Nature Conservancy of Canada Acquires Nationally Significant Wildlife Habitat in the Qu'Appelle Valley



    CRAVEN, SK, Feb. 29 /CNW/ - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) today
announced the acquisition of the Big Valley Property in Saskatchewan's
Qu'Appelle Valley. The 336-acre (136-hectare) Big Valley Property is nestled
within the Qu'Appelle Valley and is adjacent to the Valeport Wildlife
Management Unit. The Valeport Wildlife Management Unit is a major
concentration site for migratory birds. Several nationally and provincially
listed Species at Risk including the northern leopard frog, bigmouth buffalo
fish, burrowing owl and Sprague's pipit, can be found in the area.
    NCC was approached by the landowner, Mr. David Ash, who had made the
decision to conserve the property for future generations. The purchased lands
will enhance the area for wildlife and protect it from further development.
    "The protection of the Big Valley Property is a key part of NCC's larger
conservation plan for the Qu'Appelle Valley Natural Area. It is an ambitious
community-based plan to conserve the lands that are the most critical to
maintaining the area's biodiversity," remarked NCC's President John Lounds.
"NCC is committed to managing this natural area for the long term. The
conservation investment made today will maintain globally significant habitats
and species for years to come."
    The project was made possible with support from the NCC-Government of
Canada Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Province of Saskatchewan and
the local community. The NCC-Government of Canada Natural Areas Conservation
Program is a matching funds initiative established to conserve ecologically
significant lands across southern Canada over the next five years. As part of
this program, the Federal government is investing $225 million to support the
work of NCC and other conservation organizations to preserve priceless parts
of our great country.
    "Conserving our ecologically significant land and protecting the wildlife
species that live there is a priority for Canadians and for this government,"
said Canada's Minister of the Environment John Baird. "That's why our
Government has committed $225 million to support the Nature Conservancy of
Canada and other conservation organizations in preserving Canada's natural
treasures. Today's announcement is just one more example of our commitment to
protect Canada's natural legacy."
    The provincial government also played a key role in acquiring the Big
Valley Property.
    "We are pleased to be working with the federal government and Nature
Conservancy Canada, a major environmental stakeholder in our province", said
Saskatchewan's Minister of Environment, Nancy Heppner. "Saskatchewan's share
of the money used to buy this important area comes from the Fish and Wildlife
Development Fund. The money in the Fund is raised by collecting a portion of
all hunting and angling licenses sold in the province. The Fish and Wildlife
Development Fund is a clear demonstration of the commitment Saskatchewan's
hunters and anglers have to protecting valuable habitat."

    The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a national, non-profit conservation
organization that works 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 two million acres (809,371 hectares) of ecologically significant land
across Canada.
    For more information visit www.natureconservancy.ca/saskatchewan.





For further information:

For further information: Lyle Saigeon, Regional Vice President, Nature
Conservancy of Canada, Saskatchewan Region, Office: (306) 347-0447, Ext. 224,
Cell: (306) 684-0291, lyle.saigeon@natureconservancy.ca; Bob Santo, Director
of Development and Communications, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Saskatchewan
Region, Cell: (306) 222-8112, bob.santo@natureconservancy.ca

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