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March 10th, 2009
By GRAHAM FORBES, For The Daily Gleaner
To some, the University of New Brunswick woodlot represents recreation, green space, quality of life and ecological services.
Photo: REPLACING TREES: New stores at the Corbett Centre can be seen past the trees from the UNB woodlot. While some want development and others want preservation, writer Graham Forbes points out that what UNB teaches in many of its courses is contrary to its decisions on its woodlot.
To others, it represents jobs, housing, tax revenue and opportunities to shop.
The first group wants more protected, the latter, more developed. My point is not so much to debate the percentage developed, but, if development is to occur, to illustrate a better way to develop.
The Feb. 12 information session on proposed changes to a wetland promotes the removal of a wetland (already approved by government) that would retain run-off but also some natural forest and ecological function. It would be replaced with two bathtub-like holding ponds for runoff.
Apparently, the approved wetland needs to be removed simply because Costco stores have pre-determined dimensions and parking areas, and they want the store sign to face the entrance of the road.
I offer that this proposal is another case of poor environmental management by UNB. Two years ago, UNB cleared forest for the Home Depot area. The woodlot development plan has 80-metre buffers on waterways, but, in this first evidence of how UNB develops, the forested corridor oddly becomes 30 metres, the minimum required by provincial regulation.
A road was pushed through a wetland, the site where traffic caused significant frog mortality in fall 2008. A 30-metre buffer on a wetland was clear cut, without a permit, and UNB was forced to mitigate the violation, which they did by replanting trees in the buffer.
Recently, UNB clearcut three lines for geotechnical work, each about four metres wide into this wetland. Was there government approval to impact this wetland? A large wetland was found where the new hockey rinks near Kimble Drive were to be built. The wetland was not in the original environmental impact assessment and would have been destroyed; the hockey rink layout had to be changed at considerable expense and delay.
The water detention pond at the Kimble Road end of the woodlot breached twice and dumped extensive sediment into Corbett Brook. These are not shining examples of sustainable development.
I note that the loss of populations of animals and plants will have no impact on these species. They are not rare, they are found in many places.
The loss is at the scale of Fredericton. People in Fredericton want clean water and natural features, and they want nature close to where they live and work. One would hope we do not have to keep sacrificing natural areas so that a single box-store can have its store sign seen as you drive in.
I am not so naive to believe my values or advice drive the actions of the university. I do, however, question a troubling hypocrisy.
If UNB promotes sustainable management, sustainable development, wildlife management, environmental planning, environmental economics, and corporate citizenship, it would seem we could expect more of that teaching be put into practice.
By my count UNB has over 20 relevant courses in virtually every discipline, from engineering, forestry, biology, to economics and sociology. We have at least 25 professors who research, write about and work in these areas. If a university cannot promote supposed new-and-improved methods, a better balance between development and conservation, then who can?
The woodlot should be a showcase of what is possible, not an example of the status quo, of flat-earth planning or of removing wetlands so a big-box store can fit its predetermined shape.
Graham Forbes, PhD, is the director of the New Brunswick Co-operative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management and Faculty of Science at the University of New Brunswick.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fredericton, N.B., Canada October 31, 2008
In the aftermath of the so-called “froggy carnage”, The Friends of the UNB Woodlot will put several hundred popsicle-stick white crosses along a section of Knowledge Park Drive near the Corbett Centre retail complex.  Each cross will remember the needless death of these small wetland frogs on the night of October 26th. This will take place next Monday (Nov. 3, 2008) at 1:00 PM.
Frogs are key indicator species of the health of our wetlands, and biodiversity in general.  With our changing climate, these creatures truly serve as our “canary in the coalmine”.  Also, their body contains anti-cancer chemicals which are attracting great excitement in the field of cancer research.
The Friends of the UNB Woodlot is sending letters to the University of New Brunswick, City of Fredericton, and the major retail stores at, or coming to, the Corbett Centre.  The retail stores include Winners, Home Depot, and Costco.  These letters request their immediate attention to the construction of an amphibian culvert that will allow these animals to pass underneath Knowledge Park Drive as they migrate between wetlands.
Dr. Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy of the The Friends of the UNB Woodlot, points out that,  “This highlights the need for COMPLETE surveys of animal and plant species in the UNB Woodlot as well as a comprehensive environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the ENTIRE  3800 acres of this urban forested wetland. The fact that UNB has taken a piecemeal approach to EIAs to date, and that roads are studied separate from development on that road, must stop.  The entire development strategy for the Woodlot must be assessed under a comprehensive EIA.  As demonstrated by the recent “froggy carnage”, the Woodlot’s animals and plants are paying the price for this archaic, non-sustainable approach to land use planning.”
An amphibian underpass is required before the spring season next year.  This underpass should also be able to handle the other aquatic wildlife that are common to these wetland areas.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Charlene Mayes and Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, Spokespersons, The Friends of the UNB Woodlot
Telephone: 1-506-447-3442 (Charlene)
Telephone: 1-506-454-1230 (Caroline)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE FRIENDS OF THE UNB WOODLOT
Facebook: “I don’t want the UNB woodlot turned into Big-Box Strip Malls”
YouTube: search for “UNB Woodlot”
Telephone: 1-506-454-5119

Caroline Lubbe – D’Arcy
379 Northumberland Street
Fredericton, NB
(506)454-5119

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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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May 1st in the UNB Woodlot

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Development Gone Bad

After an afternoon rainfall, Mark D’Arcy investigates the mud and silt polluting Corbett Brook from the road construction through the UNB Woodlot.

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The Department of Environment is investigating whether development projects in Fredericton are the cause of sediment getting into a brook. Read more…

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Chocolate Brown Corbett Brook

Several UNB Woodlot Watchers reported a muddy Corbett Brook near Alison Boulevard to the Department of Environment in July 2007. Changes in the colour and siltation of the brook are suspected to be the result of land clearing for the road currently being built through the UNB Woodlot. The Department of Environment has yet to respond to those who filed a complaint and those who filed the complaint are left wondering if any action has been taken by the Department of Environment to remedy the situation and protect the Corbett Brook watershed.

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