Nova Scotia man fined for violating Species at Risk Act by destroying nests of threatened Bank Swallows
March 15, 2021 – Kentville, Nova Scotia – Strong and effective enforcement of Canada’s environmental and wildlife protection laws is one of the concrete ways in which we are delivering on our commitment to providing clean air, clean water, and conserving wildlife species and their habitat.
On February 19, 2021, in the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia, Gerald Douglas Fulton was sentenced after pleading guilty to one charge under the Species at Risk Act related to destroying Bank Swallow habitat. Mr. Fulton was ordered to pay a monetary penalty of $5,000, which will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund and used for the purpose of conducting research into the protection of Bank Swallows. In addition, he was also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000.
In August 2019, a citizen called the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry with concerns about a front-end loader near Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) nests in the bank of a sand pit in Millville, Kings County. A biologist sent to survey the scene noted the loader, active nests and the presence of Bank Swallows. As Bank Swallows are protected under the Species at Risk Act, the case was referred to Environment and Climate Change Canada for follow up. The investigation determined that Mr. Fulton did destroy the Bank Swallow habitat, contrary to section 33 of the Species at Risk Act, which is an offence under section 97(1)(a) of the Act.
- It is an offence under the Species at Risk Act to kill or harm a wildlife species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened, or to damage or destroy the residence of a listed species.
- Bank Swallow populations in Canada have declined by 98% in the last 40 years.
- The Bank Swallow was listed as a threatened species under the Act on November 2, 2017.
- Bank Swallows nest in burrows dug into exposed soil, primarily on the banks of ponds and rivers, but also in sand pits and quarries, and at some construction sites where vertical banks of soil are found. To reduce the risk of damaging or destroying a Bank Swallow nest, it is recommended that persons conducting work near potential nesting areas avoid scheduling excavation or construction activities during the spring and summer nesting season.
- The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. It was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit the environment.
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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