October 9, 2002
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)

Stewardship agreements to be signed for conservation of
limestone barrens habitat and species at risk

Julie Bettney, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, today announced the signing of three stewardship agreements in the Town of Flower�s Cove on the province�s Great Northern Peninsula. These agreements are a part of the Limestone Barrens Stewardship Program, which is funded through the Government of Canada�s Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, and create partnerships between the province and the Town of Flower�s Cove, Straits Elementary School and individual residents of the Flower�s Cove area.

The plant life of the limestone barrens contributes greatly to the biodiversity of the province. The Strait of Belle Isle Ecoregion on the Great Northern Peninsula fosters a significant number of rare or unique species, including Long�s Braya (designated �endangered� by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and Fernald�s Braya (designated as �threatened�). In 1997 a recovery team was established to develop a plan to protect and conserve these species.

"Newfoundland and Labrador is home to an unusual number and variety of rare or unique plants," said Minister Bettney. "Government is committed to protecting and conserving them. We passed the Endangered Species Act to help do just that, and we will continue to work on good environmental stewardship with other government and community partners. The stewardship agreements we are signing today show our ongoing commitment."

Government has participated actively in a very successful Municipal Wetland Stewardship Program, through involvement with the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture. The other primary partners in the joint venture are: Environment Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

For the past three years the Town of Flower�s Cove has partnered with the Braya Recovery Team in sponsoring a Conservation Corps Green Team that has directed efforts to promote stewardship throughout Flower�s Cove and the adjacent communities in order to help protect and conserve their piece of the Strait of Belle Isle Ecoregion. The town�s agreement identifies a significant limestone barrens habitat within its jurisdiction and commits to participation in and support for conservation efforts.

Straits Elementary School is party to the second agreement, which reinforces their support for good environmental stewardship. The school, located in Flower�s Cove, is the centre of education for children from adjacent communities. Straits Elementary staff are taking advantage of this unique opportunity to teach their students about the limestone barrens and species at risk, using examples in their own back yards.

These examples would include Long�s braya and Fernald�s braya, which exist only in a very few locations. In some instances the endangered Long�s Braya is located on or near private property, making support by the landowner essential to conservation. Two of these landowners, Ren and Madeline White, are signing a stewardship agreement that demonstrates their commitment to actively promote conservation.

"Recovering species now at risk and preventing species from becoming at risk is everyone�s responsibility," said Minister Bettney. "These stewardship agreements with the residents, school community and municipal government of Flower�s Cove are excellent examples of cooperative stewardship and will help ensure that our wealth of plant life and their habitats are there to be appreciated by future generations."

Media contact: Vanessa Colman-Sadd, Communications, (709) 729-0857.

2002 10 09                                        1:05 p.m.

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