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Wildlife biologist calls highway tree-cutting 'excessive'

Kilometres of tree coverage lining parts of 100 series highways have been significantly cut back
2020-12-13
Some of the recent mulching done along Highway 102 as seen on December 13, 2020 (Photo: Katie Hartai).

The president of Nature Nova Scotia is raising concerns about the treeline being cut into along Highways 102 and 103. 

Kilometres of tree coverage lining parts of 100 series highways have been significantly cut back over the last three years, and in recent months close to Halifax. 

In an email to News 95.7, the Department of Transportation says the work is part of the province's effort to return highways to their original cleaning lines to help promote safety. 

"The clearing allows motorists to see wildlife more easily before it runs onto the highway. It also allows snow to blow off the road, the reduced shadowing helps melt snow and ice more quickly, and aids in drying wet roads to prevent icing," says department spokesperson Steve Warburton. 

Wildlife biologist and president of Nature Nova Scotia Bob Bancroft tells News 95.7's the Rick Howe Show, the cutting extreme. 

"They were clearing right up over tall rock faces where it wouldn't be a safety issue for a vehicle," he says. "Moose wouldn't be jumping off, or deer or bears wouldn't be jumping off the top of the rock face, but they just sort of mindlessly clear everything."

Bancroft says the province should be exploring other options to reduce collisions between vehicles and wildlife. 

"Other provinces like New Brunswick put up fencing and guide the animals to either an underpass or an overpass so there is some way for the moose to move out," he says. "Because this is genetic suicide to cut them off like that."

The department says the clearing is almost finished, and a plan is in place to manage these sight lines with ongoing brush cutting.


Katie Hartai

About the Author: Katie Hartai

In addition to being a reporter for NEWS 95.7 and HalifaxToday.ca, Katie is the producer of The Rick Howe Show
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