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Environment and Conservation
July 28, 2010

Coastal Stewardship Agreement Signed in Burgeo

The Town of Burgeo is committed to protecting the habitat of the common eider and a small thrush-sized shorebird known as the endangered piping plover. This commitment was officially recognized today through the signing of a coastal stewardship agreement between the town and the Provincial Government. The Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation, was represented at the signing by Ed Buckingham, MHA for St. John's East.

"This program is designed to foster co-operation among the town, local residents, interest groups and the partners of the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture, and help ensure the sustainability of eider duck and piping plover populations," said Minister Johnson. "The signing of a coastal stewardship agreement in Burgeo is a testimony to the community's dedication to conserving these species and their habitat, and I congratulate them on their efforts."

In 1986, in light of a drastic decline in North American waterfowl populations and in an effort to effectively reverse the trend, the governments of Canada and the United States signed the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) with a goal to return waterfowl populations to 1970s levels by actively conserving wetland and upland habitat. In 1994, Mexico signed on to that agreement, making it a truly continental initiative.

To implement NAWMP, joint ventures were established throughout North America. The Eastern Habitat Joint Venture was established in 1989. Partners are the six eastern provinces, Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The Newfoundland and Labrador division of the EHJV is administered through the Wildlife Division of the Department of Environment and Conservation.

"It is important to enhance awareness around the importance of conserving coastal waterfowl, which has special relevance for the residents of Burgeo," said Minister Johnson. "This innovative program helps communities strike a balance between the environment and community development, while helping ensure that wildlife resources are protected."

"This agreement is of great importance to Burgeo, as well as the larger south coast ecosystem and the sea duck and plover populations using it," said Burgeo Mayor Gerald MacDonald. "This is a wonderful initiative that highlights our focus on environmental stewardship."

The Coastal Stewardship Program was developed by the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture to encourage communities that have a historic relationship with coastal areas frequented by eider ducks to recognize the value of this resource and to accept a stewardship role in maintaining their integrity. Common eiders nest on coastal islands and rear their young on the shoals that are usually associated with these islands and along nearby coastlines. Significant concentrations of overwintering eiders can be found in these areas. The Town of Burgeo is also a very significant site provincially for the endangered piping plover. The area includes a total of 11 beaches that have been deemed suitable piping plover habitat. This agreement seeks to engage council and local residents in wise use practices during their everyday activities as well as enhancement activities surrounding this valuable wildlife habitat.

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Media contacts:

Melony O'Neill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation 709-729-2575, 689-0928

Gerald MacDonald
Town of Burgeo

2010 07 28                                                    11:20 a.m.


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