Each blue whale has a unique pattern of spots of its back, like a fingerprint or a nametag. These spots allow researchers to identify each whale as either a newcomer, or an old friend.
The Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) is a non-profit research organization located on the Gulf of St Lawrence's northern shore and they were the first group to begin long term study of marine mammals in the Gulf. Since their founding in 1979, this group has followed blue whale populations in eastern Canada, the Sea of Cortez and in the waters of Iceland.
MICS has discovered something troubling in the northwest Atlantic blue whale population. Of the 475 individual whales they've identified since their genesis in 1979, only 22 have been calves. This suggests a frighteningly low calving rate for a population already swimming on the brink.
On June 6th, 2014, Sierra Club Canada Foundation was presented with a $60,000 grant from the RBC Royal Bank Blue Water Leadership Grant. SCCF is proud to partner with the Town of Ajax and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in a project to construct bioswales along the Ajax waterfront. The native wetland plants of these bioswales will capture and filter the untreated stormwater before discharging into Lake Ontario. This grant will also contribute towards a community awareness program.
"The Atlantic Salmon and the blue whales are both very precious creatures to our nations," said Chief Claude Jeannotte of Gespeg, Quebec. He spoke in Halifax on behalf of these two struggling species Wednesday, July 16.
Jeannotte was accompanied by four other First Nations chiefs from across Atlantic Canada, all from communities dependent on the, "rich bounty of the Gulf," in the words of Chief P.J Prosper, representing the Migmaq of Nova Scotia. Together they spoke against exploratory drilling at the Old Harry Prospect, located in the Gulf of St Lawrence 80 km off Newfoundland's west coast and 460 metres underwater.
The Old Harry prospect is expected to be drilled in 2015 or 2016, according to the oil and gas company Corridor Resources which presently holds an exploratory license in the region.
From the raging torrents of the Niagara River to the placid Welland Canal one can walk for ten miles through the wooded forest gardens of the Niagara Escarpment. Here in some patches, old growth giant oaks and maples soar above wild ginger and may apple. This shady glen has spectacular lookouts over the Niagara Fruit Belt to Lake Ontario, such as Queenston Heights and the Woodend Conservation area. These wilds overwhelm relics of 19th century assaults on nature, such as lime kilns, a “haunted” “ghost” tunnel under which the Bruce Trail travel and the stone ruins of the abandoned Third Welland Canal.
Dr John Cherry, a hydrogeologist with the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), says fracking wells in Canada aren't built for the long haul; they tend to spring leaks.
"In my view, well integrity is likely the most important shale gas issue," said Dr Cherry in Toronto, Thursday, May 29. Dr Cherry chaired the CCA's expert panel on understanding the environmental impacts of shale gas extraction (fracking). This panel released its report in early May.
Photo: Urban Sprawl on Oak Ridges Moraine threatens health of Lake Ontario. By: Mary Lou Bacher
The province of Ontario is engaged in what is termed a decade long review of the Greenbelt Plan and its complimentary legislation, Places to Grow. (the latter is intended to provide higher densities so that sprawl does not jam up against urban boundaries). A public meeting on the review, appropriately enough in a location accessible to cyclists, walkers and transit, is being held on March 30, from 6 to 9pm at the central Yonge Street Toronto Public Library.
The recent death of a prophetic voice of concern for the earth, Dr. Mike Carr, should give some guidance to the deliberations of the public. It is to be fervently hoped that as many people cram into the Toronto Reference Library to give voice to concerns for the fate of the planet as occupied St. James Cathedral square.