A birthday gift big enough for a nation
TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ – The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), is celebrating Canada Day with the protection of ten natural treasures across the country. Leading up to July 1, NCC is announcing the conservation of one ecologically significant property in each province – Gifts to Canadians in time for the country’s 141st birthday. Many of the gifts provide habitat for rare or endangered species, and vital links to larger landscapes. Together the 10 properties total approximately 33.5 square kilometres (8,279 acres or 3,350 hectares).
This is the seventh year NCC has presented Gifts to Canadians as part of the organization’s mission to celebrate and protect Canada’s biodiversity for future generations.
“I can’t think of a better birthday gift for a country as spectacular as Canada,” says John Lounds, President and CEO of NCC. “Our nation is known around the world for its inspiring landscapes and diverse wildlife. What better gift for Canadians than ensuring a natural legacy?”
This year a number of the Gifts to Canadians have been secured with support from the Government of Canada under the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Launched in March 2007 with an investment of $225 million, the program aims to accelerate and enhance the efforts of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and other groups to protect precious natural areas for the long-term.
“The Government of Canada is taking real action to protect Canada’s natural treasures,” said Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird. “Last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed $225 million in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to work with them and help preserve priceless parts of our great country. The announcement to protect precious lands across Canada is just one more example that this government is taking real and aggressive action to preserve our natural heritage.”
NCC’s Gifts to Canadians for Canada Day 2008 are:
Ocean Blue, British Columbia – This property at the mouth of the Campbell River on Vancouver Island provides a link to important salmon spawning habitat. NCC has been working in the area for a number of years to restore an industrial site to its former natural glory.
Sandstone Ranch, Alberta – This site on the North Fork of the Milk River is home to some of the finest remaining native grasslands. It provides habitat for rare grassland birds such as Ferruginous Hawk, Sprague’s Pipit, Prairie Falcon, and Sharp-tailed Grouse.
Mather Lake, Saskatchewan – Native grasslands and wetlands are key features of this property. It provides habitat for waterfowl, grassland birds and shorebirds, including many species at risk such as Loggerhead Shrike, Piping Plover and Burrowing Owl.
Senderewich Property, Manitoba – The property stretches along the Shell River, forming a wildlife corridor that connects Riding Mountain National Park to Duck Mountain Provincial Park. This is vital to wide-ranging mammals such as Gray Wolf, Moose, Black Bear, elk and cougar.
Frontenac Arch Property, Ontario – This is a place where forests of the Canadian Shield and the lower Great Lakes overlap, and it results in a remarkable diversity of ecosystems and species. The Arch also provides important links between Algonquin Park to the north and the Adirondacks to the south. Securing this property protects habitat for a diversity of rare reptiles and forest birds, and provides habitat for wide-ranging species.
Mount Brock Property, Quebec – This property is part of a bigger cross-border project undertaken by NCC and partners in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The rich territory is covered by a mature maple grove with beautiful century-old trees. Moose, Bobcat, and Black Bear all travel this important wildlife corridor.
Johnson’s Mills, New Brunswick – NCC has added critical habitat to the Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Reserve. This is one of the most important resting sites for shorebirds in the area.
Three Bridges Brook, Nova Scotia – This property is just kilometres from Halifax and adds significantly to the Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake Provincial Wilderness Area, which covers almost 21,000 acres (8,498 hectares). The property is important for its size and mature forests.
North Enmore, Prince Edward Island – NCC has acquired important coastal habitat along the Percival River on the PEI side of the Northumberland Strait. The property will continue to be an important refuge for migratory birds.
Sandy Point, Newfoundland and Labrador – This coastal habitat features sand dunes and salt marshes, which are uncommon along Newfoundland’s rugged, rocky shoreline and sheer cliffs. It is also critical habitat for the nationally endangered Piping Plover.
Land conservation contributes to the health of the environment and the well-being of all Canadians in several ways: it conserves large tracts of representative habitat and wilderness; it protects natural ecosystems that are at risk and enhances the habitat of species at risk; it provides large protected areas that help species to cope with climate change; and it preserves the deep attachment of Canadians to the natural world.
“Land conservation is a sustainable solution to a clean environment and a healthy world,” adds Lounds. “By designing and managing networks of protected areas, we fulfil our national and global responsibility to protect our natural treasures, today and for the future.”
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a national non-profit conservation organization that works with landowners to protect Canada’s natural habitats. Its plan of action is to build partnerships and develop creative conservation solutions with individuals, corporations, community groups, conservation groups and government bodies. Since 1962, NCC and its supporters have helped to protect close to 2 million acres (809,371 hectares) of ecologically significant land across Canada.