Nature Conservancy protects valuable habitat in Prince County, PEI

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Alberton – The Nature Conservancy of Canada has successfully acquired 22 hectares of land on the Conway Sand Hills, in Prince County, Prince Edward Island. This project was secured in part with funding from Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program.

“With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations,” said Environment Minister Peter Kent. “Your actions today will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that will constitute an integral part of our natural heritage tomorrow.”

The property is part of the Prince Edward Island Coast and Forest Natural Area and the Conway Sand Hills, which is a 300-hectare sand dune and wetlands system found off the north shore of Prince County. The off-shore islands and sandy beaches found here contain the most secluded nesting areas in the province and are therefore ecologically rich and critical to the life cycle of many populations of waterfowl and shorebirds.

Species that are able to nest in this area include the Common Tern, Great Blue Heron and Osprey, as well as the endangered Piping Plover. Many other species of shorebirds also use this area for feeding during migration, and the adjacent Conway Narrows is a body of salt water that is a major feeding area for migrating waterfowl.

“The Conway Sand Hills are the Island’s wilderness,” said Linda Stephenson, Regional Vice President for the Atlantic Region with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “They are extremely important for conservation of sand dunes and salt marshes as well as the wildlife which thrives there.” Since 1984 the Nature Conservancy has assisted in the conservation of about 1,700 hectares in Prince Edward Island.

As of December 2010, the Natural Areas Conservation Program has protected 151,278 hectares of habitat, which includes habitat for 101 species at risk.

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