A gift big enough for a nation

The Nature Conservancy of Canada secures important natural area in Newfoundland and Labrador

ST. JOHN'S, June 25 /CNW/ - In honour of Canada's 143rd birthday the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), has secured 5 acres (two hectares) of natural habitat in the Grand Codroy Valley on the southwestern coast on the island of Newfoundland. This important estuary is one of 10 Gifts to Canadians announced this week in celebration of Canada Day.

The Chaisson property is located on the south side of the mouth of the Grand Codroy estuary and protects over 40 feet of estuarine shoreline. Combined with the forest located on the northern side of the property, and the estuary, the property provides important staging and nesting habitat for songbirds and especially waterfowl, as well as small mammals. The Grand Codroy estuary is known for its large populations of migrating and nesting waterfowl, lush freshwater marshes, rare plants and many songbirds uncommon to Newfoundland and Labrador. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has identified the Grand Codroy Estuary as a priority site and this recent acquisition brings the total land secured in the area above 500 acres (202 hectares).

Partnership is at the heart of NCC's work. Many partners have come together to help secure the Chaisson property, including Coleman Group of Companies, Dr. Sargent & Ruth Ann Horwood and Oceanex Inc. But this year, all 10 NCC Gifts to Canadians (one in each province), have also been made possible through the Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program. This unique public-private partnership helps non-government organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our country's diverse ecosystems, wildlife and habitat.

QUOTES

"While small, the addition of these five acres and over 40 feet of shoreline is a significant achievement and contributes an important piece to the conservation puzzle that is the Grand Codroy Estuary", said Linda Stephenson, Regional Vice President for the Atlantic Region of NCC. "Together with partners, NCC has protected over 500 acres of land along the largest and most significant wetland system on the Island of Newfoundland."

"This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's $225-million 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 Canada's Environment Minister, the honourable Jim Prentice. "Your actions, large or small, will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of our natural heritage."

"Preserving our ecologically significant areas is an important aspect of our overall sustainability goals for Newfoundland and Labrador," said Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. "The Chaisson Property will complement the other significant areas in the province that have been conserved through both our own efforts and those of the Nature Conservancy of Canada."

    
    FACTS

    -  For a complete list of NCC's 10 Gifts to Canadians, click here
       www.natureconservancy.ca/Gifts2010.
    -  The Grand Codroy Estuary supports large numbers of geese and ducks.
       Overall, nineteen species of waterfowl occur there, including some
       that are continentally uncommon or provincially rare.
    -  The estuary also supports an unusually high raptor population,
       especially during the fall migration. Furthermore, the area is well
       known to birders as a provincial hotspot for songbirds and is the only
       part of Newfoundland where the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is regularly
       known to occur.
    -  The relatively benign climate and productive soil is also evidenced by
       the presence of over 25 rare vascular plants including Marsh Horsetail
       and Pale St. John's Wort. These plants are typical of more southerly
       and temperate regions of the continent.
    -  The Grand Codroy River Estuary was designated a Ramsar Site in 1987.
       It is also recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) of international
       importance, and is the largest and most significant wetland system in
       Newfoundland.
    -  In the last year, NCC's work in Newfoundland and Labrador has been
       made possible by the support of Anthony Capital Corporation; Coleman
       Group of Companies; Evergreen Foundation; Friends of the Nature
       Conservancy of Canada; Hillview Terrace Suites, Husky Energy, Lotek
       Wireless, The McCain Foundation; Mountain Equipment Co-op;
       Newfoundland & Labrador Credit Union Charitable Foundation;
       Newfoundland Hydro; Oceanex Inc.; Woodward Group of Companies; The W.
       Garfield Weston Foundation; US Fish & Wildlife; and many individuals.
    -  The 10 Gifts to Canadians cover almost 13 square kilometres (more than
       three times the size of Stanley Park) and protect habitat for many
       species at risk
    -  Many of the protected properties provide vital links to larger
       landscapes, creating networks of protected areas that give species the
       room to move, survive and thrive, which is especially important in the
       face of climate change.
    -  Since its inception in 2007 the Natural Areas Conservation Program has
       helped NCC to conserve more than 342,500 acres (138,600 hectares),
       protecting habitat for more than 79 species at risk.
    

LEARN MORE

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading private land conservation organization, working to protect our valuable natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain.

Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2 million acres (800,000 hectares), coast to coast and over 8,300 acres (3,358 hectares) in Newfoundland and Labrador. By investing in conservation we are ensuring that our natural world remains a home for wildlife, a haven for recreation and a vital resource that cleans the air we breathe and the water we drink. Through strong partnerships NCC works to safeguard our natural areas so that our children and grandchildren will have the chance to enjoy them.

www.natureconservancy.ca

For gifts to Canadians details and media event schedule, click here www.natureconservancy.ca/Gifts2010.

SOURCE Nature Conservancy of Canada

For further information: For further information: Crystal Folkins, Manager of Communications, Atlantic Region, The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Tel.: 506.450.6010, 1.877.231.4400, Mobile: 506.292.5118, Crystal.Folkins@natureconservancy.ca

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