Meeting Minutes - Dan Kraus: Canada's Endangered Species List - Mar 22nd. 2018
Ed Herold called the meeting to order at 9:57am. There were 47 members plus on guest plus one speaker in attendance. Ed welcomed our speaker Dan Kraus and one guest Len Corby. Andy Curtis: announced the coffee morning next Thurs at the usual Airport and Symposium. Ray Biffis: made a number of activities announcements
42 signed up for the Annual Luncheon on April 5th He reminded everyone of the changed time with 10:00 am coffee, 10:30 am speaker, 11:45 am setup, 12 noon lunch
He indicated that they are working on a Sept Grand River Cruise (partners included) which was well received).
He announced the Fire Hall tour for 10am May 29
He took a straw poll for the best date for a tour of Sleeman’s Brewery $10 – 7 June was selected.
He also asked about a tour of the Art Gallery of Guelph for which there was lots of support.
Ed Herold read out a letter of thanks from Trinity United Church for the RCMC support of their recent book sale. They raised $260 which is half their budget for market fresh food for a week. Ed also reminded members that annual fees of $80 are due starting in April – please bring cash or cheque Len Johnstone introduced our speaker Dan Kraus from Nature Conservatory of Canada. Dan Kraus
Dan promised that this would not be another doom and gloom story although there are some serious challenges remaining.
NCC started 55 years ago when it was recognized that the government cannot do everything
NCC has a staff of 250 to 300 across Canada
NCC helps protect 3 million acres across Canada. Some has been transferred to the government for active day to day management, although NCC manages 300,000 acres directly.
Their work is science based
They have identified 80 of the most critical areas across Canada many of which are in Ontario. Dan focused his talk on many of these Ontario areas although he did talk about the rest of Canada too.
The largest is the Lake Superior watershed
Another important for migrating birds is Pelee Island
Another closer to home is Rice Lake Plains – black oaks an important species which depends upon controlled burning.
Local partners help with planting trees and restoring habitat areas
Many at risk species are never know to the public. In the world there are 800 listed – both the number of species and the population of existing species is in decline
Some say we are in the middle of the 6th great extinction event in the his history of the planet – this time virtually all cause by humans
Nobody could name a Canadian species at risk however there are 40 on the list including the Wood Turtle
One of the greatest loss of habitat are Canadian prairie grasslands – only 30% left and it is being lost at rate greater than the Amazon rain forest
Dan shared the story of the extinction of the passenger pigeon which numbered in the billions – the Guelph to Rockwood area was an important breeding area
Over hunting on a commercial scale plus loss of habitat contributed to its extinction
The Great Auk was a similar story
There are various estimates of extinctions of Cdn species
17 if you include insects such as locust
37 when you count extirpated species – lost from Canada but not the world
141 if you include historic species – eg eskimo curlew
Canada represents about 6% of the world landmass
At 60% we have more fresh water lakes than all other countries combined
We have 25% of the world’s wetlands
9% or the world’s forest
The largest in tact forest in the world in Ontario
16% of the world’s coastline (more than USA and Russia combined)
How have we lost so many species?
Initially over hunting/exploitation was the most significant factor starting back from the 1850’s
Regulations are now much better
Now habitat loss is the #1 cause
What is required?
Better inventories of our wildlife
Protect specialized habitats such as alvars (An alvar is a biological environment based on a limestone plain with thin or no soil)
Focus on globally rare species in Canada – hot spots are:
Mouth of St Lawrence River
Around Great Lakes
It is not all a bad news story
Canada has 50 species which used to be at risk of extinction which are no longer so
Examples – eastern blue bird, peregrine falcons, beaver, great blue heron
Some important habitats are also of great importance of humans such as wetlands – greater awareness of benefits to humanity helps with support.
Q&A Q – Does NCC work with Ducks Unlimited? A. yes many positive benefits from working together Q How is NCC funded? A NCC is entirely a Canadian organization with charitable status. Funding from Government, Foundations & Corporations, but mostly Individuals Q. What happened to ground hogs? A. Cash cropping put tremendous pressure on ground hogs who were seen as reducing productivity Q What about Polar Bears A. The jury is still out since they seem to be adapting to other food sources such as bird eggs. Q . What about Canada’s status globally? A. Canada now protects in some way or another 11% of it’s land/water. Our international goal is 17% by 2020. A huge challenge but government seems committed more now than ever before.
Julian Sale thanked the speaker. Dan’s talk will be posted on the RCMC website. Julian Sale asked for volunteers for the Speakers Committee since one our current members Len Johnstone is moving to Wasaga Beach Ed Herold adjourned the meeting at 10:12am