Nova Scotians will be enjoying more new nature reserves soonerwith proposed amendments to the Special Places Protection Act,introduced today, April 21. “We’ve committed in our green plan to protect more of NovaScotia’s natural environment, and these amendments will help,”said Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash. “They’ll makeit easier for us to designate new nature reserves that NovaScotians will enjoy for generations to come.” Nature reserves preserve and protect typical and specialecosystems, plants and animals. They also offer research andeducation opportunities. The province has 11 nature reservestotalling 3,180 hectares. The amendments will remove the current requirement that everynature reserve have a management plan in place before it isdesignated. Instead, management plans will be developed asnecessary. For highly visited nature reserves, special measures outlined inmanagement plans may be necessary to protect the areas’ featureswhile still allowing access for research, education and natureappreciation. For remote reserves that are rarely visited, the act’s statementson permitted and prohibited activities are usually sufficient toensure the area’s protection. The proposed amendments will re-establish the special placesadvisory committee with an updated membership structure. Thecommittee will provide advice on all aspects of nature reserves. The amendments will also remove the requirement for the committeeto help develop management plans. Instead, the committee willassist when requested. “We have a number of Nova Scotians who are offering pieces oftheir own private land to be protected as nature reserves but ourhands have been tied because of outdated legislation,” said Mr.Morash. “With these changes, we’ll be able to protect these andother lands in a timely manner.” About 8.2 per cent of land in Nova Scotia is protected throughthe combined efforts of the provincial and federal governments,and organizations like the Nature Conservancy of Canada and theNova Scotia Nature Trust. All of Nova Scotia’s nature reserves are described on thedepartment’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/enla/pareas .