Archive for October, 2008

Events this week

THURS, OCT 30: PANCAKES ON CAMPUS. The Friends of the UNB Woodlot and the Fredericton Chapter of the Conservation Council will be serving pancakes on campus – 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Thurs, Oct 30 at the Science Library, UNB. Some things should be flat, the UNB Woodlot is not one of them. Stickers, signs and information also available. For more info, email woodlotwatch@gmail.com

THURS, OCT 30: FILM SCREENING OF THE UNDERLYING THREAT. Film screening at 7:00 PM, Thurs, Oct 30 at LBH 146, Bailey Hall (Biology Building), UNB. Shot in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Niagara Falls, New York, /The Underlying Threat/ is a film about the devastating effects of groundwater pollution and what we can do about it. In describing how four families and two communities responded to the discovery of toxic chemicals in their water, the film brings home the human hardships associated with this form of pollution. Yet the final message is one of hope and empowerment, stressing the combination of preventive measures and the determination of people insisting on their right to safe water. Film followed by discussion with Rick Cunjak of the Canadian Rivers Institute and the filmmaker Kevin Matthews. For more info, contact Tracy at forest@conservationcouncil.ca or call 458-8747.

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On Thursday, October 30th, The Friends of the UNB Woodlot will hold a Press Conference in the lobby outside the UNB Science Library. The Press Conference will start at 12:00 noon.
The citizens of Fredericton will have the opportunity to save the gift given to the University of New Brunswick by King George in 1800: the University of New Brunswick’s Woodlot.
The Friends of the UNB Woodlot are asking the citizens of Fredericton to rename the city’s largest urban forest. By developing this land, UNB is choosing to abandon its mandate to “help society understand and deal with the major issues and opportunities of our time.” UNB is using this precious gift as a gold mine to pay for other projects instead of acknowledging its obvious impacts on air quality, waterways, and climate change.
Charlene Mayes of the Friends of the UNB Woodlot notes that, “The UNB Woodlot is our insurance policy. Without forested wetlands working as natural sponges, rainwater capture and run-off control will be seriously compromised.”
We, The Friends of the UNB Woodlot, feel that as a publicly funded institution, UNB has abandoned its social obligation not only to the university population but also to the citizens of Fredericton. In addition to losing valuable green-space, the citizens of Fredericton will be saddled with the bills for replacing the function of the Woodlot as a catchment area with costly infrastructure, in addition to losing valuable green-space. The goal of this contest is to let citizens take ownership of the Woodlot and rename King George’s gift.
Dr. Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy points out that, “Great universities across North America boast of their research and teaching forests, including McGill’s Gault Nature Reserve, Harvard Forest, and Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Ecological Preserve. Since this 3800-acre preserve is more than a woodlot, we wish to RENAME it as a forest. A new name will give it the importance and permanence that it so rightfully deserves.”
Ross Ferguson of the Friends of the UNB Woodlot states that, “Students come to a university for theory and practical experience. All research and teaching is NOT done in the classroom. And certainly UNB should not be a shopping experience.”
The Friends of the UNB Woodlot are also asking the community for financial support as we prepare to launch a legal challenge to protect this land and for assistance in creating a land trust agreement. A land trust can enter into conservation agreements where one party (the trustee) agrees to own and protect natural landscapes, forests, and waterways for the benefit of another party (the beneficiary). We want to have a third-party conservation land trust organization hold lands in the UNB Woodlot so that it can be protected for the good of citizens of Fredericton, and the students of UNB.

Despite UNB’s decision to kill twenty-four woodlot beavers with conibear traps in the Fall of 2006, the beavers have started to return to the woodlot and they need our protection from future developments. Not only does this action lack social responsibility, it is detrimental to the sustainability of the wetlands of the Woodlot. Beavers are significant to the health and maintenance of wetland environments, and experts assert that without them the wetlands will decrease in size by up to 90 %.
Urban beavers are cherished by children, parents, and tourists in cities across Canada. Raising social awareness about the importance of protecting the Woodlot’s beavers will begin with the showing of the IMAX film “Beavers” on November 28th, 7 pm at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. At this event the winner of the ‘Rename the UNB Woodlot Contest’ will be announced. There will also be door-prizes announced for the children among us!

