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Adopt an Algonquin wolf and give the gift of wild this holiday season!

 

$45.00 CAD + $10.00 shipping flat rate for Canada ($30.00 tax receipt provided) 

Each 12” plush Algonquin wolf is incredibly soft and guaranteed to evoke those warm and fuzzy feelings. You can either give the gift yourself, or have it shipped directly to the recipient of your choice. A beautiful card will be included with your order. After your order is complete, you will have an opportunity personalize the card with a heartfelt message.

 

How do adoptions help protect wolves?

Earthroots is the leading environmental organization monitoring and working for the protection and recovery of threatened Algonquin wolves. Did you know that there may only be 250 adult Algonquin wolves left in the world? Researchers believe about 65% of the wolves and their habitat are found in Ontario, with the rest living in Quebec.

We conduct research to identify Algonquin wolves in the Ontario wilderness and engage in the development of the provincial Recovery Strategy to ensure that these wolves receive more protection before it is too late. Learn more here.

 

Adopt A Wolf Now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Helen E. Grose Photography

 

 

 

 

I love my wolf so much. It is the cosiest toy

and the wolf sparkles in the light!” – Molly, age 4 

Adopt a wolf this holiday season!

Looking for the perfect gift for the wolf lover in your life?

Adopt a wolf pup, pair or pack in their name.

  

When you adopt wolves in honour of a loved one, you can send them one of our beautiful e-Cards to let them know you are protecting wolves in their name!  

All donations from symbolic wolf adoptions go directly towards our work protecting wild wolves in Ontario.

Click here to adopt a wolf today!

Temagami's endangered old-growth forests need you!

Your voice can help change Temagami's future.  Take action by December 7th.

 
                                       Photo credit: Natasha Mathias
 
The proposed plans for the next 10 years of logging will not ensure that Temagami's unique ecology, endangered ancient red and white pine forests, remote wilderness areas, recreation and cultural values, are protected.
 

The decision-makers need to hear from you - click here!

 

Read the post on the Environmental Bill of Rights for more info.

Ottawa to help build care facility for mercury victims in Grassy Narrows

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott first made the promise at a closed-door meeting Wednesday. “We will support them through the troubles that they are facing,” she said.

 
By DAVID BRUSER News Reporter
JAYME POISSON Investigative Reporter
 
Chief Simon Fobister said residents affected by the serious impacts of mercury contamination now don't have have to travel to centres like Winnipeg or Kenora, Ont. to receive care.
Chief Simon Fobister said residents affected by the serious impacts of mercury contamination now don't have have to travel to centres like Winnipeg or Kenora, Ont. to receive care.  (CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS)  
 

The federal government will help the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation build a new care home for those suffering from mercury poisoning.

For nearly four years, Grassy Narrows leaders have been asking for help for survivors of the industrial pollution that has sickened the community for decades.

Many ill residents have had to leave the community to get the care they need in Kenora, Ont., or other towns and cities further from home.

In an interview with the Star Wednesday, Jane Philpott, the federal Minister of Indigenous Services, acknowledged that the people of Grassy Narrows and nearby Whitedog First Nations were “suffering from symptoms and syndromes that are associated with mercury exposure.”

“They have been asking for a very long time for a treatment centre to address these particular health needs and I made the commitment to them today that we would support them in the development, planning, design and construction of the treatment centre in Grassy Narrows.”

Philpott made the promise at a closed-door meeting earlier in the day that was attended by provincial and federal government officials as well as leadership from Grassy Narrows and nearby Whitedog, which is also affected by mercury. Those in attendance said Simon Fobister, the Chief of Grassy Narrows, repeatedly pressed the minister to commit to building the home. When she did, it was met with applause.

“It means a lot to our people . . . it means people with disabilities can stay in this residence, can stay with their families,” Fobister told the Star after the meeting.

“The government of Canada is stepping up to build this building for our people.”

Read the full article in The Star.

Grassy Narrows’ leaders want care facility for mercury victims

It’s not the first time the First Nation community has made this request. Top officials from both the provincial and federal governments say they are taking the request seriously.

