Provincial Environment Minister Randy Delorey wants
more information on
 what impact a $110-million Cape Breton wind energy
 project might have
on endangered Canada lynx.
The minister said Friday he needs more information
 on the environmental
 assessment of the proposed 50-megawatt, 30-turbine
 East Bay Hills Wind
 Project near East Bay.
“During the environmental assessment review, it was
 determined that
 additional information is required to evaluate the
high potential for
 adverse effects within the limited remaining habitat
of endangered
Canada lynx,” the minister said in a July 25 letter to
Tom Bird of project developerBluEarth Renewables
 Inc. of Guelph, Ont.
“Study methodology and project scope must be
developed in consultation
 with, and to the satisfaction of, Nova Scotia
 Environment and Nova
 Scotia Department of Natural Resources.”
BluEarth is developing the project, located on
Crown land 50 kilometres
 southwest of Sydney, through subsidiary Cape 
Breton Hydro Inc.
“Cape Breton Hydro Inc. must use this information
to better inform the
 proposed road and turbine layout in order to
maximize avoidance of
 impacts to Canada lynx habitat to the greatest
 extent possible while
 balancing other habitat conservation issues
such as wetland
 avoidance,” the minister said.
Delorey also asked for more information
 on the project’s effects
 on wetland plants and on the noise it would

Cape Breton Hydro must submit the additional information
 within a year. The minister will make a decision on approving
 the project within 50 days of receiving amended registration
Bird could not be reached for comment Friday.
BluEarth owns or has a stake in wind, hydro and solar projects
 operating or under development in Ontario, Alberta and British
The company’s major investors are the Ontario Teachers’
 Pension Plan Board and ARC Financialof Calgary.
The Canada Lynx in Nova Scotia
(Lynx canadensis (Kerr 1792))
Gerry Parker
23 Marshview Drive
Sackville, New Brunswick
E4L 3B2
Submitted to Nova Scotia Species
at Risk Working Group
June 13, 2001
Total number of individuals in the Cape Breton Island population:
 Uncertain but at
the high in the cycle densities possibly range from 10-11 lynx/
100km2 (~475-525
individuals) and at the low in the cycle from 2-3 lynx/100 km2
Number of mature individuals in the Cape Breton Island
 population (effective
population size): Depends upon the point in the population
 cycle; at lows most
individuals are mature (>2 years old) while at cyclical
 highs only ~20-30% of
population are mature.

Generation time: 2-5 years, varying with the cycle in
 reproduction. Recruitment may
fail for 3-4 years during the low of the 10-year snowshoe
 hare cycle.
Population trend: ______ declining _____increasing
_X___ stable _____unknown
Number of sub-populations: Probably only one (1), most 
of which breed on the Cape
Breton Highlands.
Is the population fragmented? Generally not; small 
numbers (10-30) may breed east
of Bras d'Or Lake.
Number of historic sites from which species has
 been extirpated: since
~1950, all of mainland Nova Scotia.
Does the species undergo fluctuations? Yes, ~10-
year cyclical fluctuations closely
allied with the 10-year cycle of snowshoe hare.
Lynx were once distributed on mainland Nova Scotia, 
especially the Cobequid Mountain,
Pictou Uplands and Musquodoboit Hills Districts of
 the Maritime Uplands Ecoregion in the
northern and northeastern portions of the province.
 However, for the past 40-50 years, the
breeding range of lynx has been restricted to Cape
 Breton Island, and there mainly to the
Highlands of Victoria and Inverness Counties
 (~4,500 km2) and several small areas on the
eastern shore of Bras d'Or Lake (~270 km2). 
The absence of lynx on the mainland has reduced
historic breeding range in Nova Scotia by at 
least 50-60%. The distribution of lynx on Cape

Breton Island has remained stable for at least the
 past 30 years

Continental lynx populations reach their highest
 densities in boreal and mixed wood
forests, and prefer a habitat of diversified age 
which supplies habitat required for denning, cover
and food. Lynx are highly dependent on snowshoe
 hare (Lepus americanus) for food, and hares
are most common in young (10-25 years), dense,
 mixed regenerating forest stands. On Cape
Breton Island, most lynx are found on the western 
Highlands where a balsam fir (Abies
balsamea) dominated mixed forest, susceptible
 to periodic infestations of the spruce budworm
(Archips fumiferana), has traditionally provided
 a landscape supporting an attractive landscape
mosaic of older-aged and regenerating
 conifer-mixed forest stands. From this core
range lynx, during periods of abundance and 
in the first years following a crash of snowshoe
hares, have regularly dispersed onto adjacent 
lowlands at ~10 year intervals

Limiting Factors and Threats
The most significant threat identified for northern taiga
 lynx populations is over-trapping
during years of suppressed productivity and reduced
 densities. Most jurisdictions now recognize
that threat and regulate harvests accordingly. Except 
for a small aboriginal harvest (~4-5 per
year), which was closed several years ago for 
conservation reasons, the trapping of lynx in Nova
Scotia has been illegal since 1980. A small number 
of lynx (~5-7 per year) are now accidentally
taken each year in traps and snares set for other
 furbearers such as bobcat (Lynx rufus), fox

(Vulpes vulpes) and eastern coyotes (Canis latrans). 
Although of concern, this source of
mortality, if it does not measureable increase, should
 not by itself pose a threat to the overall
viability of the population.
A substantial portion of the Highlands has received 
extensive disturbance from forest
harvesting operations over the past 30 years, especially 
during the period of spruce budworm
salvage operations in the late-1970s and early-1980s
. Evidence for healthy snowshoe hare and
lynx population peaks on the Highlands in 1988-90 
and 1998-2000 suggests that both species
managed to survive that era of "single resource"
 exploitation and significant deforestation. That
encouraging observation, combined with a new era
 of "multi-resource" ecological landscape
management based upon sustainability and ecological
 processes suggests that, with future
resource management strategies developed through 
coopperative planning between industry and
government and enhanced programs of ecological
 research and wildlife population monitoring,
the habitat for lynx appears secure for the foreseeable
Both the bobcat and coyote have been identified 
as potential threats to viable lynx
populations, especially in southern boreal/montane 
habitats, and both potential competitors are
found on Cape Breton Island. In the absence of 
cause/effect research into interspecific
competition and which might show otherwise, 
there is no historical correlational evidence that
either has adversely affected lynx densities or
 range limits in the past 20-30 years. More subtle
and longer-term threats include global warming 
and subsequent climate change, decline in
population viability through limited gene flow and
 genetic diversity and disease, such as the
recent isolation of canine distemper.