Over 25 years later the province finally releases Protected Areas Plan

St. John’s, NL, May 29, 2020 – The Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-NL) is pleased the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council (WERAC) has finally been granted the opportunity to publicly release the long-awaited proposed Protected Areas Plan for theIsland of Newfoundland, entitled A Home for Nature.

“Newfoundland’s Protected Areas Plan has sat in limbo for over 25 years. It’s a long-overdue network of protected areas developed by the Newfoundland and Labrador government several decades ago, but never released publicly,” says Tanya Edwards, CPAWS -NL Executive Director. “We are delighted this liberal government has finally given the green light to release the plan and thank Minister Byrne for allowing residents the opportunity to provide input about the preservation of Newfoundland’s spectacular natural areas.”

 “The initial plan was devised based on scientific evidence and guidance over 25 years ago, but since then some sites have changed. What is important now is that the remaining sites have added protection. The candidate protected areas represent some of the best remaining natural areas in the province, including incredibly significant coastal seabird colonies, species-at-risk habitat, and important wetland habitat,” says Conservation Director, Suzanne Dooley.

Our provincial government is currently one of the last provinces to build such a plan; currently the province has only protected 6.7% of the Island of Newfoundland which is below the national average of 10%. Canada has committed to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets to protect 17% of lands and inland waters by the end of 2020, a deadline that is fast approaching.

“What we need now is for residents to stand up and show their support for this plan,” says Dooley “because the province is only giving us a small window to show that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians care about the wild spaces we’ve been so blessed with.” 

The government has allotted a 3-week timeframe in which residents can submit their support for the proposed Protected Areas Plan. Following that should enough support have been received to move forward, then each site identified in the Plan will go through a public consultation process.

Protected areas are a crucial nature-based solution to addressing the twin global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. We need action now because we just don’t have time to wait.

To show your support for the proposed Protected Areas Plan and provide your comments on this first stage of the process, visit: https://www.engagenl.ca/engagement-initiatives/home-nature-protected-areas-plan-island-newfoundland  

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For further information, contact:

CPAWS Newfoundland and Labrador

Grahan Wood
Chair, Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council (WERAC)