Tens of thousands of hectares of land across Nova Scotia will be protected and conserved under a new agreement between the federal and provincial governments.

The Canada–Nova Scotia Nature Agreement “to advance nature conservation and protection across the province” was launched in Halifax on Tuesday. Lena Metlege Diab, the MP for Halifax West, on behalf of federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, and Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Timothy Halman made the announcement.

Under the nature agreement, over the next three years, the federal government will provide $28.5 million in funding so the provincial government can increase the amount of protected and conserved areas by 82,500 hectares by no later than March 2026.

According to a news release, the agreement “will support the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia’s leadership in conservation, increase protection of sensitive habitats and recovery actions for species at risk and migratory birds, and protect and conserve new Crown and private land in Nova Scotia.”

The nature agreement will also “accelerate” the provincial government’s goal to conserve at least 20% of the Nova Scotia’s total land and water mass by 2030 to help with Canada’s overall goal of protecting 30% of its land and inland water by that same year.

The full agreement is here.

Thirteen people stand on a deck overloooking the water and smiling for the camera. Two women hold a small sign that says "Protectiing nature in Nova Scotia."
The announcement of the Canada-Nova Scotia Nature Agreement on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. Credit: Chris Miller/Twitter

Agreement ‘big conservation news’

In a video and thread shared on Twitter, Chris Miller, the executive director with the Nova Scotia chapter of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), said the announcement of the agreement was “big conservation news.” He said the agreement means the creation of at least 100 new protected nature areas in Nova Scotia, and more funding toward the establishment of a national park in Halifax.

“To protect 82,500 hectares so quickly, the Nova Scotia government will have to advance sites that have already been identified and have already mostly gone through public consultation and consultations with Mi’kmaw peoples,” wrote Miller, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s announcement.

“This will likely include the roughly 150 remaining sites from the Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan that have long been promised for protection but have not yet received the final legal designation.”

That plan, Miller wrote, “has been a core conservation objective of CPAWS Nova Scotia for many years.”

Miller said he hoped the nature agreement would also lead to the protection of the Island Lake Wilderness Area and other lands in the Ingram area just outside of Halifax. Those areas contain some of the province’s oldest forests.

In August, the province announced it created the 684-hectare Archibald Lake Wilderness Area, which includes three lakes and nearly 300 hectares of old hardwood forest.

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent and on Mastodon

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  1. Good news but let’s bear in mind the province’s legislated commitment to protect 20% of our lands and waters by 2030. To meet this commitment we need to add 330,000 ha to protected areas in 7 years. 82,500 ha by 2026 gets us a quarter of the way there. We need to see far more urgency from both the provincial and federal governments. Nature loss and the climate crisis have to be addressed together now.

  2. Here’s hoping that this funding agreement will be enough to finally light a fire under the province to protect areas that should have received protection long ago — as well as those areas which citizens of this province have been identified as deserving of proper protection. I hope that someone is monitoring what properties are purchased so that only legitimately worthy lands are considered. Anyhow, good to see some action on the part of the feds — so now it’s up to the province to follow through and make this happen.