By DAVID BRUSER News Reporter
JAYME POISSON Investigative Reporter

 

Several other organizations, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Amnesty International and Earthroots, also threw their support behind Grassy Narrows’ request for a mercury home in an open letter to Wynne and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Said Gord Miller, Chair of the Board for Earthroots and former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario: “This preventable tragedy has gone on far too long. All possible measures to help the people of Grassy Narrows and mitigate the impacts must be pursued.”

 

Bill Fobister Sr.’s granddaughter, Betty, is forced to use a wheelchair and is unable to speak.

The 25-year-old has qualified for compensation from a disability board that gives money to people with symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning.

But there is no specialized care for her in Grassy Narrows First Nation, where she is from, and which has a long legacy of mercury contamination, Bill Fobister said. So his granddaughter lives with a foster family in Fort Frances, Ont., a town 280 kilometres from her parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins and culture.

“We don’t have a place for her,” Fobister Sr. said. “I beg the . . . government to make a commitment that they will do something (in) our community for the sake of those who are suffering.”

Fobister and other Grassy Narrows leaders are in Toronto this week to ask provincial and federal officials to help build a care home for survivors of the industrial pollution that has sickened the community for decades. It is not the first time they have come from northwestern Ontario with this request.

“It’s just like when a dog chases its tail around and around but never catches up . . . and this is what’s been happening with our demand for this mercury home and treatment centre,” Chief Simon Fobister said Tuesday.

Top officials from the provincial and federal governments said they are taking the request seriously, will be meeting with Grassy Narrows representatives Wednesday, and want to get something done.

“We will be there for them for the long run to support some appropriate facility once we have more information,” said federal Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott after a cabinet meeting Tuesday. The federal government has already committed to a feasibility study of a care home. “Going forward, we will do the right thing.”

Read the full article in The Star.

Ontario knew about Grassy Narrows mercury site for decades, but kept it secret

A confidential 2016 report says provincial officials were told in the 1990s that the site of a paper mill near Grassy Narrows First Nation was contaminated with mercury — and that the poison is likely still present.

By DAVID BRUSER News Reporter
JAYME POISSON Investigative Reporter

Grassy Narrows' fishing tourism industry was decimated in the 1970s by news of mercury dumping at a nearby paper mill. (TODD KOROL/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)

Grassy Narrows' fishing tourism industry was decimated in the 1970s by news of mercury dumping at a nearby paper mill.

(TODD KOROL/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)

 

"Meanwhile, recent key findings by the Star, environmental group Earthroots and top scientists have shown high levels of mercury in soil, fish and river sediment — all strongly suggesting the site of the mill is still leaking mercury.

 

Earlier this year, the Star and Earthroots found soil on mill property that had mercury readings up to 80 times normal levels. Then top mercury scientists reported that sediment in the stretch of the Wabigoon River that flows past the plant had mercury levels up to 130 times normal levels. Both findings came after the Star revealed that walleye downstream are the most mercury-contaminated in the province."

 

Government officials knew in the 1990s that mercury was visible in soil under the paper mill upstream from Grassy Narrows First Nation, but the people there did not find out until this week, the Star has learned.

During the intervening years, as the residents of Grassy Narrows and scientists sounded the alarm that the neurotoxin was poisoning the fish and the people who eat it, government official after government official kept repeating that there was no ongoing source of mercury in the Wabigoon River that is the lifeblood of Grassy Narrows.

The residents were told that since the mill, then owned by Reed Paper, dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon between 1962 and 1970, the river would, over time, clean itself naturally.

A confidential report, commissioned by the current owner of the mill, Domtar, and prepared in 2016 by an environmental consulting firm, tells a different story: the province knew decades ago that the site of the mill was contaminated with mercury. Today, the report says, it likely still is.

Further, the report — which is based on a “collection of historical sampling” from the mill’s archives — also reveals that groundwater samples taken from wells on the mill property over the years have come back with extremely high mercury levels. The province’s Environment Ministry said it was unaware of this well data until it got the report in July 2016.

