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Habitat Watch # 281
Great Lakes United
August 10-August 16, 2003

Efforts underway for expropriation of Marcy's Woods: ACTION NEEDED!

The Bert Miller Club of Fort Erie is leading the charge for expropriation of Marcy's Woods, a rare forest and shoreline property recently sold to a hotel and casino developer. The site is one of the best remaining Carolinian sites in Canada, home to dozens of rare, threatened and significant species, and the very last area suitable for a public nature preserve in the Fort Erie region. See Habitat Watch #280 for more.

The Club is organizing a 4-day canoe voyage to Toronto to call for expropriation and ensure the protection of Marcy's Woods. In addition, the effort aims to draw attention to inadequate protection of critical natural resources and endangered species by all levels of government. The canoe flotilla, including two 35 feet war canoes, will leave the Fort Erie region on Friday August 22nd. On Monday August 25th the group will present a petition to preserve Marcy's Woods to government leaders in Toronto. To participate in any part of this demonstration, contact Melanie Mullen, 905-356-9090, whispergreenwings@yahoo.ca, or Rob Eberly, 905-894-5850, eberly@inter-pc.com.

If you cannot be part of the demonstration, the Club encourages you to take action by sending a letter, email, fax or make a phone call in support of expropriation and protection. The Club has provided a list of key decision makers to contact, at: www.bertmillernatureclub.org/help.htm

Please take a moment and be part of this important effort to protect a remaining piece of the Great Lakes natural history.

Ontario Timber Environmental Assessment gets green light

(from Northwatch News Summer 2003) Early last month the Ontario Ministry of the Environment released their "Declaration Order" which gave the green light to the changes the Ministry of Natural Resources proposed to the 1994 Timer Class Environmental Assessment Approval (Timber EA). The 1994 Timber EA consists of 115 terms and conditions that must be met for forestry practices to occur on Ontario crown lands. The MNR is responsible for forestry in Ontario. The MNR proposed changes guarantee levels of wood volume to the logging industry, reduce MNR's accountability to the public, and eliminate obligations to develop a sustainable framework for forest management. See Habitat Watch #264 for more.

The MoE-sanctioned-Timber EA does not place any limits on the size of a clear-cut or the total area logged by clear-cutting. It does not set an expiry date for the Timber EA. It removed conditions requiring a roadless wilderness policy. It removed conditions requiring development of a conservation strategy for old growth forest ecosystems. The overall number of terms and conditions that must be met have been reduced from 115 to 54. And the term limit for a forest management plan (which is held by the timber industry in the vast majority of cases) has been extended from five to ten years.

The 603 written comments provided to the MoE appear to have had little effect in the writing of their Declaration Order. MoE staff told Northwatch that a number of comments are "substantive" and they are in the process of reviewing the comments to determine if changes are to be made. The MoE has also stated that some changes from this decision need to be finalized within one year, but neither MNR nor the MoE have provided any indication of when or how this internal review and approval process will become public.

For more on this issue, go to the Northwatch website: www.web.ca/~nwatch/forests.html#approval

Great Lakes United's Habitat and Biodiversity task force produces Habitat Watch with support from the George Gund Foundation and GLU coalition members. The task force is committed to protecting natural areas, wildlife, and strong conservation laws across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem. To join the coalition, subscribe, or send stories, contact GLU at: (716) 886-0142; fax: (716) 886-0303; or email: jen@glu.org. Past issues of Habitat Watch can be found at: http://www.sustain.org/Bulletins/index.cfm

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