Moose & Corridors 1

mooseA group of 25-30 endangered mainland moose resides largely within the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area, and is one reason to seek protection of this area. However, the moose are important for more than just themselves: protecting the moose and providing corridors for their migration between different blocks of land within the peninsula and with the mainland also protects and can enhance native biodiversity of the region at large.

In a letter of comment to Nova Scotia Environment in relation to the EA (Environmental Assessment) for Highway 113, WRWEO co-chairs Richmond Campbell and David Patriquin commented on the value of protecting the moose and providing corridors.1 They were responding to a comment in the EA that “This population on the Chebucto Peninsula are not considered sustainable by NSDNR and as such there is no area specific recovery plan in place” (emphasis ours), also to comments suggesting that movement of the Chebucto moose north of highway 103 is insignificant.

Following is an abbreviated version of the comments by the WRWEO co-chairs.

Do The Chebucto Moose migrate across Highway 103?
A fact sheet distributed at the Public Open House for the proposed Highway 113 on January 26th, 2010, showed a map with “Reported Moose Sitings in Proposed Highway 113 Project Area between 2004 and 2009”. (See Map). The map shows eight sightings north of Highway 103 and five close to or on the highway 103. A member of the WRWEO board suggested those sightings likely underestimate real movements in this area:

In the interests in accuracy, I am troubled by the inaccuracies I perceive in moose sightings in the area, and the weight that might have been attached to those numbers. During the period in question, I personally can attest to 4 sightings near the intersection of Route 3 and 103: 1) a juvenile moose in my back yard (north end of Frederick Lake) 2) a young moose wading in the brook that feeds into the north end of Frederick Lake. 3) my neighbour’s report that there was a full grown moose on the highway by the 3 / 103 overpass. 4) my friend’s report of a large moose standing on his lawn. (last house on Five Island Rd. before Cambrian Cove) … these all during the same period as the mapped reports.

UnderpassIt seems very likely that significant movement of moose out of the Chebucto Peninsula and through lightly settled areas near highway 103 occurs despite the hazards involved… therefore serious attention should be given to corridor protection in this area as soon as possible. Corridors might include relatively inexpensive electronic crossings of roads. (See example)

More on Moose & Corridors

1. Letter of Feb. 22nd, 2010 to Environmental Assessment Branch Nova Scotia Environment. View letter (PDF).