The report says there are two potential ongoing sources of mercury at the site of the old mill: under the old chlor-alkali plant where “additional mercury-contaminated soils are known to remain present beneath the building,” and a ditch beside the river where there has been no monitoring.

These potential sources, experts say, could be contaminating the river still.

Grassy Narrows grandmother and health advocate Judy Da Silva calls the development “sickening.”

“It shows how lowly we are, the Anishinabeg, to the government and corporations. Like we are not worth it to be alive,” said Da Silva. “They knew about this poison and they did nothing. They didn’t even tell us. It is awful.”

Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister said: “For decades I have been seeking justice for my people for mercury poisoning, searching for answers, searching for help. Never once was I told that mercury poison is still under the mill, right next to our river. I was told over and over that the mill site was cleaned up and that the problem ended in the ’70s. I now see that was a deception and my people have paid the price with their health.”

Read the full article in The Star.

Ontario Municipal Board decision saves Blanding’s Turtle habitat on Stoney Lake

Two Provincially Significant Wetlands and 6.2 km Undeveloped Shoreline Protected

 

Earthroots congratulates Gord Miller, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and Chair of Earthroots, David Donnelly, Friends of Fraser Wetlands and Curve Lake First Nation on this significant environmental victory!

 

Blanding's Turtle, a threatened species

 

PETERBOROUGH—The last significant undeveloped shoreline in the Kawarthas has been saved from a 58-unit housing development on Stoney Lake, immediately adjacent to Burleigh Falls.

The Vancouver-based developer Burleigh Bay Corporation (BBC) had planned to build the community, plus 72-slip marina, fitness facility, clubhouse, guest cottages, swimming pool, parking lots and internal roadway system in two provincially significant wetlands (PSW), containing the habitat of the “Threatened” Blanding’s turtle and muskellunge.

“We’re elated. This gives the Kawarthas a breathtaking opportunity to preserve an extraordinary natural setting that can’t be replaced,” said Heather Brooks-Hill, a third-generation Stoney Lake resident and Director of the Friends of Fraser Wetlands (FFW).

The Board cited the location of the development in and around the PSWs as one of the most “compelling” reasons for denying approval.  The Decision endorses the testimony of FFW expert Mr. Gord Miller, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, who testified that wetland complexes must be afforded a higher degree of protection and cannot be isolated.  The Board held, “As Mr. Miller stated, ‘the stakes are high’ given the significance of endangered species, a complex ecological system of entwined elements and functions and highly sensitive wetlands” on the site.

The site is believed to contain over 450 different species, a number of which are endangered or threatened.  The Board also accepted FFW’s expert Mr. D. Janus’ opinion that 95% of the site is habitat for the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species.

Read the full article in Anishinabek News.

Earthroots echoes Environmental Commissioner’s call to recover at risk wolves

Ontario needs to protect threatened Algonquin wolves from hunting and trapping

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TORONTO (October 24th, 2017) – Today Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe released her annual report, “Good Choices, Bad Choices”, a critical assessment of the Ontario government’s environmental practices and recent decisions. The report outlines multiple areas where the province is failing to take effective action on pressing environmental issues.

In particular, Commissioner Saxe emphasizes that the Algonquin wolf, a unique species that was listed as Threatened last year, needs more protection. Threatened species receive immediate province-wide protection under the Endangered Species Act but the protection of Algonquin wolves was stripped down to 4 provincial parks and buffers around them on the opening day of hunting and trapping season in 2016. Outside of these areas, where eastern coyotes are heavily hunted and trapped, Algonquin wolves receive no protection because it is difficult to visually distinguish them from each other (a genetic test is required to correctly identify them).

“It is critical that our government upholds the objectives of the Endangered Species Act, and prohibits non-aboriginal hunting and trapping of Algonquin wolves across their range,” said Hannah Barron, Earthroots Director of Wildlife Conservation Campaigns. “We need our government to take immediate measures to protect these wolves – there may be as few as 250 mature Algonquin wolves left in the world, mostly in Ontario. Scientific research funded by the Ontario government shows that without additional protection, this small yet ecologically invaluable population of top predators will not recover.”

