Our Alternative Approach to Run Against Plastic

Welcome to New Brunswick, our last stop in Atlantic Canada! As the only officially bilingual province, New Brunswick has a rich history of English and French influences on Canada’s east coast. And though they may be sandwiched between Nova Scotia and Quebec, they have their own unique culture and way of life, especially when it comes to the water that surrounds them. We’ve selected a few organizations in New Brunswick that are dedicated to the health of our oceans and the life within them. We hope you’re as excited to learn about them as we were!

What’s Andy up to this week? Taking a much-needed break!

Since completing his last run, Andy Sward at Million Bottle Pledge is resting and recharging in preparation for his next plogging trip. Due to the health concerns of COVID-19, Andy won’t be leaving his home province of British Columbia this year, but we can still reflect on the amazing work he has done in the past. Last year in New Brunswick, Andy picked up an average of over 200 pieces of garbage per day as he travelled approximately 50 km each day!

You can follow Andy on Facebook and Instagram to track his journey and keep an eye on when he’ll next be coming through your area!

Now let’s dive into the organizations making waves in New Brunswick! First up is the Nature Trust of New Brunswick (NTNB). NTNB is a charitable organization based in Fredericton, committed to conserving and stewarding New Brunswick’s biodiverse areas. Coastal and wetland conservation are both a part of NTNB’s work, highlighting their dedication to marine habitats and life.

Unfortunately, residential and commercial development threaten New Brunswick’s coastlines. And as more and more development advances toward the shore, wildlife habitats are endangered, pollution increases, and access to public beaches and walking trails is restricted. NTNB’s mission to protect coastal land through conservation and stewardship helps stop the development in its tracks.

Which would you prefer? Being surrounded by buildings and concrete or lush trees and water? NTNB’s mission helps communities embrace the second option by preventing further development and conserving natural spaces. This land is protected by stewards that monitor the health of the area. New Brunswick’s coastlines are safely in the hands of NTNB, protecting marine life and habitats for many years to come!

Wetland conservation takes on a similar shape to coastal conservation. Stewards protect wetland areas preserved by NTNB to conserve wildlife habitats and reduce intervention. And because wetlands are connected to our oceans, their health and wellbeing are paramount to keeping our oceans clean. 

All litter that starts in wetlands, such as plastic bags and bottles, will eventually make its way into the ocean unless stopped by organizations such as NTNB. As you can see NTNB’s work in wetland conservation saves the ocean from a large source of plastic pollution.

Thanks to NTNB, New Brunswick’s beautiful coasts and wetlands are protected for future generations to enjoy. And, through this important work, our oceans and the life within them are also safe.

You can visit the Nature Trust of New Brunswick website to get involved and learn more about their conservation work.

Onto our next organization, Atlantic Coastal Action Program Saint John (ACAPSJ). ACAPSJ is a community-based program focused on coastal issues in Saint John, New Brunswick. Working with the government, industry, and the public, ACAPSJ researches and solves local environmental problems. Moreover, ACAPSJ dips its toes into many metaphorical waters, as they run a wide range of projects and programming.

In 2018, ACAPSJ carried out their microplastic project in the Saint John Harbour. They trawled the harbour and recorded data on microplastic found. This data is used to bring awareness to the problem of microplastic as well as to advocate for solutions to plastic pollution. Concrete data is important because it helps the public understand and connect with issues. Knowing what’s in our water is an important first step in restoring health to our oceans, whether we do this through cleanups or educational outreach.

And on the topic of educational outreach, ACAPSJ also brings plastic pollution awareness into the classroom through their Water Rangers program. ACAPSJ visits schools in the Greater Saint John area to teach children about their local waterways and how to get involved in their protection. Armed with citizen science kits, students are shown how to monitor water quality, temperature, and stream velocity, as well as how to identify wildlife living in the areas. The results of the students’ work can be sent directly to ACAPSJ to aid in their research. This program is a great way to get youth excited about water conservation as well as build an appreciation for natural spaces that will last a lifetime.

Not only is ACAPSJ conducting their own research to further the regional understanding of plastic pollution, they’re also engaging a new generation of conscious ocean users for a brighter future. Add this up with all the other remarkable work they do, and you can see how ACAPSJ is making a big difference in Saint John.

Check out the Atlantic Coastal Action Program Saint John website to learn more about the initiatives above as well as all the other projects they’re working on.

And finally, there’s the Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB). They’re a non-profit organization raising awareness and providing solutions to regional environmental issues. Founded in 1969, they’re the oldest organization featured here today. CCNB offers several different programs as part of their dedication to protecting land, air, and water in New Brunswick, the oldest of which is their Marine Conservation Program.

From whale protections to habitat restoration, and marine cleanups to sustainable fisheries, the Marine Conservation Program has a lot going on beneath the surface! As a key component in their cleanup initiatives, CCNB conducts research and produces reports on pollution in the Bay of Fundy. Their 1994 report, titled Turning the Tide, identified sources of pollution that were draining into the Bay of Fundy, bringing this issue to the attention of policy-makers and the public.

Following the release of this report, all pollution was treated and many sources ceased operation, marking a major success for CCNB and the Bay of Fundy. CCNB also carries out cleanups of marine and coastal debris with their own boat, the Fundy Baykeeper. Through their research and direct action, CCNB ensures a clean and biodiverse Bay of Fundy.

Restoring habitats that are at risk of being lost is another of the CCNB’s ongoing projects. In collaboration with the state of Maine, they were able to designate the Musquash Estuary as a Marine Protected Area in 2006. As New Brunswick’s last intact estuary, its protection is vital to the continued health of the wildlife that rely on it and the Bay of Fundy that it feeds into. In addition to this work, CCNB has also successfully advocated for river restoration projects through their research. Thanks to their continued efforts, the St. Croix River has seen a return of the gaspereau (or alewife) fish species in recent years after they have been listed as a species of concern.

The CCNB’s Marine Conservation Program has a lot going on, but that’s the beauty of it! Through all their work over the years, they’ve accomplished protecting lands, cleaning waterways, changing public policy, conserving wildlife, and much more. We thank them for their amazing dedication to our waters!

Visit the Conservation Council of New Brunswick website to learn more about their Marine Conservation Program and all the other great programs that they run.

Interested in learning about more organizations in Canada? Read about Prince Edward Island next or Quebec next!

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