Published on Wed, 06/30/2004 by Nature Conservancy of Canada

Nature Conservancy of Canada announces 10 new conservation successes - one per province - as Gifts to Canadians on Canada Day

For Immediate Release
June 30, 2004

Nature Conservancy of Canada announces 10 new conservation successes - one per province - as Gifts to Canadians on Canada Day
Conservation of 100 square kilometres adjacent to Alberta’s
Waterton Lakes National Park leads Gifts
Toronto, Ontario – The largest private conservation initiative in Canadian history, the birth of 56 threatened turtles in a recovery program and a public walking trail through one of Canada’s most endangered ecosystems are among 10 Gifts to Canadians that the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing this Canada Day.
The announcement marks NCC’s third annual Gifts to Canadians, part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to celebrate and conserve Canada’s biodiversity from coast to coast and leave a lasting natural legacy for Canadians. The 10 gifts are among the 104 properties NCC has secured over the last year, and among over 1,400 secured since NCC’s inception in 1962.
Of special interest this year is the Waterton Park Front project in Alberta. Protected in partnership with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation – and with the support of the John and Barbara Poole family and community landowners – this seven-year project involves more than 25 different landowners. It has resulted in the protection of more than 100 square kilometres (27,000 acres) of key conservation and ranching lands adjacent to Waterton Lakes National Park in the southwest corner of Alberta, without taking the land out of production.
Waterton Park Front is critical for conservation of many species at risk, and represents the single largest private conservation initiative in Canadian history.
“NCC’s unique ability to bring the right people and resources to the table in support of conservation is really our gift to Canadians,” said NCC President John Lounds. “This year’s Gifts illustrate some of the many ways we do that – through working landscapes in Alberta, with the help of large land donations in Atlantic Canada, and through joint initiatives with a multitude of partners in Ontario. These conservation success stories will leave a significant and lasting natural legacy for all Canadians.”
This year’s Gifts total just over 120 square kilometres (12,300 hectares or 30,000 acres). The properties contain habitat for many species at risk or of concern on a provincial, national or global basis. Among them are the Spiny Softshell Turtle (Québec), the Badger (British Columbia) and the Piping Plover (Newfoundland).
Other Gifts to Canadians announced this week include.
· British Columbia - Two ranches and one site of cultural and geological significance have been protected in British Columbia’s Upper Columbia River Valley. Totalling 1,880 hectares (4,650 acres), these three properties support habitat for the endangered Badger, Grizzly and Black Bear, Cougar, waterfowl and shorebirds, and threatened plant communities.
· Saskatchewan - The 260-hectare (640-acre) May property in Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle Valley is home to many species of passerine birds, as well as delicate plant species that look as enchanting as they sound – Blue Grama, Snowberry, Wolf Willow and Prairie Rose.
· Manitoba - In Manitoba, NCC has developed the Agassiz Trail, a self-guided interpretive trail in the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie that has been laid out so that visitors may discover the richness of this prairie habitat.
· Ontario - NCC is announcing a joint venture to secure and restore Ontario’s Rice Lake Plains, part of the Oak Ridges Moraine which represents one of the world’s most quickly vanishing oak savanna and tall grass prairie habitats.
· Québec – On a 60-hectare (146-acre) NCC property in the St. Lawrence Valley secured in 2001, an NCC-Québec recovery program has resulted in the birth of 56 threatened Spiny Softshell Turtles. This is the only home to this species in Québec.
· Nova Scotia - NCC is protecting 100 hectares (245 acres) at the Pugwash River Estuary, a provincially significant wetland complex ranked as one of the highest-quality environments of its type on the Northumberland Strait.
· New Brunswick - NCC has added 163 hectares (403 acres) to the property it has secured at New Brunswick’s Musquash Estuary, which has been identified as the last fully functioning estuary in the Bay of Fundy.
· Prince Edward Island - The 9.7-hectare (24-acre) Mount Stewart property in Prince Edward Island provides habitat for many different species, and is highly significant since it is located within a Canadian Heritage River System.
· Newfoundland and Labrador - The 3.6-hectare (9-acre) South Shore Beach property is uncommon coastal habitat for Newfoundland and Labrador, and is important nesting habitat for numerous bird species at risk, including the endangered Piping Plover.
These 10 properties are also among the 50 biodiversity hotspots – Canada’s Natural Masterpieces – recently singled out for protection by NCC through a $200-million campaign. The funds raised will support the direct protection of land at the 50 Masterpiece sites, either through purchase, donation or helping landowners to place conservation easements on their properties. They will also help to care for the sites once they are secured.
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.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization that takes a business-like approach to land conservation and the preservation of biological diversity. Its plan of action involves partnership-building and entering into creative conservation solutions with any individual, corporation, community group, conservation organization or government body that shares its passion. Since 1962, NCC and its supporters have protected more than 7,300 square kilometres (1.8 million acres) of ecologically significant land nationwide.
For information on NCC and Gifts to Canadians, please visit www.natureconservancy.ca.

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Jacqueline Waldorf
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