A Birthday Present Big Enough for a Nation



    Nature Conservancy of Canada protects 1,100 acres at Elbow Lake as a Gift
    to Canadians

    KINGSTON, ON, June 23 /CNW/ - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is
proud to announce the protection of an ecologically significant property on
the Frontenac Arch, just north of Kingston. Together with Environment Canada,
the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) and private donors, NCC has
secured a critical wildlife corridor between Frontenac Provincial Park and the
Queen's University Biological Station. The spectacular property is also part
of NCC's annual Gifts to Canadians program.
    "It is wonderful to have two of our major partners here to celebrate with
us today," remarked Donna Stewart, NCC Ontario's Regional Vice President. "It
is the power of partnership that enables us to accomplish incredible
conservation feats like protecting this important property, making sure that
places like this will stand forever."
    The 1,100 acre (445-hectare) property has been secured with support from
the Government of Canada under the Natural Areas Conservation Program. This
program, launched in April 2007, is a $225 million investment by the Federal
government towards conservation across Canada. The bulk of these funds are
being used to advance NCC's land conservation work across Canada, and NCC is
committed to matching the federal dollars, delivering an overall investment in
conservation of $500 million.
    "Conserving Canada's natural heritage is a priority for Canadians and for
this Government," said Canada's Environment Minister John Baird. "Last year
Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed $225 million to support the Nature
Conservancy of Canada and other conservation organizations in preserving
Canada's natural legacy. Today's announcement is a concrete example of real
results and another major accomplishment for our environment."
    The very successful and long-standing NCC-OMNR Greenlands partnership
also provided funds to ensure the protection of this incredible land which
showcases Ontario's natural heritage.
    "Ontario's valued partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada has
resulted in the permanent protection of some of the province's most
ecologically significant areas," said Ontario Minister of Natural Resources
Donna Cansfield. "Securing this property, with its rare habitat and species at
risk, is another important step forward in our efforts to conserve and restore
Ontario's rich diversity of plants, animals and ecosystems."
    The property includes 6 kilometres of shoreline on Upper Rock Lake, Elbow
Lake, and Spectacle Lake. These waters drain into the Cataraqui River, part of
the recently dedicated Rideau Waterway World Heritage Site. The lands are part
of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, designated by UNESCO in recognition
of this unique landscape where natural heritage and human development coexist.
The property contains numerous wetlands and supports Canadian species at risk
such as Eastern Ratsnake, Common Musk Turtle, Cerulean Warbler and Butternut
trees.
    This is the seventh year that NCC has marked Canada Day with the
presentation of 10 conservation Gifts to Canadians - one from each province.
These precious landscapes represent NCC's ongoing work to conserve the
country's biodiversity from coast to coast, and to leave a lasting natural
legacy. This year's Gifts, including the Frontenac Arch property, total
approximately 33.5 square kilometres. Each provides habitat for rare species,
and once a property is secured NCC develops detailed land stewardship plans to
ensure that the site's natural integrity is protected for the long term.

    Other NCC Gifts to Canadians across the country include:

    Ocean Blue, Campbell River, British Columbia - The Campbell River on
Vancouver Island is one of BC's most important salmon spawning rivers. NCC
originally purchased land at the mouth of the river in 1999. After decades of
careful stewardship the one-time site of heavy industrial use is reclaiming
its former glory. This year NCC conserved the Ocean Blue Property, another
link to salmon spawning habitat.

    Sandstone Ranch, Alberta - Sandstone Ranch is nestled along the North
Fork of the Milk River, amid one of the most threatened regions of the
country. The 4,100 acre (1,700 hectare) ranch features some of the finest
native Foothills Fescue grasslands to be found anywhere. This is home to rare
grassland birds such as Ferruginous Hawk, Sprague's Pipit, Prairie Falcon, and
Sharp-tailed Grouse and Northern Pintail.

    Mather Lake, Saskatchewan - This property features 640 acres
(259 hectares) of native grasslands and wetlands. It is critical habitat for
waterfowl, grassland birds and shorebirds, including many Species at Risk such
as Sprague's Pipit, Loggerhead Shrike, Piping Plover and Burrowing Owl.
Ninety-one acres (37 hectares) of this property consists of freshwater systems
including a lake, spring and seasonal wetlands.

    Senderewich Property, Manitoba - The Senderewich Property stretches along
the Shell River, forming a wildlife corridor that connects Riding Mountain
National Park to Duck Mountain Provincial Park. The 691 acre (280 hectare)
property features rolling wooded and open prairie lands, wetlands, and forest
stands of oak, aspen, birch and spruce. It is important habitat for Gray Wolf,
moose, Black Bear, elk and cougar.

    Mount Brock Property, Quebec - This is the first site to be protected so
close to the Vermont border. It covers 885 acres (355 hectares) and is part of
a bigger cross-border project undertaken by NCC and partners in the Green
Mountains. The Mount Brock property is a vital part of this project. 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.

    Johnston's Mills, New Brunswick - This year, NCC has added critical
habitat to the Johnson's Mills Shorebird Reserve. The newly acquired four
acres (two hectares) adds to the existing 312 acres (125 hectares) protected
in Johnson's Mills. Although small in size, the beach directly in front of
Johnson's Mills is one of the most important resting sites for shorebirds in
the area. This land adds to the buffer zone that is crucial to the ecological
integrity of Johnson's Mills and will ensure that no further development
occurs here.

    Three Bridges Brook, Nova Scotia - The acquisition of 727 acres
(294 hectares) surrounded by the Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake Provincial
Wilderness Area will ensure that no development or logging takes place here,
protecting almost 21,000 acres (8,498 hectares) of continuous forest only
kilometers from Halifax. The property is important for its size and mature
forests, but is perhaps most significant for its contribution to protecting
viable ecological corridors for future generations.

    North Enmore, Prince Edward Island - NCC has acquired 64 acres
(25 hectares) along the Percival River on the PEI side of the Northumberland
Strait. The area encompasses important coastal habitats, including the largest
and deepest unbroken tract of salt marsh on the island. The acquisition of
this property ensures the habitat will continue to be an important refuge for
migratory birds and ultimately contribute to the sustainability of waterfowl
populations in PEI and the Atlantic Flyway.

    Sandy Point, Newfoundland and Labrador - In Newfoundland and Labrador,
NCC has acquired a 19 acre (eight hectare) property on Sandy Point Island in
St. George's Bay, on the southwest coast of Newfoundland. The property adds to
the 35 acres (14 hectares) already protected by NCC on Sandy Point Island. The
coastal habitat found here, with its sand dunes and salt marshes, is uncommon,
because much of Newfoundland's coast consists of rugged, rocky shoreline and
sheer cliffs. It is also critical habitat for the nationally endangered Piping
Plover.

    These Gifts to Canadians have been made possible by the support of
thousands of concerned individuals, corporations, foundations and other
conservation organizations across the country. Many of the properties have
been conserved in partnership with other organizations, whose work NCC
gratefully acknowledges. NCC's partners on this project in Ontario include the
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Canada.

    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 nearly 2 million acres (809,371 hectares) of ecologically
significant land across Canada.
    For more information please visit www.natureconservancy.ca.

    Stunning photos available upon request.





For further information:

For further information: Laura Mousseau, Communications Coordinator,
Ontario, Telephone (Toll Free): 1-877-343-3532 x235, Mobile: (519) 830-7770,
E-mail: laura.mousseau@natureconservancy.ca; Gary Bell, NCC Program Manager,
Eastern Ontario, Telephone: (613) 321-3559, Mobile: (613) 862-3331, E-mail:
gary.bell@natureconservancy.ca

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Nature Conservancy of Canada

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