Goal #1: Securement of wildlife habitat via promotion of municipal stewardship
As its central objective SAM will continue the conservation of wildlife habitat to municipalities across the province. This is undertaken in close partnership with the NL Wildlife Division. Specifically SAM seeks to promote the stewardship and conservation of important wetland, coastal and species at risk habitat that is located within their respective jurisdictions. Participating parties sign stewardship agreements with the province agreeing to make future land/water development subject to the terms of the agreement and an associated habitat conservation plan; and incorporate the agreement within their individual municipal planning documents and development regulations. Experience has shown that having community leaders make formal public commitments via stewardship agreements has also served to generally increase decision-maker and individual community resident, awareness and sense of personal responsibility, or conservation ethic, towards the wildlife and habitat found within their jurisdiction. Agreement signatories become members of SAM and are invited to participate in SAM activities.
Goal #2: Environmental education / member engagement
Provide assistance to the municipal signatories of previous agreements in the ongoing implementation of those agreements and their associated habitat conservation plans. This is a key component of building and sustaining conservation ethic through education, awareness and involvement by town residents and decision makers. These agreements account for over 47,995 acres (~19,422 ha) secured and over 643,000 acres (~260,000 ha) influenced. Most SAM member municipalities have either individually or jointly undertaken environmental education and/or habitat stewardship agreements and associated conservation plans.
Goal #3: Building the "SAM Conservation Fund - Endowment for Nature"
The long-term vision for this is that it become a sustainable, provincially-based, source of stewardship and conservation funding. Such a fund could eventually provide stability for SAM and also benefit charitable municipalities and partner entities involved in likeminded environmentally driven projects meeting SAM's vision/objectives. The fund was established in September 2013 with an initial objective to annually provide student scholarships to students enrolled in environmental disciplines. The fund is administered by the TD Waterhouse Private Giving Foundation on SAM's behalf. A Fundraising Committee was established in 2014 with a Terms of Reference seeking to build the fund balance towards its long-term goals.
Goal #4: Advocacy for improved provincial habitat management policies, namely wetland conservation policy
This objective came out of member discussion and concerns expressed in the experience of development impacting wetlands within municipal boundaries. Such a policy would provide municipal and provincial governments, members of the public, corporations and individual developers clarity on dealing with approving proposed developments impacting wetlands. Other North American approaches to habitat policy include consideration of a general approach to development of first avoidance of harm wherever possible, then mitigation of harm where avoidance is not a viable option, and lastly compensation for loss of valuable/significant habitat types. Many wetland policies specifically seek to identify conservation actions ranging from no development being permitted in specified areas to avoiding net loss of valuable habitat types, to applying mitigation techniques on less rare wetland types.
Goal #5: Wetland restoration and enhancement
SAM and its members are in a unique position to provide leadership on the enhancement and restoration of degraded wetland systems existing within their jurisdiction. However, opportunities for such work are not well known/prioritized. Involvement in such projects are also a key means of community and member engagement (see Goal # 2).