Fraser River estuary being maintained to benefit people, not wildlife: study

BY MARK HUME originally appearing in The Globe and Mail 

VANCOUVER – Few cities in the world can claim the kind of wild backdrop that Metro Vancouver has.

The Fraser River estuary is a globally important zone of biodiversity with 17,000 hectares of rich wetlands used annually by 1.4 million migratory birds and 2 billion juvenile salmon. The area’s importance was recognized in 2012 under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.

The estuary, which spreads along the shorelines of Delta, Richmond and Vancouver, is a remarkable natural treasure that deserves the highest level of protection a government can provide. Unfortunately, a new study shows that the Fraser estuary is slowly being eroded by development despite a 30-year-old federal policy that has sought to protect the area from any net loss of habitat by requiring developers to replace any that are destroyed.

A paper recently published by the Community Mapping Network (CMN) looked at a large sample of the 151 habitat-compensation projects completed over nearly three decades. It found that most of the projects had failed to achieve the goals set by government.

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Justin Trudeau should reassess his scientific foundation

BY MARK HUME originally appearing in The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER — When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project, he framed it as a decision based on science.

Perhaps he didn’t check his inbox before making that pronouncement, because the pipeline decision seems not to have taken into account concerns expressed by many of Canada’s young scientists about the flawed environmental-assessment process in this country.

“If I thought this project was unsafe for the B.C. coast, I would reject it,” Mr. Trudeau said last week in declaring the controversial pipeline is going ahead. “This is a decision based on rigorous debate, on science and on evidence. We have not been and will not be swayed by political arguments– be they local, regional or national.”

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