Charlene Mayes and Carla Gunn, Spokespersons, The Friends of the UNB Woodlot
Telephone: 1-506-447-3442 (Charlene)
Telephone: 1-506-455-0695 (Carla)
Facebook: “I don’t want the UNB woodlot turned into Big-Box Strip Malls”
YouTube: search for “UNB Woodlot”
Telephone: 1-506-454-5119

The Friends of the UNB Woodlot Strategy Group:
Jennifer Abbott
Andrew Bedford
Nolan Cornish
Mark D’Arcy
Kathryn Downton
Ross Ferguson
Heather Fogwill
Lui Greco
Carla Gunn
Dr. Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy
Charlene Mayes
Kathy Moulton
Janet Phillipps
Dr. Monika Stelzl

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NDP Candidate
New Maryland-Sudbury-West

As a concerned citizen and a supporter of Fredericton’s “Green Matters” campaign, I am greatly disturbed by the rapid development that has already destroyed acres of UNB’s prided woodlot, and that has been given the OK to continue to destroy this environmental landmark as time goes on.

The UNB Woodlot, priding itself as being an active teaching and research base for forestry students, is also “a provincially designated wildlife refuge and is a favourite place for people of Fredericton and surrounding communities to run, jog, walk and enjoy nature.” This is a direct quote from the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management home page, which goes on to list the large variety of wildlife and plants that call this woodlot home. This UNB webpage, which beams of pride for their woodlot, sure doesn’t make sense when paired with the UNB Board of Governor’s decision to allow 50 per cent of the woodlot to be destroyed and privately developed over the coming years.

As the New Democratic candidate for the New Maryland-Sudbury West riding, I urge UNB to reconsider the consequences of their actions. Please submit this land to comprehensive environmental assessment, and realize that you are putting all of the wonderful aspects of the woodlot at great stake. I also call for a moratorium on any further development of the woodlot. Big box development is not the answer to Fredericton’s “Green Matters.” We must raise our voices together to save our environment, and ourselves.

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UNB Woodlot Rant

I just drove home in the dark on the new paved road that goes through the UNB Woodlot. This new road is littered with the bodies of dozens of dead and dying frogs (species unknown) plus many live frogs awaiting the same vehicular fate. What a sad state.

I had mentioned to a friend the other day that this would occur in the spring but I forgot that this can also happen in the summer and fall rains. We have witnessed this type of carnage every year on the Kimble Rd exit which runs parallel to this road through the trees ,sorry,through the remaining trees. The frogs are just small creatures but it is still so sad to see this and other road kill beginnning to appear since this road has opened.

And now with Fredericton shopaholics drooling over the prospects of a COSTCO being built on the edge of the UNB wetlands, there will only be continued suffering for these and other innocent creatures. But my heavens -the stripmalls and the boxstores – those glorious stripmalls and boxstores, our lives were not complete without them . Now we can feel whole as human beings.

But you know, we have short memories, and within a few years we will have a hard time remembering what was there and when we’re gone what was there will mean nothing to those who follow.
As a naturalist it is so upsetting to see wildlife run over like garbage as they go about their natural habits and patterns. Only we can truly see that their lives and their habitat has been permanently fragmented and destroyed.

There is nothing that can be done about this. UNB has made it clear they need the income from this land and cities like Fredericton need to expand in order to grow economically. It is just a shame that such natural repercussions have to follow such progress.

Thanks for allowing me to vent my frustration…..

Ron Wilson
Fredericton NB

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Development near New Maryland could endanger its water supply, says the Friends of the UNB Woodlot, but the village’s mayor dismissed the accusation.  Read more…

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The Friends of the UNB Woodlot to Caution Municipality of the Consequences of Development of University of New Brunswick’s Forested Wetlands

