Land and Water Policy
Canada Geese at Big Creek
National Wildlife Area, Ontario/Patricia Edwards
The Eastern Habitat Joint Venture (EHJV) management board facilitates bird-habitat conservation initiatives, programs, policies and legislation. The management board works within existing policy frameworks to promote beneficial policies and legislation that support waterfowl and wetland habitat as well as habitat for all birds. They also encourage sustainable land-use practices through the provision of science-based argument to support proposed regulatory and legislative changes. Policy efforts, if highly focused and outcome-oriented, can impact habitat- and land-management practices at landscape scales. Influencing policy is an important mechanism for reversing the habitat loss and habitat deterioration trends that are most responsible for the decline of North America’s waterfowl populations and the loss of North America’s wetlands.
The EHJV has had notable success in the Maritime Provinces where strong wetland protection legislation has been enacted. The legislation includes a commitment to “no net loss” of wetlands and the adoption of a mitigation sequence that increases the scope of protection on over 800,000 hectares.
Currently, the EHJV provinces are leaders in wetland policy. Of the six provinces, four have enacted wetland policies (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia), Quebec is in the process of developing a wetland policy. In Ontario, wetlands are protected under a variety of legislative, regulatory or policy instruments guiding land-use decisions. In addition to provincial policies, the 1991 Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation provides national guidelines and contexts.
The next 25 years will be a critical period for securing the future of North America’s waterfowl. The primary focus of EHJV land and water policy efforts will include:
- environmental scanning that leads to issue identification and action for the EHJV
- reviewing legislation and agency regulations and policies, and where possible, influencing policy initiatives at all levels of government that are important to increasing the level of wetland protection.