Restoring NORTH America’s estuaries

RAE family staff visiting the Clean Foundation in Canada.

Earlier this year RAE entered into a multi-year partnership with the Clean Foundation of Nova Scotia, supported by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to restore coastal areas along the Northumberland Strait. RAE, as the leading nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the United States’ bays and estuaries, is thrilled to partner with an organization committed to bringing about similar results in Canada. This collaboration will lead to the restoration of at least 15 hectares of salt marsh habitat that have been negatively impacted by human activity and natural events.

As part of this effort, I recently ventured north of the border, along with my RAE colleague Elsa Schwartz and habitat restoration specialists from three of RAE’s member groups: Wenley Ferguson from Save The Bay – Narragansett Bay, Doug Myers from Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Serra Herndon from Tampa Bay Watch. The Clean Foundation also assembled a remarkable group of representatives from regional partners, including The Mi’kmaw Conservation Group, St. Mary’s University (Halifax), and CB Wetlands and Environmental Specialists. Together, we spent several days discussing, visiting, and evaluating potential restoration sites. The RAE contingent was pleased to be able to contribute their expertise regarding site selection, restoration techniques and community engagement, among other topics, to the local partners’ strong base of knowledge and experience.

This trip included many personal highlights, such as participating in a traditional Mi’kmaw smudging ceremony, enjoying my first taste of moose, and watching a Tampa resident endure sideways-blowing sleet. However, by far the most rewarding aspect for me was being part of a group of such highly talented, dedicated people working together to accomplish something incredibly important that was new and challenging for each of us in our own way.

While RAE’s partnership with the Clean Foundation is still in its early stages, this and all of my other experiences with them lead me to believe it will be a highly successful one, through which we will together achieve impressive results in our efforts to Restore North America’s Estuaries.

Lance Speidell is senior director of development at Restore America’s Estuaries.