Biodiversity Conservation

Working with coastal communities, marine resource users, conservation organizations, and government agencies, QLF encourages local communities to take an active role in managing natural resources, preserving biodiversity, and participating in conservation education and outreach.

QLF’s Marine Bird Conservation Program was established in 1978 to address the rapid decline of seabird populations along the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The program was directed by Dr. Kathleen Blanchard, a long-time QLF employee and now director of Intervale Associates, a not-for-profit organization incorporated in Newfoundland and Labrador that conducts programs to secure fish and wildlife conservation and the recovery of species at risk.

Continuing in the spirit, legacy, and vision of the original Marine Bird Conservation Program, Dr. Blanchard now manages a series of projects under the umbrella of the Biodiversity Conservation Program.

Piping Plover Conservation

The Piping Plover is a management-dependent species whose survival depends on the availability of coastal beach habitat and on minimizing human disturbance and predation. Newfoundland is the northern-most extension of the Piping Plover’s range along North America’s east coast; plovers that nest in Newfoundland are believed to migrate through southeastern U.S. to the Bahamas and Caribbean. This project is needed in order to contribute to the recovery of the Piping Plover and to reduce the threat of human disturbance to shorebirds in general. Dr. Blanchard and her staff are monitoring Piping Plovers and other bird species on ten beaches of southwestern Newfoundland and encouraging the public to take positive actions to conserve birds that use beach habitat.


Piping Plover

Conservation of Seabirds, Sea Ducks, and Important Bird Areas

In 2014 and 2015, Dr. Blanchard, with a team of Interns guided by the expertise of Main Brook resident Eddie Pilgrim, led a project to enhance the habitat of nesting Common Eider, a species of sea duck that nests in Hare Bay, Newfoundland. The project was organized in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited and the White Bay Central Development Association. Interns constructed 50 nest shelters and were able to see the results of their work when they helped install the shelters on islands in the bay. Interns also participated in a bird-a-thon organized by Intervale and led bird watching activities for the children of Main Brook. QLF also participated in the development of an interpretive panel that documented the history of eider duck enhancement in Hare Bay.

QLF is now expanding the program in partnership with Intervale, Ducks Unlimited, and the Junior Canadian Rangers of Newfoundland and Labrador. As part of this program, several educational activities are planned for residents and visitors to the region who wish to improve their skills in bird identification and monitoring. Interns will work in Red Bay, Labrador in Summer 2016 to help promote the value of Important Bird Areas and the newly designated UNESCO heritage site of Red Bay.

Environmental education in Hare Bay (Photo by Greig Cranna)

Environmental education in Hare Bay (Photo by Greig Cranna)

Protecting Coastal Biodiversity

In a multi-year project funded in part through the Government of Canada Ecoaction Program, QLF has been working with rural communities of northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador to protect and restore the biodiversity of coastal and inshore waters. This project addresses a significant threat to coastal biodiversity – the recent increase in pollution and debris deposited and washed ashore, particularly on the Gulf coast of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. One of the most common sources of marine debris is the blue plastic liners for the bait boxes supplied to lobster harvesters in the region. QLF is partnering with the fishing industry to reduce pollution from plastic bait liners being dumped overboard. Dr. Blanchard and QLF are working in collaboration with local community leaders and the Junior Canadian Rangers Program with the aim of reducing plastic waste entering the ocean and increasing the public’s knowledge of the harmful effects of plastic debris in the ocean and along the shores. The project will focus on mitigating the harmful efforts of other sources of pollution including discharged oil from boats and discarded plastic.