Nature Conservancy protects valuable habitat in southwest Newfoundland

Blue-Winged Teal, Birding Center, Port Aransas...

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St. George’s – The Nature Conservancy of Canada successfully acquired three properties totaling approximately six hectares on Sandy Point, an island near the Town of St. George’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. These projects were secured in part with funding from Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program.

“This acquisition marks another achievement under our government’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 Minister 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.”

These properties are part of the Southwest Newfoundland Natural Area, one of the most unique and diverse natural regions in the province. The forest on these properties provides some of the last remaining habitat for the threatened Newfoundland Marten. The sandy beaches and dunes also provide habitat for the endangered Piping Plover. Migratory birds such as Canada Geese and Blue-Winged Teal can also be found here, along with the first North American record for Black-headed Gull and the first provincial record for Willet. Sandy Point is also home to 11 rare plants all on Nature Conservancy of Canada’s properties.

“Each of these properties is important to protect the fragile and uncommon beach and dune habitat,” said Linda Stephenson, Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Regional Vice President for Atlantic Canada. “These acquisitions bring the number of protected Sandy Point properties to 9, for a total of over 28 hectares.”

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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