Core Activities

Species at Risk Stewardship

CeruleanWarblerThe EOMF is playing an active role in encouraging Species at Risk (SAR) stewardship activities across eastern Ontario.  Given that close to 90 per cent of the land in the EOMF is privately owned, the participation of private landowners is critical to the success of SAR stewardship and recovery efforts.  We are working closely with partners to share information on Species at Risk with landowners and encourage their participation in stewardship activities.  As a ‘go-between’ of sorts between government and landowners, the EOMF is helping to build trust in the landowner community and is providing an open forum for landowners to share their views and concerns about newly-instated Species at Risk legislation.

On May 4, 2011, the EOMF, with support from the Stewardship Network of Ontario, hosted a focus group session on species at risk and the Endangered Species Act. As an organization that works closely with the private landowner community, the EOMF saw a timely opportunity to create a table for landowners and land managers to share their perspectives on species at risk stewardship and the implementation of the ESA – having initially heard concerns expressed by a number of individuals connected to the forest industry.

A diverse cross-section of landowners and land managers participated in the focus group including individuals from the agricultural community, the woodlot owner community, forest industry, the stewardship and conservation community, the angling and hunting community, and the landowner rights movement. The discussions were intended as a starting point for further exploring some of the observations and concerns raised about the ESA and its current implementation, and, importantly, for considering options and possibilities for best achieving the objectives of the ESA on private land while reducing the impact on land management activities.

There was broad agreement among participants that most landowners and land managers are supportive of protecting species at risk and maintaining natural heritage and biodiversity (and many landowners are involved in such efforts through various organizations and funding support mechanisms). However, concerns about the ESA are prevalent, particularly the way in which it is being implemented – with what is seen as little regard for the implications for land management activities and the use of private land. The focus group discussions strongly point to the need for a more cooperative and respectful approach to engaging landowners in species at risk stewardship efforts.

pdf Focus Group on Species at Risk and the Endangered Species Act ‘What we Heard’
A Synthesis of Discussions