaries. He also knows the important contribution the butterflies bring to local social and economic well-being.

Only a joint effort from all three countries will turn the tide in favor of the monarch. Our leaders must re-energize efforts to conserve the monarch butterfly, like those under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation that was born alongside NAFTA. This plan must include concrete actions to halt destruction of milkweed in the U.S. and Canada, restore monarch habitat in all three countries, and strengthen law enforcement in Mexico to stop deforestation. If together we could pull off something as big and ambitious as NAFTA, solving the monarch crisis must be within our means. We urge our heads-of-state, on behalf of all the people of North America, to use this opportunity to commit to the long-term preservation of one of our most ancient and spectacular bonds.

The Town of Georgina’s Recreation Facility Needs Study and Trails and Active Transportation Master Plan.

The studies for this project are nearing completion and the Town hosted one final Public Information Center at The ROC Chalet the evening of Thursday, November 28th, 2013. A few members were able to attend and feedback to be incorporated into the study, and see how the studies have progressed. The final reports and recommendations will be presented to Council in January. Any input at this stage will still be incorporated. Please contact the Town if you have any comment. Details of the Plan are now supposed to be on the Town of Georgina Web Site.

Landowners and Farmers

There are many simple things residents can do to protect drinking water sources, including:

  • Maintaining their septic systems
  • Disposing of hazardous waste properly
  • Minimizing their use of pesticides, fertilizers and de-icing salt
  • Storing fuels properly

Farmers can also protect groundwater sources by:

  • Controlling field and stream bank erosion
  • Using safe storage and handling systems for manure
  • Creating a nutrient management plan
  • Controlling barnyard runoff and diverting clean water

Landowners, including farmers, can apply for funding for projects that protect municipal drinking water through the Landowner Environmental Assistance Program in the Lake Simcoe watershed and the Rural Clean Water Program in the Toronto and Region watershed.

Source: York Region Web Site 2013-11-26

Bird Deaths in Canada

Birds in Canada yearly face many serious threats to their lives. Below is a summary of key causes of their deaths below, recently quantified through scientific research in Canada (270 million deaths).

Sources of annual, human-related bird fatalities in Canada
Domestic and feral cats 196 million
Collisions with Power lines and electrocutions 26.1 million
Collisions with houses or buildings 24.8 million
Collisions with vehicles 13.8 million
Game bird hunting 4.7 million
Agricultural pesticides 2.7 million
Agricultural mowing 2.2 million young birds (equivalent to 1M adults)
Commercial forestry 1.4 million nests (equivalent to 900,000 adults)
Collisions with communications towers 20,000

Source: Richard Elliot, Director of Wildlife Research, Environment Canada. ONNATURE, Winter 2013/2014, pp. 38.