Fundy National Park of Canada
Kyoto and Beyond!
We are well on our way to meeting the Kyoto targets set for Fundy National Park. Fundy is in the New Brunswick South Field Unit along with the Saint Andrews Blockhouse and Carleton Martello Tower. In the past five years we have reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the field unit by 230 tonnes, a 17 % reduction. There are still further reductions we can make.
We hope to go well beyond the Kyoto targets with the following actions:
- converting of lighting from incandescent to compact fluorescent
- installing tankless water heaters on experimental basis
- reducing number of fleet vehicles and size of vehicles, purchasing hybrid vehicles when possible. Goal to reduce GHG's resulting from government vehicle use by 10%.
- by changing vehicles used we were able to reduce the number of trips to the Solid Waste station in Moncton during the summer from daily to once every two weeks.
- reduced the lighting in the park during the off-season. This has a double benefit in lowering energy consumption and GHG production at the same time as it reduces light pollution.
- replaced a gasoline-powered ATV used on the golf course with a more efficient electric model.
World's Oldest-Known Red Spruce
Research student Fundy National Park© Parks Canada
During the summer of 2005, a tree along the coast of Fundy National Park was discovered to be at least 445 years old, the oldest documented Red Spruce on Earth. Red Spruce, a tree specific to the Acadian forest covering a very limited area of the world: the Maritime provinces, parts of New York state and the Appalachian mountains, and tiny bits of Quebec and Ontario. That's it... worldwide. The Acadian forest is one of six North American forests considered endangered by the World Wildlife Fund.
But you will see Red Spruce almost everywhere in the park, dominating the forest along the coast. It is our most common tree. Even though much of the area was logged once, twice, even three times before the national park was established in 1948, remnants of older growth Red Spruce still stand. The most accessible grove is on the Coastal Trail. (To visit the grove start at the end nearest Point Wolfe. A major ascent brings you to a lovely old forest of large Red Spruces.) Virgin forest still exists in very steep stream valleys. By growing in places difficult for lumbermen to work in, fortunate trees have been saved.
Our oldest Red Spruce appears strong and healthy. Its bark shimmers because of a lichen that gives greenish-white sheen to aged spruces. After such a long life, a peaceful existence would seem well deserved. But no!–a new challenge looms. Red Spruce is especially sensitive to global climate change because of its need for a cool climate. For these trees to survive anywhere on Earth, some predict that the forest may have only a century to move a thousand kilometres. Unfortunately, this tree is unlikely to be able to adapt to this high a rate of change.
If endangered salmon could communicate their wishes to us, perhaps they would want something like this:
Living Will For Inner Bay Of Fundy Atlantic Salmon Salmon, Satellites, & Society
We, the remaining members of the Inner Bay of Fundy Population of Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar, are a proud species with millions of years of evolutionary history behind us. We survived the last ice age separated from our kin and developed our own unique way of being. We are great ocean travelers, precise navigators, and, as our scientific name implies, athletic leapers. Regrettably, we now realize that the world is under assault from factors such as climate change and over fishing that may be forever altering the ecosystems in which we live. Our time on this planet may soon be at an end.
Release staging location - unloading salmon for transport by helicopter to river© Parks Canada
We, thereby, request and authorize the National Recovery Team to attempt interventions – such as temporary live gene banking - that may restore our populations to sustainable levels. While we wish to be saved from what we see as our premature demise, we are also concerned about the quality of our life, about our ability to fill our niche with honour. If, over time, humans are unable to discover and rectify the reason for our poor marine survival as adults and we are unable to resume our natural way of being, we direct the recovery team to eventually withdraw our life support systems, to discontinue captive breeding and live gene banking, and to allow us to fade with due respect into the cosmos.
- Renee Wissink, Park Ecologist
Atlantic Salmon in the inner Bay of Fundy (iBoF) are endangered, only a few left. The iBoF Atlantic Salmon Recovery Team has put the population on life support. The salmon hatch and grow up in our rivers-–the rivers which empty into the upper end of the Bay of Fundy between the Saint John River in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia's Annapolis River. Once they go to sea, they never return. No one knows what ails the patient. For several decades, many scientists have believed that iBoF salmon stay in the Bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine rather than joining the ranks of Atlantic Salmon from North America and Europe who travel widely in the North Atlantic. But is this true?
If the problem is in their salt water phase, what body of salt water do we need to look at? Do they stay in the Bay? Do they venture much farther a field? What is happening wherever they go that makes survival impossible?
Adult Male Salmon with transmitter© Parks Canada
Fundy National Park is trying to provide answers to some of these questions. We have done acoustic tagging of smolt in the past few years to learn how they move in the Bay. This fall we attached satellite tags to nine adult salmon originally from the nearby Big Salmon river who were in residence in the Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility and set them free from the park's Point Wolfe river. When any of these salmon die and decompose, the tag will be freed to 'pop-up' to the water surface. The tag will be switched on and will commence sending a signal receivable by satellite. This will tell us where each salmon was when it dies. Pop-up tags have never been used with salmon before. Their use should increase what is known about iBoF salmon.
The prognosis for this patient, the iBoF Atlantic salmon population, is not hopeful. They are whirling faster and faster down the extinction vortex. Our work in Fundy is on two fronts: (1) to save in captivity some of our salmon that are genetically specific to park rivers so that we have a source for re-introduction and (2) to try to find out what is making them go extinct. Whatever the problem is, it is affecting other species as well. While our salmon may be the first to get public attention as they disappear, others are following. It may not be too late for them. Our research efforts may provide techniques that will help save other salmon populations elsewhere even if we are unsuccessful here.
If you are familiar with the success of the Peregrine falcon re-introductions across much of North America where they had become extirpated due to the effects of DDT, you will know that re-introduction was possible because of a societal change (the banning of DDT) that cleaned up the habitat of falcons. A societal change in attitude toward oceans is crucial. Our salmon, and many other marine species whose populations are presently in trouble, are desperate for safe ocean habitat. These creatures need all of us to support efforts to achieve environmentally sustainable ocean management.