MANITOULIN ISLAND, Ont, March 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Bryan Hayes, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, on behalf of Canada's Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Peter Kent, today announced the Nature Conservancy of Canada's successful acquisition of a 488 hectare property near the village of Evansville, Ontario on the southern shore of Manitoulin Island. This project was secured in part with funding from Environment Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program and included a partial land donation from the Tasker family through Environment Canada's Ecological Gifts Program.
"I am pleased our government is supporting this project in the Southern Manitoulin Island Coastal Natural Area," said Mr. Hayes. "The area is one of the most important and intact natural areas in the Great Lakes eco-region, and supports a diversity of wildlife and habitats."
The property is considered significant by the International Alvar Conservation Initiative, because of its vegetation community diversity and globally-rare species (Alvar ecosystems are grassland, savannah and sparsely vegetated rock barrens that develop on flat limestone where soils are very shallow). The majority of the upland areas of the property contain large tracts of mixed Limestone Plain Forest, dominated by White Cedar, White Spruce, Aspen and White Birch. Within this forest and continuing to the shoreline is a complex patchwork of wetlands and naturally open areas of thin soil over limestone or bedrock, which hosts a distinctive vegetation community--including a considerable number of rare plants.
"This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program," said Minister Kent. "With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our country's ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations."
"The Southern Manitoulin Island Coast is a treasure trove of biological diversity," said James Duncan, Nature Conservancy of Canada's Ontario Regional Vice President. "This project exemplifies the Nature Conservancy of Canada's mission to secure permanent conservation for a wide range of valuable habitats. Our partnership with the Tasker family and the support of other generous donors have made it possible."
The Government of Canada's $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program is an important on-the-ground initiative that takes real action to preserve Canada's environment and conserve its precious natural heritage for present and future generations. It is through the ongoing contribution from all donors that we can ensure the protection of natural areas in Canada. As of December 2011, the Natural Areas Conservation Program has protected 327,757 hectares of habitat, which includes habitat for 117 species at risk.
For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada at http://www.ec.gc.ca/.
(Également offert en français)
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