January 23, 2006

Bay of Fundy, Gulf of Maine awards honour conservation efforts

Environmental organizations and individuals were honoured in Halifax on January 10 for their efforts to protect marine habitats around the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine. The annual Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine awards were presented by Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash and Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Chris d'Entremont.

The Nova Scotia Eastern Habitat Joint Venture received the Bay of Fundy Business Partnership Award for its many projects and partnerships involving coastal habitat conservation, including land purchases, stewardship agreements, and research. Launched in 1989, the Joint Venture brings together a wide array of individuals, businesses and governments to collaborate on numerous projects aimed at conserving and managing wetlands and coastal habitats.

In the education and awareness category, the Bay of Fundy Award was presented to June Swift, a Westport naturalist, educator and author, in recognition of her efforts to help people in her community understand the fragility of sand dunes, bogs, and bird and wildflower habitats.

Recipients of the Gulf of Maine Visionary Awards included the Salt Marsh Restoration Team at Nova Scotia's Ecology Action Centre and Warren Paton, owner of a well-known toy shop on the Digby waterfront.

The Salt Marsh Restoration Team was honoured in the group division for its success in having a culvert at Cheverie Marsh in the Minas Basin replaced with a larger one. The replacement resulted in a more natural tidal flow and restored the ecological integrity of the surrounding wetland habitat. Based at the Ecology Action Centre, the team works to protect, restore and raise awareness about coastal wetlands.

Paton, who received the award in the individual division, is also known locally as a protector of wetlands and wildlife areas. He was recognized for acquiring land and creating the 60-acre Toymaker's Marsh Wildlife Area at St Mary's Bay.

The binational Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment was established in 1989 by the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine to foster co-operation in the gulf watershed.

The council's mission is to maintain and enhance environmental quality in the gulf and to ensure sustainable use of the resource by current and future generations.

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