The Islands Today: Challenges
Land clearing on the Mahone Bay Islands can damage water quality and also results in the loss of topsoil. Removing the native deep-rooted plants increases the risk of erosion caused by surface run off and the flow of pollutants into the water.
Major nesting colonies of Great Blue Herons and Roseate Terns have been displaced due to development. Species like these have traditionally relied on the Mahone Bay Islands for relatively secure nesting sites, primarily because of lack of predators and minimal disruption from human activity.
Continued development increases the risk of sewage leaching into the bay that not only affects the environment but as well has detrimental effects on activities such as mussel farms that are an important economic activity in Mahone Bay.
In addition to large-scale private developments, pressures for construction of smaller cottages exist. A small cottage on a large island can place less pressure on the island environment however a large number of cottages can achieve the same end result as a large development.
Developing the islands limits the option of promoting Mahone Bay as a natural and unique landscape. Tourists enjoy visiting areas that are in contrast to where they normally reside. They come to Mahone Bay to see and experience the beautiful surroundings and unique culture and history. Leaving the island environment in a natural state allows the tourism industry to grow by promoting the natural beauty, bird watching and unique and unspoiled environments.
As well continuing development and ownership change of the islands limits and restricts the recreational opportunities that residents and visitors have traditionally enjoyed for generations.