The Algonquin wolf is the only Threatened species that can be legally sport hunted and trapped, even in some protected areas. Commissioner Saxe builds on this point in her report, stating that, “Thousands of Ontarians expressed concerns about the inadequacy of the government’s new measures to protect Algonquin wolves. If the MNRF is incapable of protecting a small number of threatened Algonquin wolves in only one part of the province, it creates doubt about the ministry’s commitment to sustainably managing any species of wildlife – let alone an imperilled one.”

Read more...

Hunting season for wolves and coyotes is now open - help ban wolf snaring!

 

Wolves and coyotes are only protected year-round in 4 buffer zones around provincial parks where the majority of threatened Algonquin wolves have been found. Elsewhere, they are shot opportunistically and trappers remain active all winter with no limits to the amount of wolves they can kill. The most commonly used wolf trap is the strangling snare, recently deemed inhumane by researchers

 

Take action to ban cruel and non-selective strangling snares!

 

Province maps out new nature and farm protection for the Greater Golden Horseshoe

 

TORONTO, July 6, 2017 – This afternoon the Province took an important step towards better protecting nature and farming across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) with the release of regional plans for a Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System. The plans are an important step towards protecting and recovering biodiversity and supporting healthy, thriving rural communities, especially in an era of climate change.

The Natural Heritage System plan identifies a network of forests, rivers and wetlands that provide essential habitat for wildlife. “We’re thrilled to see the Province step up and lead this important mapping exercise,” says Joshua Wise, Ontario Nature’s Greenway Program Manager. “However, important habitats in regions such as Wellington and Waterloo are not adequately represented in the draft plan. This needs to be fixed.”

The proposed natural heritage system builds outward from the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Greenbelt Plans. “Linking these natural heritage systems is the key to creating a more resilient, healthy landscape,” says Debbe Crandall, Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition’s Policy Director. “I am concerned, however, that the proposed linkage areas connecting the core natural habitats are much too narrow – only 500 metres wide. By comparison, linkage areas in the Oak Ridges Moraine are as wide as two kilometres. The corridors are critical placeholders. Once identified, they would be protected from urban development, and would present opportunities for ecological restoration and stewardship over time.”

Read more...

Ontario commits $85 million to clean up ‘gross neglect’ at Grassy Narrows

Generations sickened by mercury poisoning prompt province to agree to fund cleanup.

Water flows in the Wabigoon River that is contaminated with mercury near Grassy Narrows.

Water flows in the Wabigoon River that is contaminated with mercury near Grassy Narrows.  (TODD KOROL / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)  

By DAVID BRUSER News Reporter
ROBERT BENZIE Queen's Park Bureau Chief

JAYME POISSON News reporter

 


 

"The mercury contamination still plagues these Indigenous communities in northern Ontario. Recent key findings by the Star, environmental group Earthroots and top scientists have shown high levels of mercury in soil, fish and river sediment — all strongly suggesting the site of the mill is still leaking mercury, about 50 years on."

 

 

The Ontario government is committing $85 million to finally clean up the mercury-contaminated Wabigoon River that has poisoned the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation and nearby Whitedog First Nation for generations.

The “comprehensive remediation action plan” will also involve finding all contaminated sites that could be leaking mercury into the river.

At Queen’s Park, Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray did not mince words.

“If you ask me when would I like to have done this? Fifty years ago,” Murray said in an interview Tuesday. “I have never seen a case of such gross neglect. I am embarrassed as a Canadian that this ever happened and I can’t understand how people for 50 years sat in that environment office knowing this was going on as a minister and simply didn’t do anything about it,” he thundered.

The province’s historic commitment follows a Star investigation that probed the impact of the poisoning and decades-long lack of action by government.

The Ontario government is committing $85 million to finally clean up the mercury-contaminated Wabigoon River that has poisoned the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation and nearby Whitedog First Nation for generations.

The “comprehensive remediation action plan” will also involve finding all contaminated sites that could be leaking mercury into the river.

At Queen’s Park, Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray did not mince words.