Fredericton, N.B., Canada October 15, 2008 –  On Wednesday, October 15th, concerned Fredericton citizens will be presenting arguments to Village of New Maryland Councilors that the University of New Brunswick’s planned development of its publicly owned forested wetlands will very likely have detrimental effects on the New Maryland water supply.
The UNB Woodlot is a 3800-acre forested wetland situated at the top of Fredericton and spans the entire length of the New Maryland Highway on both sides to the boundary of New Maryland. At four (4) times the size of Stanley Park in Vancouver, the size of the UNB Woodlot is immense; it is larger than the area of New Maryland and it is also equal to the area of the southside Fredericton and Lincoln in the valley below.
“These forested wetlands contribute to our groundwater aquifer – the water supplies for the City of Fredericton and the Village of New Maryland,” cautions Charlene Mayes, a UNB biologist and Friend of the UNB Woodlot.
“Rain captured by the forests of the UNB Woodlot feed 4 major watersheds and several smaller watercourses that flow through Fredericton and towards New Maryland, “she adds. These include Garden Creek and Baker Brook watersheds on the New Maryland side of the UNB Woodlot, and Corbett Brook and Phyllis Creek watersheds on the Fredericton side of the UNB Woodlot. Only when you look at the sheer magnitude of these watersheds on a map do you get a real sense of their importance to our aquifers.
Mayes and Friends of the UNB Woodlot spokesperson, Mark D’Arcy, will explain at the October 15th meeting how UNB’s forested wetlands are critical to both water capture and in preventing excess rain from overwhelming watercourses.
“The UNB Woodlot is our insurance policy. Without forested wetlands working as natural sponges, rainwater capture and run-off control will be seriously compromised,” Mark D’Arcy. “We will be presenting arguments that as development of the UNB Woodlot destroys the soil and the natural drainage, the taxpayers of Fredericton and New Maryland will be saddled with flooding costs and water shortages from wells.”
An acre of forested wetland will hold a million to a million-and-a-half gallons of rainwater. There are approximately 1900 acres of UNB’s woodlot slated for development over the coming years. Unfortunately early development has already compromised some of these wetlands. As well, lands set aside by UNB for conservation are comprised exclusively of wetlands and streams with thin buffer zones, causing upland areas to be isolated from their adjacent riparian and wetland areas, which leads to no meaningful conservation of wildlife, wetlands, or forest ecosystems. This current development strategy by UNB must be re-assessed.
“It seems to me that, despite what experts in its own faculties are saying, UNB administrators would rather ignore the fact that if you clearcut swaths of a forested wetland, you’re going to have some problems,” says D’Arcy.
Friends of the UNB Woodlot raised their concerns recently with the Department of Environment which contends its hands are tied. Environment officials confirmed that the huge watershed of the UNB Woodlot is not protected under either their Wellfield Protection Program or their Watershed Protection Program. As a result of what the group calls weak provincial environmental legislation, UNB can avoid triggering a comprehensive environmental assessment of the land by not registering its entire land management plan with the Department – even though the Department of Environment has requested this several times.
“By persisting in the tactic of submitting development plans in a piecemeal fashion, UNB has successfully evaded a process which no doubt would reveal what every biologist knows – that the wetlands are part of a complex and interconnected ecosystem, critical to our water supply and, for all our sakes, must not be developed in this patchwork fashion,” says Mayes.
“The public does not want our government departments to hide behind a smokescreen. “ says D’Arcy. “Taxpayers just want to know why their watersheds do not fall inside the boundaries of the Wellfield Protection Area for Fredericton, or the Wellfield Protection Area for New Maryland, and why they are not designated a Watershed Protection Area that currently protects 30 watersheds in 21 municipal water supplies in this province.”
Urban forested wetlands are well worth preserving. Our governments have an obligation not to pay for inferior solutions when nature provides a priceless solution for free. Drainage planning, watershed-based source protection planning, and comprehensive land use planning will protect our drinking water and homes for future generations.
The Friends of the UNB woodlot has also offered to present their case to Fredericton’s City Council.
“Since the Department of Environment can or will do nothing about this debacle, it’s up to the municipalities and the general public to put pressure on UNB to submit the land to comprehensive environmental assessment,” says D’Arcy. “If this is not addressed in the short-term, we’ll all pay the price in the long-term.”
Designated Wellfield Protection Areas (New Brunswick)http://www.gnb.ca/0009/0371/0001/0003.html
Designated Watershed Protected Areas (New Brunswick)http://www.gnb.ca/0009/0371/0004/0003.html

The Walkerton Inquiry recommended on page 94, “Drinking water sources should be protected by developing watershed-based source protection plans.” Part Two Report of the Walkerton Inquiry: A Strategy for Safe Drinking Water. May 23, 2002. Chapter 4: The Protection of Drinking Water Sources. – https://ospace.scholarsportal.info/handle/1873/7856

The Ducks Unlimited Canada “Beyond the Pipe” Report recommended on page 42, “stringent wetland protection strategies in areas where wetlands are closely linked to drinking water sources”. Beyond The Pipe. The Importance of Wetlands & Upland Conservation Practices in Watershed Management: Functions & Values for Water Quality & Quantity.” Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Department of Economics, University of Toronto. March 2001. – http://www.ducks.ca/aboutduc/news/archives/2001/010402.html

For more information, contact:
Mark D’Arcy, The Friends of the UNB Woodlot
Telephone: 1-506-454-5119
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Costco intends to open big-box store in capital
By HEATHER MCLAUGHLIN, The Daily Gleaner, A1, Published Wednesday October 15th, 2008

Costco Wholesale has signed a letter to intent to develop a store at the University of New Brunswick’s Corbett Centre retail development.  Read more…

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