A gift big enough for a nation

The Nature Conservancy of Canada secures important natural area in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX, June 24 /CNW/ - In honour of Canada's 143rd birthday the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), has secured almost 300 acres (121 hectares) of natural habitat at Johnstons Pond, near Shelburne along Nova Scotia's south shore. This important coastal habitat, is one of 10 Gifts to Canadians announced this week in celebration of Canada Day.

Situated between the Sable River and the Port L'Hebert Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Johnstons Pond is an undisturbed estuary separated from the Atlantic Ocean by an extensive barrier beach. The sandy barrier beach provides viable breeding habitat for the endangered Piping Plover as well as the Spotted Sandpiper and a small Common Tern colony. The salt marshes, ponds and mudflats found at Johnstons Pond are also important habitat for migratory birds such as Canada Geese and the Semi-palmated Sandpiper. The property also contains a mature coastal forest consisting of spruce, Red Maple and American Larch.

Partnership is at the heart of NCC's work. Many partners have come together to help secure the Johnstons Pond property, including ExxonMobil Canada Ltd., Dr. Sargent & Ruth Ann Horwood, The Nature Conservancy, Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, Peridot Foundation, Gretchen & Donald Ross and an anonymous donor. 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.


"Today marks an important day for conservation in Nova Scotia and for all of Canada. With almost 300 acres of land protected in the Johnstons Pond area, today's announcement adds to the conservation puzzle along Nova Scotia's south shore," said Linda Stephenson, Regional Vice President for the Atlantic Region of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. "Without the support of our partners, the acquisition of this important migratory bird habitat would have been nearly impossible."

"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 the Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister. "Your actions, large or small, will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of our natural heritage."

"The Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust is pleased to have supported the conservation of this important ecosystem, and applauds the Nature Conservancy of Canada for providing a land legacy for all Nova Scotians and Canadians," said Karen Beazley, Chair, Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust.

"Land protection enriches Nova Scotia's environment, boosts our economy and makes life better for families in every region of the province," said John MacDonell, Minister of Natural Resources for the Province of Nova Scotia.


    -   For a complete list of NCC's 10 Gifts to Canadians,
    -   The almost 300 acres at Johnstons Pond acquisition adds to the
        existing 480 acres (194 hectares) already under NCC protection in the
        Port Joli Area.
    -   Johnstons Pond is an undisturbed estuary separated from the Atlantic
        Ocean by an extensive barrier beach.
    -   This site is an important location for migratory waterfowl and
        shorebirds including the Semipalmated Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover,
        Black-bellied Plover, Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone.
    -   This acquisition is part of a land assembly initiative to consolidate
        over 100 acres of adjacent crown lands and protect over seventy five
        percent of coastal wetland and upland habitat surrounding
        Johnstons Pond. Securing these lands is essential to protecting
        undisturbed habitat for shorebirds like the Piping Plover and other
        migratory bird species.
    -   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.


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 23,000 acres (9,307 hectares) in Nova Scotia. 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.


Gifts to Canadians details, click here (http://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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