Planification des zones protégées au Nouveau- Brunswick : maintenant qu'elles sont protégées, que fait-on avec elles ?

En 2003, une nouvelle loi a désigné dix nouvelles zones naturelles protégées au Nouveau-Brunswick, et a confirmé la protection des vingt réserves écologiques et zones de conservation.

Le ministère des Ressources naturelles a mis en place trois niveaux de comités consultatifs pour l'aider avec ses plans de gestion et avec la sensibilisation du public à l'existence de ces dix nouvelles zones naturelles protégées.

La Société pour la nature et les parcs du Canada - Section Nouveau-Brunwick est d'avis que les prochaines étapes de la planification de ces zones naturelles protégées de notre province devraient comprendre : l'établissement et l'allocation des fonds nécessaires pour un Fonds en fiducie pour les zones naturelles protégées afin de soutenir la planification et la recherche ainsi que la participation du public et le développement d'une stratégie pour l'ensemble du réseau des zones naturelles protégées.

Protected areas planning in New Brunswick: 
Now they're protected, 
what do we do with them?

Roberta Clowater
Executive Director
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, NB Chapter
December 2006

n 2003, new legislation in New Brunswick, the Protected Natural Areas Act, legally designated ten new Protected Natural Areas (PNAs), and consolidated protection for 20 existing ecological reserves and conservation areas. Persistent encouragement and scientific work over at least two decades, with a strong push to mobilize public support during the Endangered Spaces Campaign of the 1990s, had resulted in a doubling of the amount of public land protected from development. The question in many minds is, "What do we do with these protected areas now?!"

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took a big leap of faith by partially answering that question, as they established three levels of public advisory committees to help with management plans and public awareness for the ten new Protected Natural Areas. These are a Provincial Advisory Committee, a Scientific Advisory Committee, and ten Local Advisory Committees. DNR recognized there was a daunting task ahead to ensure that management and use of the new protected areas was consistent with the mandate of the Act, which is to protect biodiversity in the PNAs, while providing public recreational access that has minimal environmental impact. It made good sense to harness the knowledge and enthusiasm of members of the public to help with this task.


Members of the public and members of the Grand Lake PNA Local Advisory Committee walking in the Grand Lake PNA.
(photo: Roberta Clowater)

The public advisory committees are a bit of an experiment in direct public involvement with public land management in our province. Members of committees have a wide range of values, experiences, and backgrounds. Since the committees were established in 2005, hundreds of volunteer hours of service have been donated to this work, and the DNR has allocated part of the time of five to 10 staff members to guide and sustain this process. The management plans DNR and committees are working on should be ready in a year.

The PNA Management Plans can be key accountability tools between government and the public - a way to prove that protected natural areas are being well managed to conserve the nature within them. The process government has put in place to develop management plans with public involvement is a very good step in the right direction.

What's next? The advice of the Scientific Advisory Committee will be critical to ensuring that a program of ecological research and monitoring is implemented, and linked to measurable objectives set in management plans. It is important that DNR supports the protected areas program with enough funds to allow staff to do management plan monitoring, enforcement, ecological surveys, and public awareness activities. It appears the program will need more funding than is currently being allocated.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - New Brunswick Chapter believes the next steps in protected natural area planning in our province should include:

  •  establishing and providing resources for a Protected Natural Area Trust Fund to support planning, research, and public engagement; and
  • developing a strategy for the entire protected natural area network, including targets and timeframes for adding new PNAs to the network, connectivity conservation, and research to make sure that lands surrounding protected areas are managed in a way that helps meet ecosystem conservation objectives of the protected areas network.

For more information on the protected natural areas of New Brunswick, please visit the CPAWS NB web site: www.cpawsnb.org and click on "NB Parks and Protected Areas". For more information on the protected areas advisory committees, please visit the DNR website: http://www.gnb.ca/0399/index-e.asp.