Halifax seeking “Naturalization Coordinator” 8Jul2023

Having a ‘Naturalization Coordinator’ for HRM is a  welcome initiative, but it should be coupled with a commitment, wherever and whenever possible, to place new developments on sites that are already ecologically degraded.

Extracts from advert on ca.indeed.com:

Naturalization Coordinator

Halifax Regional Municipality
11 Turner Dr, Dartmouth, NS
$33.08 an hour – Full-time

Job Posting
Halifax Regional Municipality is inviting applications for the permanent, full-time position of Naturalization Coordinator in the Parks division of Parks & Recreation. Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) is committed to reflecting the community it serves and recognizing Diversity and Inclusion as one of the Municipality’s core values…

The Naturalization Coordinator reports to the Manager, Asset Control & Service Delivery. The Naturalization Coordinator will ensure expansion of the Naturalization program throughout the municipality by creating relationships with a variety of stakeholders including, community associations and institutions (schools and universities), and other orders of government. The Naturalization Coordinator will also seek various funding opportunities to expand the Naturalization Program.

The Naturalization Coordinator fulfills the Municipality’s commitments in the Park Naturalization Strategy to implement an ecologically based approach to landscape management. The strategy seeks to enhance biodiversity and ecological resilience in the urban landscape using native or non-invasive-adapted plant species.

Amongst the Duties and Responsibilities
– Selecting and prioritizing sites considering factors such as proximity to existing natural areas, protection of existing native species, adjacent uses, invasive species control, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles, physical extent of potential area, equity, visibility, and community support;
– Expanding communication and education regarding the benefits of naturalization, resources for private landowners and the celebration of projects through an enhanced web presence and regular social media posts;
– Developing naturalization program metrics such as total land area converted, number of plant species, number of pollinator and other animal species and level of community support and participation.

Read more on ca.indeed.com

Naturalization is a process of ecological restoration that involves returning an altered or degraded site to a more natural condition through the use of trees, shrubs and flowers that are native to the area.” From Urban Naturalization in Canada: A Policy and Program Guidebook (Evergreen, 2001)

Comment by David Patriquin*.

This is a laudable initiative, but I have to ask, will it accomplish more ecologically  than we are losing as a result of approving  new developments that degrade lands of high ecological integrity,   e.g. in the area of the Eisner Cove Wetland,  and as proposed for lands by Sandy Lake?
*I am the content author & webmaster  for this website. The opinions expressed are mine alone; while my volunteer research/natural history activities at Sandy Lake & Environs are intended to contribute  towards the  goals of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association and the Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park Coalition, those organizations do not review, edit or approve content on this website.

Indeed, I would hope that already-imposed or being-considered ecological impacts of development in HRM are included in the 3rd item listed above under ‘Amongst the Duties and Responsibilities’,  “Developing naturalization program metrics…”

If we don’t begin to monitor such impacts and avoid them wherever possible, the outcome of otherwise very laudable initiatives such as this one could be to make us all feel a little better about what we are doing to nurture our natural world, while in fact, net degradation of our natural world continues.

A possible/likely example: the removal of forest in the uplands surrounding the Eisner Cover Wetland and replacement by high density housing.

Where once was a magnificent forest, From Drone footage, posted Nov 27, 2022 on Protect Eisner Wetland FB page. Area above Mt. Hope Avenue. View Video. View 2nd drone video of The Causeway.

Most of the forest in the uplands around this near-pristine wetland in a highly urbanized area in HRM is scheduled for removal and replacement by high density housing. The wetland is to be retained as an ‘amenity’. As well as the ecological losses associated with removal of the forest itself  receiving no  consideration, the possible impacts of removing the forest on the ecological integrity of wetland  have not been considered – even though the wetland  is a fen whose ecological integrity is highly dependent on  interactions with the uplands.

How much naturalization of already ecologically degraded landscapes in HRM will be required to make up for this loss of the forest and the likely degradation of the wetland that will follow?

Surely, we should be coupling “Naturalization”* Initiatives with  a policy of requiring that wherever possible, new developments in HRM be placed on already ecologically degraded lands.


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