“If you ask me when would I like to have done this? Fifty years ago,” Murray said in an interview Tuesday. “I have never seen a case of such gross neglect. I am embarrassed as a Canadian that this ever happened and I can’t understand how people for 50 years sat in that environment office knowing this was going on as a minister and simply didn’t do anything about it,” he thundered.

The province’s historic commitment follows a Star investigation that probed the impact of the poisoning and decades-long lack of action by government.

The mercury contamination still plagues these Indigenous communities in northern Ontario. Recent key findings by the Star, environmental group Earthroots and top scientists have shown high levels of mercury in soil, fish and river sediment — all strongly suggesting the site of the mill is still leaking mercury, about 50 years on.

Read the full story in The Star.

The Province’s coordinated land use review is on the right track, but questions remain

Bolder action needed to grow the Greenbelt, protect species at risk and halt urban sprawl for good

 

After a 26 month review, the Government of Ontario is generally heading in the right direction with updated policies that govern the Oak Ridges Moraine, Greenbelt, Niagara Escarpment and growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), but some key missteps indicate a questionable commitment to the long-term protection of the region’s water, nature and communities.

The coordinated review has been coloured by a dramatic attempt by the development industry to misrepresent the Greenbelt’s role in limiting housing supply and increasing prices. This came to a head last week when provincial planner Victor Doyle squashed the misinformation campaign. “The Oak Ridges Moraine and Greenbelt have increased the prosperity of those living within the GGH,” remarks Joyce Chau, Executive Director of EcoSpark. “I hope today’s announcement marks an end to this inaccurate rhetoric. The government needs to step up and get to the important task of growing the Greenbelt to protect vulnerable water supplies that are threatened by development pressures in communities like Simcoe and Brant County.”

Disappointing policy changes in the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine include significantly weakening protections for the habitat of endangered species. “We are taken aback that policy safeguards for our most vulnerable plants and animals were removed,” says Dr. Anne Bell, Ontario Nature’s Director of Conservation and Education. “On one hand we’re pleased the government has committed to protecting the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s natural heritage system. On the other hand, if the policies don’t protect species at risk in the Oak Ridges Moraine and Greenbelt, where is there left for those species to go?”

Read more...

The Town Where Mercury Still Rises

The New York Times

By SUSAN GOLDBERG

 

"The government didn’t initially act on the claim in the 2015 Glowacki email that additional mercury had been stored in drums. Volunteers from the environmental organization EARTHROOTS and reporters from The Toronto Star in the fall of 2016 took a dozen samples from the site identified by Mr. Glowacki; three came back with levels of mercury up to nearly 80 times expected levels for soil in the region."

 

Photo credit: freegrassy.net

Read the full article below or visit The New York Times.

 

GRASSY NARROWS, Ontario — “About 15 years ago, I started to drop things,” Steve Fobister recalled. “I couldn’t work on cars the way I used to. I couldn’t play hockey or baseball — I couldn’t hold a stick or a bat. My knees would just buckle. I started choking a lot.”

Today, Mr. Fobister, 64, needs a walker to move around his small house in the Grassy Narrows First Nation, an Ojibway reserve about an hour northeast of Kenora, Ontario. Like almost all of the 950 or so residents of Grassy Narrows, Mr. Fobister suffers from the effects of mercury poisoning. For much of our conversation, he had to support his jaw with his fingers because of the joint weakness and pain mercury can cause.

“I have memory loss,” said Mr. Fobister, a former chief of Grassy Narrows. “I have no feeling in my feet. My legs and skin feel like they’re burning. My hearing is going. I’m a walking drugstore: I take about 16 pills a day to control seizures, pain, depression.”

Mercury poisoning among the people of Grassy Narrows was first discovered in the early 1970s by Japanese researchers. From 1962 to 1970, a paper mill owned by Reed Paper, a company in nearby Dryden, dumped more than 20,000 pounds of raw mercury into the English-Wabigoon River system. Fish from those waters provided the main source of protein downstream in Grassy Narrows. By the time the contamination was discovered — and the community’s commercial fishing industry shuttered — residents had consumed dangerous quantities of fish.

Read more...