Northern Pen

Town of Forteau signs Mu­nic­i­pal Habi­tat Ste­ward­ship Agree­ment

Town com­mits to pre­serv­ing wildlife

- BY STEPHEN ROBERTS FORTEAU, NL South Africa News · Animals · Ecology · Wildlife · Habitat for Humanity International · Austria · Australia · Turkey · Belarus · Iceland · Belgium · Jordan · Newfoundland and Labrador · Department of Fisheries · Lisa Dempster · Steve Crocker

The Town of Forteau has made a com­mit­ment to pro­tect its wet­land and coastal habi­tats.

On June 29, the town signed a new Mu­nic­i­pal Habi­tat Ste­ward­ship Agree­ment with the Department of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources.

The sign­ing cer­e­mony was held at the town’s com­mu­nity cen­tre.

Lisa Demp­ster, MHA for Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair, on be­half of Steve Crocker, Min­is­ter of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources, joined Wil­son Bel­bin, Mayor of Forteau, at the cer­e­mony.

The agree­ment will al­low for the preser­va­tion of the habi­tat that in­cludes the town’s es­tu­ary, Forteau River, and First Pond. Those ar­eas are a per­ma­nent or tem­po­rary home to all kinds of wildlife, in­clud­ing 160 dif­fer­ent species of bird that passes through ev­ery year.

“I am en­cour­aged by the ini­tia­tive that the Forteau town coun­cil is demon­strat­ing by seek­ing to con­serve valu­able wildlife habi­tat found right

in the heart of the town,” said Demp­ster. “The at­ti­tudes of ac­tions of local town coun­cils and com­mu­nity mem­bers who share these ar­eas with wa­ter­fowl, shore­birds, seabirds and other wildlife play a vi­tally im­por­tant role in the sus­tain­abil­ity and con­ser­va­tion of these species.”

“We are pleased to be in­volved in this pro­gram,” said Mayor Bel­bin. “This is a won­der­ful ini­tia­tive that high­lights our town’s fo­cus on en­vi­ron­men­tal ste­ward­ship and the im­por­tance we place on in­creas­ing en­vi­ron­ment sus­tain­abil­ity in mu­nic­i­pal plan­ning.”

Lead­ing up to the big an­nounce­ment, the town held ses­sions and events through­out the week.

Laura King, a con­ser­va­tion bi­ol­o­gist with Ste­ward­ship As­so­ci­a­tion of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties had met with the Forteau town coun­cil on Tues­day night to ex­plain what the ste­ward­ship would en­tail for the town.

The town has de­cided a com­mit­tee will be or­ga­nized to man­age the habi­tat. It will be com­prised of both coun­cilors and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

The in­ten­tion is for the whole com­mu­nity to be in­volved in the preser­va­tion of this habi­tat.

They also met with the 50Plus Club to have se­niors’ in­put in the ste­ward­ship.

On Wed­nes­day, Laura King, town clerk Heather Jor­dan and par­ents took a group of ele­men­tary stu­dents to First Pond to ex­plore the wilder­ness. Chil­dren took con­tain­ers and made lit­tle aquar­i­ums, out of things they found along the beach or in the wa­ter. They were made of aware of the dif­fer­ent items in their sur­round­ings and how ev­ery­thing in­ter­acted within that ecosys­tem.

Many of those kids later showed up for the public con­sul­ta­tion held at the com­mu­nity cen­tre on Wed­nes­day night. The town is aware of the im­por­tance of the youth get­ting in­ter­ested, as they will be the ones who will have to pre­serve the habi­tat in the fu­ture.

The public con­sul­ta­tion ex­plained what the Mu­nic­i­pal Ste­ward­ship Pro­gram was and in­cluded a ques­tion and an­swer pe­riod.

The town has a few things planned al­ready. Sig­nage for the habi­tat is to go up at both ends of the town. The es­tu­ary will be shown on the sign when it is com­pleted. They are cur­rently in the process of get­ting it printed.

The town is also hop­ing to do a pull off, which will in­clude an ob­ser­va­tion sta­tion, to elim­i­nate the prob­lem of peo­ple park­ing their ve­hi­cles on the high­way to ob­serve the scenery. This will come fur­ther down the line. Per a news re­lease:

The Mu­nic­i­pal Ste­ward­ship Pro­gram is unique to New­found­land and Labrador, and was de­vel­oped to en­cour­age mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to rec­og­nized the value of wildlife habi­tat found in and near the mu­nic­i­pal plan­ning bound­aries and then to ac­cept a ste­ward­ship role in main­tain­ing their in­tegrity. The suc­cess of this pro­gram has been rec­og­nized both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally and has been her­alded as an in­no­va­tive and suc­cess­ful con­ser­va­tion pro­gram. In ad­di­tion to Forteau, 37 other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have signed ste­ward­ship agree­ments.

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